30 Ideas for Word Work and Spelling Activities

30 Ideas for Word Work and Spelling Activities

Not all spelling activities are created equal. Unfortunately, activities like writing words with rainbow letters, putting the words in alphabetical order, or writing spelling words three times each are not very conducive to helping students learn how to spell. Instead, students should be exploring the words in a way that helps them absorb the patterns, not just repeat them until they are more or less ready for a quick test on Friday, then can forget the spellings. Each of the following activities has a focus on the individual letters in the word, and how they go together to make patterns and form the whole word. By focusing on the parts of the word rather than repetition, students start to see patterns and are able to extend their learning of specific spellings to other spellings with similar patterns.

Here are 30 ideas for word work that helps students actually internalize the patterns of words:

  1. Red vowels, blue consonants
  2. Create connect the dots spelling words
  3. Graph words based on how many letters they have
  4. Create or solve a spelling word maze (there are sites that will generate these for you!)
  5. Sort by pattern
  6. Sort by number of syllables
  7. Give a partner a spelling test and grade it
  8. Find words within words
  9. Create a word scramble
  10. Make a word search
  11. Divide word by syllables
  12. Letter boxes/word shapes
  13. Create an audio recording of the words and their spelling and listen
  14. Finger tracing on partner's back
  15. Write the words and cross out all silent letters
  16. Word chains (write down each spelling word, change one letter at a time to make a new word, try to end the chain where you started- ex: cake, lake, late, date, mate, make, cake)
  17. Put words in order from most to least syllables
  18. Write down 3 clues about each word and read to a friend to see if they can guess
  19. Find spelling words in magazines/newspapers and cut them out
  20. Acrostic poems
  21. Make a boggle
  22. Segment or count the sounds/blends
  23. Write the words with a partner by asking, what sound comes next?
  24. Find the value of a word when each letter is assigned a value based on its position in the alphabet (i.e. A=1, Z=26)
  25. Practice typing each word
  26. Write a short story using a certain number of words
  27. Write the word in different forms (ex: make, making, made, maker)
  28. Find rhyming words for each spelling word
  29. Play hangman with a partner using spelling words
  30. Write/draw your word in a way that shows its meaning (ex: the word "table" could have a tall T and a tall E with the rest of the letters smaller up near the top of the larger letters)

Wondering what the research says about spelling? Check out my blog post Spelling in the Elementary Classroom: What the Research Says.

What ideas would you add? What strategies help your students internalize spelling words and generalize patterns? Leave your answers in the comments below!

Community Vs. Individual Supplies

Community Vs. Individual Supplies

Dear First Year Teacher...

Dear First Year Teacher...