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My Favorite Way to Practice Spelling Words

If you’ve been following my page for any length of time, you probably know that I’m not the biggest fan of worksheets. So, you may be surprised that one of my favorite ways to practice spelling words is a worksheet.

When I was working on my master’s degree in special education, I read the book, “The Technology of Teaching” by B.F. Skinner. I was inspired by teaching approaches in this book that allowed students to work independently by focusing on taking small steps toward a larger goal. I started using some spelling worksheets I made based on the method of “programmed instruction” outlined in the book.

Here’s what some of my worksheets look like:

It starts off simply, as students are given the correct spelling at the top of the page and only have to fill in one missing letter. The students then have multiple opportunities to practice the word, gradually having to write more of the word independently.

I find that this is successful for many of my students because it has lots of visual prompts and it starts off easy…they get “on a roll” before doing the harder task of writing the entire word independently.

I find that my students are able to complete these worksheets quickly, with little instruction, and with little resistance. When I test them, they learn to spell the words successfully and are frequently able to retain the spelling of the word long-term.

To use these worksheets, you can test your child/student on his or her spelling words for each week, and make these worksheets for all of the words he or she doesn’t know yet. If I don’t have printed copy of a worksheet for a particular word, I’ll just write one by hand.

Since my students are able to complete these worksheets quickly, they allow us to have more time for more engaging (non-worksheet) activities. I view this as a supplement to other, more multisensory spelling approaches. To find activities like this, I would suggest doing a search for “fun ways to practice spelling words” or “multisensory ways to practice spelling words.”

If you’d like to see an example of my spelling worksheets for spelling months of the year and days of the week, you can download a set of these worksheets here. You can use these worksheets as an example for typing or writing your own worksheets. I often just handwrite out the worksheets I need after I've given a student a spelling pre-test for the week.

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