14 answers

Ideas of How to Help 12 Year Old Improve Spelling

I have a 12 year old son who needs help with his spelling. He just brought home some end of the year work and I was shocked at how terrible his spelling is. I was very surprised as he is a straight A student! Any ideas of how I can help him, I would greatly appreciate it. I plan to help him over the summer. Thank you.

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I tutored a little boy who was making very bad grades in spelling. After just a couple of weeks, he was making 100's on all his tests. The school had a list of each week's words so I knew all the words in advance for the next test.

I made flash cards and would hold each word up and make him stare at the word. I would make him use the word in a sentence. We would make up funny sentences and laugh and laugh.

The next day, I would make him write each word 10 times. You could play the memory game and have each word written on two flash cards and play that with him. You could hide the words around the house and make him find them.

Since he is older then have him look each word up in the dictionary and read aloud the definitions. I just tried to make everything as fun as possible and like a game and that seemed to work.

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Hi. I was wondering, is it words that could be spelled correctly if he just slowed down and sounded them out? If so, I'd start there. Have him work through things a bit more slowly and then go back over his work and check it. This is a skill many of us don't do, and should do. If it is words that can't necessarily be sounded out, I'd have him have some type of different colored pen/pencil next to him while he writes. Then, as he's writing, he can write and circle the words he's unsure of. After writing, he can look them up in a dictionary and correct his mistakes. Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

Some people are just bad spellers. Not everyone's brain works in the right way to make spelling an easy thing to do. My dad is a self-made, very successful business owner and he is a TERRIBLE speller. My husband is a very intelligent man and works in anti-terrorism for the federal government and he's not a great speller either. Spelling success does not denote life success. Just keep that in mind. (And truly, how important is it to be able to spell every word they hear? These days there is spell check. It's the ideas and concepts that are important, not the spelling)

That being said, there are actually a lot of online free spelling practice programs out there. Myself and a few other homeschoolers I know use some of them for spelling word lists and fun practice. Just look it up online.

1 mom found this helpful

I think his grades are good because many enlightened teachers realize that spelling is dependent on a part of the brain that is simply less developed in some people (probably including some of the teachers themselves). It's sort of like tone-deafness or an inability to remember names.

With that in mind, I think it's fine to help your son to whatever degree he wants to be helped. Perhaps he can help formulate your action plan for the summer. For me, I get my familiarity with words from reading, so helping him find appealing books may be one answer.

1 mom found this helpful

I have used flashcards for ever! work great. Also it seems children do not write as much as they used to. I would call the school and find out what books are being used in English so that you can either purchase or borrow them for the summer. Summer reading will help also. With him writing a report for you.

I tutored a little boy who was making very bad grades in spelling. After just a couple of weeks, he was making 100's on all his tests. The school had a list of each week's words so I knew all the words in advance for the next test.

I made flash cards and would hold each word up and make him stare at the word. I would make him use the word in a sentence. We would make up funny sentences and laugh and laugh.

The next day, I would make him write each word 10 times. You could play the memory game and have each word written on two flash cards and play that with him. You could hide the words around the house and make him find them.

Since he is older then have him look each word up in the dictionary and read aloud the definitions. I just tried to make everything as fun as possible and like a game and that seemed to work.

Lots of good advice already given, but going to add my 2 cents worth. I am a professional and see lots of resumes and cover letters; also many emails. When I see a word that is spelled incorrectly, that person's resume moves down the stack. Although many people just blow by spelling and think it isn't important, I want to stress that it is. We all have typos when we type so often in this computer world; however, it is important to learn to spell correctly and not just to rely on spellcheck (that will not distinguish between "there" and "their").

Now, trying to get someone interested in learning to spell can be difficult. I learned at an early age, because my grandmother played Scrabble with everyone who walked in the door. I find that the best way to get students to learn better spelling is to get involved in fun games. Let me suggest one that is on the internet (also an app for iPhones) called Words with Friends. It is an online Scrabble game and it can be played with someone you know or just a random game with someone else online.

Or.....if your family enjoys board games, get some of the word games (like Scrabble or Upwords) and have a family night of games. This type of learning mixed with some of the other suggestions may help. Good luck!

My youngest son has trouble with spelling. The school district we used to be in preferred a method of having the children spell words how they sounded to develop confidence in writing. Well, he never un-learned that habit!
He makes his own flash cards, which is great practice. We love board games so we made up a game using a Scabble board. I get spelling lists from the internet. We use the words in a race to see who can spell the word correctly first. If you do not spell the word correctly, you have to use the word in a sentence and then write the word 5 times. I have four children (ages 9, 9,10, & 13) and they all love playing "Speed Words"! We try to make the sentences as funny as possible. We laugh a lot, learn a lot, and have family time!

spellingcity.com is a great tool and it is free!

We use a book called spelling power, it takes 10 minutes a day and has them only work on words they do not know. You test them into what area they should start and it covers elementary to highschool.

GL!

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