5 Tips for Teaching Spelling Words

Teaching young children to spell is an ongoing task in the primary classroom. Young students require many opportunities to practice spelling so we focus on lots of spelling activities in our classroom. Repetition of skills practice doesn't need to be boring though! Today, I'm sharing my top 5 tips for teaching spelling words in a fun way that your students will love!

Use these 5 helpful tips for teaching spelling words in your classroom today.

1. Make Spelling Word Flashcards 

While this one might seem obvious, it's too much of a gem to leave out! Making flashcards is a great way to introduce a new set of spelling words. I love printing mine out on cardstock and having my students cut along the lines to make their very own set.
Flashcards are a great way to get your students excited about practicing their spelling words and getting in some writing practice as well.
Spelling word flashcards are great for students to keep at their desks for reference or they can be sent home for daily practice. Flashcards can be used in SO many ways, but I love to use them for initial writing practice when we start working on new spelling words. 

After students have cut apart their own set of flashcards, I have them write each word in their word work journal a few times. These word work journals are just regular old notebooks that we use to keep track of new words we have learned. Each time we introduce a new list, students copy the words into their journals.  They love having their personal notebook of words.  The word work journal includes spelling words, sight words, and other seasonal vocabulary words. They are excellent resources for the children to use during writing block!

2. Display Spelling Words Around The Room

Next up, I always like to post a copy of our current spelling words on the word wall. Having the words displayed in the classroom helps create a print-rich environment and gives my kiddos a quick and easy reference as they learn our new words. Whenever it's time to switch out the words, I like to include my students and ask them to read the words aloud and spell them as I post each one. 

As you get ready to display your spelling words in your classroom, get your students involved by asking them to practice writing and spelling the words as you hang them.
These spelling words will be displayed for the children to see up until the day of our test. After I have introduced the new words I like to run through them again each day during our morning meeting along with any new sight words we are focusing on for a quick and interactive review. 

You can also try spreading your spelling words out in your classroom for a simple write-the-room activity. For this, just number each spelling word card and provide children with numbered paper and clipboards. This is a great way to get wiggly kids out of their seats and squeeze some extra writing practice into your day!

3. Practice Building Spelling Words

As teachers, we know that often times learning material needs to be presented in more than just one way for it to really sink in. This is when I love to use alternative materials to practice spelling words. There are so many great options for this but a few of my favorites include:

Hands on activities like sand trays, shaving cream, playdough, and magnet letters are a fun and engaging way to get your students excited about practicing spelling words.
  • Sand Trays: For this one, simply place some colored craft sand in a tray and provide kiddos with a stack of spelling word flashcards. Students will say the word and then use their fingers or a paintbrush to write the word in the sand. 
  • Shaving Cream: This uses the same idea as the sand, except you will use shaving cream. It only takes a little bit and students will be able to form words on their desks with their fingertips.  It's a student favorite! 
  • Playdough: All kids love playdough and this is a great way to refocus a rambunctious group. Provide each child with playdough and flashcards and then ask them to form letters to build each word. 
  • Magnet Letters: This mess-free option is great for centers, independent desk work, and small groups. Provide students with letters, and a list of words, and get building!  The side of a large filing cabinet makes a great magnet center.

All of these activities are always a huge hit in my classroom since they are a bit more creative and out of the ordinary. I love to save these activities for afternoons or Fun Friday activities to reward my students for a long day of hard work. They won't even realize how much they are learning with these spelling activities! 

4. Play Games With Spelling Words

It's no secret that students love games. We play plenty of games in our classroom to help encourage learning on a daily basis, but I especially love to use them for teaching spelling words. There are lots of ways to play games with flashcards, but I like to use...
    Using games to help students practice spelling words is a great way to keep them engaged and excited about spelling each week.
  • Memory: For this one, you will need two sets of your spelling word flashcards. Mix them up, lie them facedown and have kiddos take turns flipping two cards at a time in hopes of a match. This is a great partner game!
  • Go Fish: This is another fun partner game!  Give kiddos two sets of flashcards and have them each take turns asking for a word from their own hand. Kiddos always enjoy this classic and simple game! 
  • Roll (or Spin) & Color: Roll and color worksheets are so much fun for children. My students always appreciate the active aspect of the game and it's a wonderful way to get plenty of practice with the same words over and over again. 
  • Simple Puzzles: For this one, I simply cut flashcards apart between each letter and have children re-build the words using the list in their notebook for reference if needed. This activity can be played as a center game or glued to a piece of paper if you want to send the completed puzzles home. 
The nice thing about all of these games is that you can easily use a plain old set of spelling word flashcards. Just be sure to print them on thick, colored cardstock so that students can't see through the paper from the other side! 

5. Incorporate Daily Spelling Practice 

My absolute best tip for teaching spelling words easily is to make it a part of your daily routine. I think we all know that students need lots of practice to make progress and learning to spell is no different. I like to make sure my kiddos complete at least one page of spelling practice daily to keep their skills growing. 

These daily spelling activities are perfect for any spelling list and will help your students master foundational spelling skills.

There are many great options for daily spelling practice, but the worksheets I like incorporate a variety of activities centered around a specific list of words. I find that having many different activities for students to work on keeps their interest while we dive into a new list of spelling words over the course of a few weeks. Some of the activities we like to work on include: 

  • Help your students master important spelling concepts with these no prep and easy to use daily spelling activities.
    Find & Color Spelling Words
  • Roll & Write Spelling Words
  • Spelling Word Search
  • Secret Code Spelling Words
  • Identifying Hidden Words in a Picture

These worksheets use these activities each week so that students can quickly learn what to do and grow in independence. This makes them great for adding to a morning routine, independent desk work, or centers! I also love using spelling lists that incorporate a spelling pattern (or word families) to help my firsties grow in confidence with their spelling abilities. 

Adding daily spelling practice to our routine has helped make teaching spelling words easy! I also love that I've seen my students grow tremendously week after week. My kiddos get excited each day during our spelling focus work and watch as their skillset grows! If you only implement one thing from this list, make it daily spelling practice of some kind! 

Have Fun Teaching Spelling Words In Your Room 

I hope you enjoyed hearing all of my favorite tips and tricks for making spelling fun! I truly believe that with the right activities, structure, and daily practice, spelling can be easy and enjoyable for you and your students. 

If you're interested in adding some daily spelling practice to your routine, be sure to check out my 1st Grade Spelling Daily Practice Worksheets. I have found that using some kind of daily spelling activity makes all the difference with my students. These print-and-go worksheets will simplify your daily spelling review! 

Use this Spelling Practice for First Grade set to help your students get excited to practice and learn their spelling words each day of the week.

Save This Post For Later 

Don't forget to Pin this post to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you will be all set when it comes time to level up your spelling lessons!

Looking for fun and exciting ways to get your students to practice their spelling words each day of the week? These 5 tips for teaching spelling words will ensure each of your students gets lots of differentiated spelling practice throughout the week. From worksheets to hands on activities, you can be sure your students will not only practice but master their spelling lists throughout the school year. #spellingactivities #firstgradespelling #spellinginfirstgrade #dailyspellingpractice


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