Studies from the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development have shown that for children with difficulties learning to spell, a multisensory teaching method is the most effective way for these students to learn. Multisensory teaching means the teacher must tap into all learning modalities – see it (visual), feel it (tactile), hear it (auditory) and move with it (kinesthetic). Here are a few suggestions on how to make spelling lessons fun, creative, engaging with these multisensory spelling strategies.
13 Multisensory Spelling Strategies
1. Trace & Jump!
Trace words with a pencil or pen while spelling the word. Then trace with an eraser.
Get up and do 5 jumping jacks.
Now write the word and check for accuracy.
2. Visibility is Key!
Write the words by syllables in different colored markers.
Studies have shown that color helps us memorize certain information by increasing our attentional level.
The more attention focused on the syllables in words, the higher the chances of it being stored in the memory permanently.
3. Back Tracing
Pair up with another student and write words on each other’s back with a finger. Have the partner guess what the word is.
By establishing a sense of touch, your child can make the connection between each letter and form memories of these words as they are spelling it out.
4. Magic Carpet!
While sitting on a carpet, write down each word directly onto the carpet with two fingers.
If you have a pet, they will probably stare in wonder at this activity or join in on the fun!
The fuzzy sensation of touching a carpet produces a feeling of comfort which will help your child positively associate spelling with!
5. Rainbow Writing!
Have your child write the word and then trace around it with several different colors of chalk.
They can make the letters as big or as small as they like. Eventually they will have retrace the word many times, and learn it well. Your driveway is the best place to practice rainbow writing!
6. Jump Rope!
Pair up with another student and take turns jumping rope while spelling the words out loud.
Doing a demanding physical activity such as jump rope will not only improve your child’s multi-tasking abilities but also improve their ability to recall from memory faster.
Clap your hands to each letter as you spell the words out loud.
Not only is the audio processing paired with the motor processing, but the sounds associated from clapping give off a rhythmic beat that will help your child say the letters out loud.
Use clapping with syllables too. The child will hear a word and repeat it while clapping out and then identifying the number of syllables.
8. Take Advantage of Your Technology!
Type each of the words in 5 different fonts, colors, and sizes.
We live in a great moment in time where our technology can help propel our children’s education. There are hundreds of softwares, games, tutorials, videos, and online articles that can help with your child’s learning but something just as simple as using Microsoft Word or Pages can go a long way.
There are hundreds of fonts and colors out there. Be creative!
9. Playing with Rhythm
Use a basketball or other ball to practice spelling words.
Have your child bounce the ball while spelling the word or they can throw a ball back and forth to someone spelling the word aloud.
Playing the game “horse” where there is a basketball goal also works with spelling words and it gives the game a fun competitive edge!
10. Neon Colors!
Using gel pens, have your child draw a picture on a piece of black paper. Then have your child write all their spelling words around the perimeter of the picture.
This is what I like to call a Spelling Picture. Using the neon gel pens and black paper just makes it a bit more exciting, but you can also create a spelling picture with plain white paper and crayons if you want.
Have your kiddos write out their spelling words with colored chalk on an individual chalkboard.
They can write their letters super big or super small, and use different colors for each letter in the word.
You can also have them write entire sentences with their spelling words in colored chalk to add this activity a step further. See how many colors you can use per word!
12. Finger Painting
Finger-paint the words using frosting on wax paper or paper plates.
This is really popular with the kiddos. It is a big mess and oh so fun! You can use shaving cream, whipped cream, and even chocolate pudding. Put out a big plastic tray, put a sheet of wax paper or use paper plates and let the kids get busy. You can also use finger paints and finger painting paper and write all the spelling words on that as well if you want to go that step further.
13. Letter Tiles
Spell the words using alphabet manipulatives such as magnetic letters or letter tiles.
Have the letter tiles in alphabetical order on a desktop. Dictate a spelling word to your child. Have the child repeat the word and then bring down each letter in the word to build the word in front of them.
Letter tiles are really helpful in building lasting memories to help make those difficult words really “stick.” Once the letters line up to complete the word, there will be an “Aha!” moment for your child that is rewarding for the both of you! The visual representation of bringing letters together will help your child cognitively break down spelling that will overall strengthen their reading, writing, and comprehension.
Using multisensory spelling activities is the perfect fun and hands-on activity for kids that are visual and kinesthetic learners. Do you use any multisensory activities in your spelling lessons? If yes, please feel free to share what and how you do it with all of us in the comments section. We would love to hear from you.
Check out the PRIDE Reading Program! This is an Orton-Gillingham reading program that is heavily scripted, super easy to use, affordable and used by homeschooling parents, tutors and teachers with great success. Let me know what you think.
Thank you so much for reading my post today!
Karina Richland, M.A., is the author of the PRIDE Reading Program, a multisensory Orton-Gillingham reading, writing and comprehension curriculum that is available worldwide for parents, tutors, teachers and homeschoolers of struggling readers. Karina has an extensive background in working with students of all ages and various learning modalities. She has spent many years researching learning differences and differentiated teaching practices. You can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.pridereadingprogram.com