Writing and Spelling Ideas to Use with Kids

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As children learn some letter-sound matches and start to read, they also begin to experiment with writing. Figuring out how words are spelled improves both reading and writing.

Activities for younger children

  • Cut out letters from paper, magazines, or use refrigerator magnets. Have your children spell words by using letters that match the sounds they hear. Start with simple three letter words like cat, mop, or nut.
  • As your children become more familiar with letters and sounds, play a game with the letters by switching beginning letters (changing "hop" to "mop") or ending letters (changing "hop" to "hot").
  • Say a word and have your children repeat the word, slowly stretching out each sound. Then have them write the letters that match the sounds in the word.
  • Ask your children to draw a picture of a family activity. Have them write a sentence about it below the picture. Encourage your children to say the sentence and write letters to match the sounds in each word. Then have them read what they wrote.

Activities for older children

  • Have your children cut a picture from a magazine and write a story about the picture.
  • Tell your children a story and have them write their own ending for it.
  • Have your children write letters and thank-you notes to friends and relatives.

Note: As your children progress, help them learn the correct spelling of the words they write by helping them understand more about letter patterns. However, overcorrecting can be discouraging. Offer occasional, gentle guidance, and let them put all their thoughts on paper before correcting.

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Adapted from: Beginning Reading Instruction: Practical Ideas for Parents. (1996). Texas Education Agency,


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