When you teach your k-2 student how to decode, you should also include a spelling activity. If you’re anything like most educators, you constantly need primary paper, so I’ve included a free printable kindergarten paper in this post (scroll down to print).
To learn more about how to teach spelling, discover how to design leveled spelling activities. Kids need to learn how to spell in a structured, systematic fashion. Children gradually learn how to spell each phonics sound, gain mastery over that phonics sound, and then learn another. If kids learn spelling in a haphazard way, they may become both poor spellers and poor readers. Thus, your reading and spelling lessons should be coupled together, never divorced: they both work towards the same skill set.
Diane McGuiness sites that there is a high correlation between spelling ability and reading ability (McGuiness, from Early Reading Instruction, p. 250). Thus, teach spelling frequently so your student can develop these essential foundational skills.
Spelling is harder than reading. In reading, the grapheme (spelling unit) is provided for you. In spelling, by contrast, you must select the grapheme. This gets tricky, because there are often multiple graphemes to choose from. For example, for the long o sound, you can choose between o_e, oa, and ow. To spell a word like soap, the child must be able to recall these 3 graphemes and select the correct one. A poor speller will write sop. A better speller might will write sope (this is acoustically correct). A good speller will write soap (this is both acoustically and visually correct).
A teacher that is trained in research-based systematic phonics instruction can walk a student through these steps. However, a student needs a lot of time, practice, and exposure to words through reading to become a good speller.
How does a child know to write soap rather than sope? He’s come across the word soap many times in print, and thus, soap “looks right” to him. Sope, in contrast, appears strange and unfamiliar. The child that reads a lot will begin to learn statistical regularities in the spelling system. This is part of why it’s important to teach reading and spelling in the same lesson. Reading improves spelling and spelling improve reading.
Free printable kindergarten paper
To help your student practice spelling, here is printable kindergarten paper. This paper can also be used for first and second graders:
To access this printable kindergarten paper, click the above link.
Reading Elephant offers k-1 printable phonics books. Our books are written methodically to introduce one sound pattern at a time.