Kindergartners should work on spelling phonetic words and sight words. When they work on phonetic words, they should write the word sound-by-sound. When they spell sight words, they should write the irregular aspects of the sight word from memory. Do not have your kindergartner work on memorized lists of words each lesson. Instead, construct your kindergarten spelling lists so your student has about 5 phonetic words (that he doesn’t memorize) and about 4 sight words (that he does memorize). Here are some sample kindergarten spelling lists to help get you started.
Remember to have your student work on a spelling list each lesson, meaning every day.
Teacher cues for teaching spelling
As the teacher, let’s say your student is spelling “cat.” Do not show your student the word. Do not give him hints. Have him segment the word into its 3 distinct sounds: c-aaaa-t. Then, have him write the word. Your cues are:
TEACHER: Cat. The cat played with a ball of yarn. Say cat.
TEACHER: What are sounds in cat?
TEACHER: Write Cat sound-by-sound. What is the first sound?
Student writes “c”
TEACHER: And the next sound?
Student writes “a”
TEACHER: And the last sound?
Student writes “t”
You can drop these cues once your student gets the hang of sound-by-sound spelling. This method is a lot more effective and efficient than having your student memorize long lists of phonetic words. When you create your spelling lists for each lesson, make sure your intermediate kindergartner spells about 5 phonetic words. A beginner can start off spelling 2 phonetic words.
Beginning kindergarten spelling lists
A beginner should only work on about 2 phonetic words and 1 sentence. The beginning student can gradually work up to spelling more words. Here are some sample beginning kindergarten spelling lists. Keep in mind that the following lists would be distributed throughout the beginning of the year:
3. The cat sat.
3. The bat is mad.
3. The rat is big.
4. The man sat.
5. Sam will sit.
5. Mom can jig.
5. Dad is fun.
Intermediate Kindergarten spelling lists
The above lists should allow you to see how you gradually add more content and increase the length of the activity. An intermediate Kindergartner can begin spelling consonant digraphs like: sh, th, ch, _tch, _ing, _ang, wh_… etc. An intermediate student can also practice spelling more sight words. Notice how the sight words are the only words that are repeated: these are the only words the student needs to memorize.
5. The cat ran to the mat.
5. I ran on the hill.
5. There are cats on the mat.
5. What is that?
5. They have a cat.
Late Kindergarten spelling lists
Late kindergarten spelling lists include words with consonant blends. In addition, kids practice writing more sight words.
5. There is a fish.
5. They are on the sand.
5. They have ten cats.
5. They would like to get another dog.
5. The cat could jump up on the bed.
Some kindergarten classes also go over silent e, so you can create silent e lists as well.
For printable phonics books for kindergartners, check out our shop.
To learn more about systematic phonics instruction, listen to Emily Hanford’s podcasts at APM Reports.