9 spelling strategies from real parents

Alphabet letter magnets
Helping your child master spelling starts in Reception and continues throughout the primary years. Lucy Dimbylow asked real parents for their top tips on making learning spellings fun.

“I find the best way to learn new words is to write them over and over again. To make it more interesting for my daughter, we don’t just use pencil and paper – she also practises with bath crayons on the wall tiles, a mini whiteboard and pavement chalks in the garden.”
Miriam, mum to Olivia, 7

“I pronounce my children’s spelling words phonetically to help them learn them. For example, carpet is ‘car-pet’ rather than ‘car-pit’ and kitchen is ‘kit-chen.’ It has become a family joke: they call it Mummy language!”
Amanda, mum to Kiera, 9, and Harry, 6

“We use magnetic fridge letters to help Archie learn his spellings. At the start of the week, I pick out the letters for him and put them in the right order, then as he gets more familiar with the words I get him to find the letters himself.”
Erin, mum to Archie, 6, and Charlie, 4

“We use good old-fashioned drilling for learning spellings. The ‘Look, say, cover, write, check’ method works really well: we get them to practise once a day and reward them with computer time!”
Sarah, mum to Megan, 13, Josh, 11 and Chloe, 8

“Mnemonics work well for my twins. We use all the tried-and-tested ones, such as ‘O U Lucky Duck’ for words like ‘could’ and ‘should’, but also make up our own, like ‘Balloons Always Land Lightly On Our Noses’ for ‘balloon’.”
Carrie, mum to Elizabeth and Madeleine, 7, and Joseph, 4

“I write my daughter’s words on sticky notes and put them in places where I know she’ll see them often, such as in her lunch box and on her mirror. She can then glance at them in passing, which helps them sink in.”
Nicky, mum to Evie, 6

“Word puzzles help my children with their spellings. I often make wordsearches or crosswords using their weekly words, and we play Hangman with them, too.”
Jamila, mum to Hasna, 10, and Hani, 7

“My year 6 daughter will happily practise her spellings if I let her text me her words!”
Ruth, mum to Florence, 11