I started this when my children were still young enough to have weekly spelling tests. We all know that studying anything weekly can get monotonous. Our traditional way of studying for spelling was to give our children a test at the beginning of the week to determine which words they needed to study. Then we would have them write out each word five times and spell it out loud as they wrote it down. The audible aspect proved just as successful as the repetition for memorization.
However, that method became less enjoyable and a bit tired after the holiday hoopla left them staring at a long stretch of school days. We’d still give them the test at the beginning of the week to determine which words they needed the most support in learning, but then we’d switch things up. All bets were off and studying could happen at all hours of the day.
Stumbling into the bathroom early morning to take a shower, they might find their words written (in soap) on the bathroom mirror. Or perhaps I’d write one with syrup on their breakfast pancakes. My favorite was the ‘earn it’ method of index cards. I taped index cards all around the house; on the pantry door or refrigerator, on the door frame of the playroom, their bedroom, the bathroom, anywhere I knew they were going to be, with one spelling word written on each card. Then we’d require our studying child to write the word three times before entering, or getting a snack, or a drink. Over the course of a week, they wrote their words far more times than our traditional study method.
An added benefit to the public display of spelling is that all the children in your household benefit, regardless of their education level. I sort of miss the whimsy of writing on the mirror with soap. Plus there is no guarantee the mirror is washed weekly any more. Hmmm … maybe I’ll start leaving them soapy love notes.
If your child is struggling with academic doldrums, get creative and surprise them with a new way of studying.
Kai is a children's author of middle grade and young adult novels. Her debut tween novel, The Weaver, is available now and her second middle grade novel, Save the Lemmings! will be published in 2012. Kai is a regular contributor to Knowonder, a website dedicated to publishing a daily read aloud story for children ten years old and younger. She is a (very lucky) wife and the mother of four amazing kids. The most common sound in her household is laughter. The second most common is, "Do your dishes!" Obviously she likes to write. She reads a lot as well and calls it research. She loves to garden, though she doesn’t consider herself very good at it. She sings incessantly; you might very well find her singing in Latin while browsing at Target. Most of the time she doesn't realize she’s singing aloud. She and her family love to hike and geocache in beautiful Central Oregon.
About The Weaver:
In a town of word weavers, Mary suffers through her third year of Novice Word Weaving. Mary thinks her troubles are over when she meets a gnome-elf who grants her a wish. But instead of weaving a better story, she's weaving strange yarn charms to accompany her still pathetic tales.
The Weaver is a lyrical tale that offers a little magic and a lot of storytelling, for children 9 – 12 years old. The Weaver is a finalist in the EPIC eBook Awards. Click on the link to read an excerpt from the book.
You can find out more about Kai and her writing on her website: http://www.kaistrand.com/.