My child's school has a spelling words practice method called "look, cover, say, write see" - which is a list of words the kids say, sound out and practice their spelling with each day.

The test method is the teacher calling out the words, and the kids writing the spelling words on a sheet of paper for marking.

My child had an issue where they weren't confident sounding out the spelling words, and so they failed to create an association when practicing from [sound]->[spelling word], merely just formed a visual association from looking at the sheet.

To fix this association problem, I took to daily drills on top of the practice sheet, calling out the words and having the child write them every day. This solved the problem of not being confident of what the word sounded like, and the association from word sound to writing it.

My feel like my child should create this association independently. (Much as I like practicing with them). But it didn't seem to be working using the learning technique on the sheet.

My question is: How do I get my 7 year old to learn their spelling words independently?

  • There are a lot of really fantastic computer games out there that you can download, and which educate kids while they are playing. I'm not going to make an answer of this because I'm too lazy to spend the time googling for them. Try asking your child's teacher for recommendations. That won't help with the specific words that your child must learn each day, but may help to teach your child to learn more independently. May 12, 2016 at 18:09
  • So "there's an app for that." Got it.
    – hawkeye
    May 14, 2016 at 1:02

2 Answers 2


Reading is the best practice for spelling. My suggestion is to not focus so hard on "spelling" practice, like it's its own discipline. Reading, writing, and spelling are all part of the same set of skills. Have your child read books out loud to you casually while you sit on the couch. You don't have to really pay attention, but if you hear the child mispronounce a word, correct her (this is very important). The more she sees words and speaks them, the more she will intuit our language's vast array of spelling rules. This type of activity coordinates, in the brain, seeing words and speaking them, parsing their meaning and their spelling, and will create more neural connections than just sitting there practicing spelling. It also bonds you and your child at a learning level in an informal context. I'm not saying to ignore the spelling assignments, but remember that "spelling" is really not important for a 7-year old -- reading and writing are. Reading and writing build connections, spelling is just precision. Think of it like shooting a bow and arrow. There's no need for precision until you are fluent in the basic mechanics, but practicing the basic mechanics also will improve precision implicitly.

  • My 8 year old reads all the time. He's developed better spelling than me, without any drilling, flashcards, repetition, etc. Reading does it most of the time. Plus reading has so many other benefits!
    – Fix.B.
    May 24, 2016 at 3:13

The author here has the following suggestions:

  1. Create a set of flashcards.

  2. Create a second set of flashcards with the definition of the word on it.

  3. Use both sets of flashcards to play spelling Memory.

  4. Use alphabet magnets or Scrabble tiles to spell out each word.

  5. Write the word list on a piece of construction paper. Then cut the words apart into strips.

  6. Write sentences for each word.

  7. Type her spelling words on the computer.

  8. Write or type a story using all of her spelling words.

  9. Use the Spelling City website.

  10. Use Discovery Education’s puzzlemaker tool.

  11. Alphabetize the word list.

  12. Sit down with your child, two pencils and a piece of paper. Tell her the spelling word you’ll be practicing and write the first letter of the word. Pass the paper to her so she can add the next letter.

  13. Create Mad Libs only using the spelling words.

  14. Let your child play with her food. She can use a fork to trace her spelling words in her mashed potatoes or spell them out with alphabet cereal.

  15. Use old magazines or newspapers to find spelling words and cut them out.

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