The Spelling “Trick”

By:  Staci Stallings

In case some of you have small children who are just learning to spell, here’s the spelling trick I learned with my son last week.  It is not so much a trick to know how to spell a word but more a trick to help you learn a word.  It works best with one or two words a week–a whole list is a lot harder.  And it is best if you start with the hardest word on the spelling test on Monday and repeat the trick each night with the word.

With all that said, here’s the trick.  Take a white marker board and write the full word on the board.  For this example, let’s use the word “could.”

So you write:


Have the child look at the word and spell it out loud a couple of times (LOOKING at the word–the object is to get the child’s vision to remember how the word looks).  Once the child has spelled the word out loud, looking at it a couple of times, now erase ONE LETTER.  For this at first, I usually choose the easiest letter to remember.  So now the “word” looks like this:


Have the child spell THE WHOLE WORD out loud “c o u l d” even though the “c” is no longer visible.  Once they do that, now erase another letter.  The word now looks like this:

ou d

Have the student spell the word three times saying ALL of the letters “c o u l d”.  Then erase another letter.


Have the student spell the whole word three times again “c o u l d” — even though only the o and u are actually visible now.

Erase another letter.


Have the student spell the word “c o u l d.”  Then erase the final letter and have the student spell the entire word.

Now have the student write the word themselves.

Using this “trick” last night my son learned “could” and “would.”  Tonight we will review those two words several times.  Without this trick he is left to guess.  With it, he can “see” it in his mind and have a much better chance at spelling it correctly.

Happy learning!


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