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Spelling Techniques - How to improve your child's spelling without list learning!

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

Spelling can be a source of frustration for many children. Words without context often have very little meaning, and weekly lists of unfamiliar words can of course be tricky! But we are here to help, at Sammie Allen Tutoring we often have success when supporting students with their spellings, and in this blog we are going to show you a few techniques you can use to help your child feel more confident with this new learning, and have fun along the way!

We find that a child’s learning type can have a huge impact on how well they learn how to spell. Check out our most recent blog to take a look at the impact of learning types! When children struggle with spelling, it can be for many reasons such as poor reading ability, difficulty understanding what the spelling means, unfamiliarity with using the word within a sentence or even special educational needs such as dyslexia.

But spellings don’t need to be as tricky as they seem… at Sammie Allen Tutoring, we discourage spelling lists, and practice a more hands on, context based style of learning spellings.

Statutory spellings

Statutory spellings are words that, according the the National Curriculum, children need to have memorised by the time the academic year ends. They are often used frequently, but can be very tricky, often following no kind of phonetical strategy. These statutory spellings are designed to be introduced across the whole year, and the children have the whole academic year to learn them. These are usually the spellings your child might see in their spelling tests.

Spelling techniques

There are loads of different spelling techniques that can be used to support this tricky concept. Below, we are going to highlight just three of our favourites, but hundreds more can be found online!

The first is Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check (LSCWC). This technique asks the child to take a brief glance at one of their spellings, say it out loud to familiarise themselves with the phonetic devices in the word, cover it with their hand or a book, have a go writing it on a separate piece of paper, and then check to see if they got it correct! This spelling technique is wonderful for children who enjoy practicing their spellings independently, and also supports proof reading skills.

The second spelling technique is a little more fun… For this, we ask the children to take some time to write their spelling in different ways! Bubble writing, joined up writing, capital letters, different colours, upside down etc. Not only does this familiarise the children with the words, but it also gives them the opportunity to be creative! We find this works best with children who are learning the spelling for the first time.

The third technique is the pyramid technique. In this instance, children are asked to break the word up into its individual letters, and stack them up, like a pyramid! Let me show you how it’s done…








We get it, it’s a little strange! But we find that it really helps when breaking the word up into more manageable pieces, and it gives the children the chance to write the new words repeatedly. We find this works with commonly misspelled words like although or definitely.

Spelling games

Enough of the techniques… let’s think about games! Spelling games are a super fun activity to do with your child to help reduce any anxiety around the pressue of learning their spellings or the idea of having a “test”.

We enjoy spelling wordsearches or letter jumbles, but my personal favourite… hangman! Hangman is a great way to use the spellings brought home from school, and practice them in random orders. We find that children generally end up learning their spellings in the order they have been given, so when you jumble up the order, confusion occurs! But we find that learning spellings in different ways can support this confusion.

To learn more about our teaching techniques, or to ask for any more support with your child’s spellings, give us a call on 07753166900, or pop us an email to

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