Label Love

Now that I have introduced my main objective, I will share my first tip for continuing your child’s education at home and it involves spelling.  With the various spelling strategies taught in school, many parents struggle with which one to use at home. Some of you tell your child to sound out the word, some say to look it up in the dictionary or refer to spell check on the computer. I believe that a combination of these strategies can be used, often depending on your individual child but the one universal piece of advice I have is to let each child explore his or her surroundings and come to a conclusion on his or her own.

This spelling tip will allow them to do just that. It can be used for children of all ages, it will just need to be adapted based on the grade level.  It may sound strange but it  is a tactic that I used in my Kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms that worked tremendously. It is also a suggestion I made to the upper elementary, middle and high school teachers I worked with after teaching in the classroom. I/we labeled our classroom  and you are going to label your house! Yes, label your house. Everything in it. The doors, the food, the refrigerator, the toilets, the televisions, etc.

Sound weird? Let me explain. When my students entered their classroom the first few days, everything was new. We wrote and drew a lot at the beginning of the year and there were so many questions of, “how do you spell this?” and “how do you spell that?” We hadn’t learned all of the sounding out strategies yet, they didn’t know how to use a dictionary or a word wall, much less spell check on a computer, so what was I to do? So, everyone got a bunch of index cards and tape and we started labeling. However they thought a word should be spelled, that’s how it went up on the index card. The only way it was corrected was when someone realized that a word was spelled differently. This happened when we were reading together, when they were reading alone, when someone saw a sign for the word “shelves” and realized that our class spelling was incorrect. We would cross out, never erase, the incorrect spelling and write the correct version underneath. Gradually, my students became aware of their surroundings and started to notice words and the patterns that they followed. They took an interest in how words were spelled and why certain combinations of letters created certain sounds. It was the most successful way to have them take ownership of their own learning. One by one, week by week, all of the words in our classroom were labeled correctly and they remained posted around the room for the entire school year. They used these index cards as reference points and before they knew it, they did not need the index card; they had committed the correct spelling to memory. Mission accomplished.

The same can be done around your home. It is a fun way to incorporate spelling into your child’s life, outside of the classroom setting. If your child is younger, you can start with simple words such as bed, light and door. If your child is older or you want to challenge them, you can add words such as television, refrigerator and staircase. Perhaps they will be on an educational website, see the spelling of mirror and realize that the spelling looks different from how it was spelled on the index card on your bathroom mirror. Maybe they will see a sign for apricots in the supermarket and realize the correct spelling of the word. It will happen in random locations, at random times but having your child understand the importance of spelling and realize the feeling of accomplishment will never be random. It will be priceless! Try it out and let me know how it goes!


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  1. * Courtney says:

    LOVE it! Great idea!

    | Reply Posted 6 years, 8 months ago
  2. LOL – I’m laughing, because I did this a few months ago with a few things around our house so Josh (3.5 years at the time) could see and learn to read some of the words… and then he wanted me to label everything. He was obsessed! Apparently the post-its I used were not sticky enough, because they have all fallen down since. But, it is really a great idea. Love it! Great idea and great blog!

    | Reply Posted 6 years, 8 months ago

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