I used to be a classroom teacher. I made the kids copy their spelling words five times each because that’s what all the other first grade teachers did. Then I watched the kids copying their words. They would copy all of the first letter. Then all of the third letter. Then they’d go diagonally across the column of words or fill them in randomly. Clearly, they were not engaged in improving their spelling. Their grades reflected just how much this method was not working. There had to be a better way.
That’s when I discovered the Read – Think – Check Method. It mimics the way adults memorize a phone number or the spelling of a new name. It limits the endless copying. And best of all, it forces the child to focus on the spelling word rather than daydream while copying letters mindlessly. Not that daydreaming doesn’t have its place, but it is probably not the best way to become a proficient speller.
Best, it is simple to implement. All you need is a file folder and a pair of scissors. Cut three flaps into the front of the file folder.
Write out the spelling words and insert into the folder.
Your child studies the first word on the list for a moment, closes the flap and writes it in the middle section.
She checks to see if she got it right . . .
And copies it one more time in the final section.
Your child will appreciate it because she only needs to write out the words twice. You will appreciate it because your child will actually be thinking about the spelling of the word rather than daydreaming about birds nests. You both will appreciate it because the increased concentration will lead to improved spelling.
Plus, there is just something about flipping the flaps up and down that makes it a little more engaging than just simply copying the words. Especially for wiggly little children!