Improve your child’s spelling without all the copying

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.  Improve spelling

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.

spelling practice

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.

practice spelling

She checks to see if she got it right . . .

practice spelling

And copies it one more time in the final section.

practice spelling

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!


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6 Comments on "Improve your child’s spelling without all the copying"

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Kat Ledder

Oh wow, such a simple thing but clearly massively overlooked. Definitely remembering this one for the future!

JeeYoung W.

Love this method! Saving this for my soon to be kindergarten in the future.


Smart tip! My kiddos are still pre pre-school age but I’ll keep this in mind, it will be here before we know it!


This is a really interesting approach, I’ll remember this for my son


My son is starting to work on spelling and I have to say it has been tough. I never remembered it being to hard when I was little.

Holly Lasha

This is a very clever way to teach spelling. Kids will like the flipping:)