when to start spelling instruction

When to Start Spelling Instruction with Your Kids

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Do you know when to start spelling instruction?

And no, it’s not straight from the beginning at the same time as you start reading or phonics lessons.

You should begin spelling instruction when your child is reading well or at least halfway through phonics lessons – and by that, I mean the phonics books.

There are three reasons for this.

Phonics and Spelling Teach the Same Subject

 Phonics and spelling teach the same lessons from two different angles. Phonics is aimed at getting kids to translate when they see on the page into words.

Spelling teaches kids to translate the words they hear into writing.

To read, kids need a handle on the rules of phonics.

To spell, kids need a handle on the rules of spelling.

Although I’ve found for my own kids, it’s harder to spell than it is to read. In the same way that’s, it’s easier to translate from a foreign language into your own language than it is to come up with the words on the spot.

In reading, kids look at the words and translate the words into sounds. And it doesn’t require a huge amount of effort to do so.

In spelling, kids need to translate the sounds into letters. Should they use ph or f to spell fat?

Remember, by teaching one, you’re teaching the other. So when you’re teaching your kids to read, you’re also teaching them to spell.

Prevent Curriculum Overload

Too many homeschool programs weigh down your homeschool and make it hard to homeschool.

I’ve found the kids and I are much more enthusiastic about sitting down and doing the work when we don’t have a gigantic pile of material for us to work through.

If you’re completing a spelling and a phonics curriculum at the same time, you’re doing double duty.

And I loathe double duty.

The kids don’t learn any better from us spelling hours and hours on phonics and spelling.

Instead, they wear out and just want to leave the table and play video games.

But if you’re completing one at a time, then kids still have educational energy left when they leave the table.

They’ll take off to write stories, read books, and explore the world.

They’ll use the skills you’re using during their everyday life.

Not only will this allow them to improve their reading and writing dramatically, but it will also increase their enthusiasm for learning.

Kids Need Fine Motor Skills to Write

The third reason to wait for spelling instruction is that kids need fine motor skills to write. And often young kids are just not up to a large amount of writing.

You can use letter tiles, magnetic letters, and chanting to study spelling. But ultimately, at some point, kids will need to write their spelling words down.

And for a young child, just learning to write their letters, it’s hard to sit down and remember how to form an a to spell apple.

It’s too much going on at once.

So if you’re debating on when to start spelling instruction, it’s best to wait.

Wait until the children have covered phonics and are reading well. Give yourself sanity and a shorter homeschool for the kids.

You’ll be rewarded with cheerful kids who are more eager to sit down and do the work when they know they won’t be trapped at the table for hours.

Your kids will have the fine motor skills they need to write their spelling words down on a piece of paper.

To answer the question of when to start spelling instruction, wait until your children have finished phonics and are reading well. 

And then begin teaching spelling to your children.

when is the best time to start spelling instruction?

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  1. I tried to start to early with one of my children, and it led to nothing but frustration. You are so right, Sara, that you don’t have to start spelling on Day 1 of Kindergarten.
    If I’d only known that back then!

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