• Private Schools and Learning Centers
  • Phonics Blog

Spelling with Vowel Trouble

I have a child who could not read very well, however now his reading has improved a lot but his spelling is just awful. I’ve tried almost every thing and still the results aren’t pleasing. I believe he has a problem when there are two vowels together, also he adds “e” to the end of every word and he doesn’t know when to use “y” or “i,” it’s just endless. What can I do?

I didn’t catch the age of your son, and some of his spelling problems might be age related. It sounds like he has focused so hard on reading (a great step there) that he hasn’t paid much attention to his spelling. That may solve itself as he becomes more comfortable with his reading skills and starts focusing on other language skills, but here are a few suggestions about spelling.

The Two Vowel Rule (once he learns or re-learns this rule, it may help with adding e’s to end of everything):

“When two vowels go walking”– as in bean or as in gate (the two vowels are walking together in the same word), “the first one does the talking and says his own name”—ask him what the name of the first vowel is (bean—it’s “e” so that’s the sound that the vowels are going to make in this word—long e). “The second goes to sleep” (b e a n –have him literally cross out the second vowel here with an x or something. Also kids love it if you make snoring noise when the second vowel goes to sleep).

Then when he spells something with an e on the end of it—you can remind him of this little rule. Say he spells the word cat with an e: cate. You say the rule, have him apply the rule and ask him if we pronounce the word cat with a long a—cate? He can apply this rule to his spelling and start to see the difference that two vowels make in a word as opposed to just one. (Careful of exceptions here. Expose him to words that follow this rule, most of them do, but we’re learning English and there are many exceptions.) That might help on the ending “e” issue.

Spelling is tough, and takes lots and lots of practice. Even if he has tough spelling lists at school, you can have simpler additional ones at home with words that back up a bit and give him some confidence that he can spell and can master this skill. Back up to simpler words, shorter lists, maybe five a week and give lots of praise for words spelled correctly. Another great spelling help is just exposing them to words, words, words. Reading is the key to that, and as his reading improves and he sees how words are spelled over and over again—hopefully, his spelling will improve.

Also, expose him to a dictionary. There are many great children’s versions out there. Show him how they work. Let him see you use one. That might give him some hope that not everybody, even mom, knows how to spell every word in our language. Good luck and enjoy the process of working with your child. It sounds like you’re doing a great job.

Be Sociable, Share!
Find a Learning Center in Your Area
Visit our Blog