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Learning How To Spell With Games
It is often said that life is a game. It is also said that you never stop learning. If this is the case, then it would seem to make sense that playing games should be made a part of learning.
This is certainly the case when it comes to the tricky task of teaching children how to spell. The English language is notoriously difficult to teach, and learn from the outset, as many words are not spelled the way they sound. Also many words have different meanings, which only add to the conundrum for some children. Teachers have many methods in the classroom for instructing children on how to spell. A lot of it is to do with memorizing the way words are spelled, as well as actually having the knowledge of how to break words down to work out the spelling when hearing words in speech.
The thing is it all takes time, and practice. And that can be both hard, and deadly tedious. So why not make learning to spell fun? Well there is no reason, and in fact this very notion has even entered the classroom with numerous spelling games being used in place of, or in addition to traditional techniques.
Two examples that could possibly be played in the home are as follows: “Swat’s The Word?” This involves mum, or dad, or guardian (well any responsible adult), a shower curtain, and a fly swat! The idea is you take the curtain, lay it flat, and write the alphabet in large letters on it (either in order, or randomly depending on the age group of players perhaps). Then hang the shower curtain up on a wall, and play. The game itself is simple. Someone calls out a word, and the player with the fly swat comes up, and spells the word out loud while swatting the letters on the game board (the shower curtain).
The second game is “Inspector Word.” This involves a blackboard, or very large sheets of paper. The games master (adult) writes a list of words on the blackboard/paper. The players study the words, and memorize them. The players then close their eyes, or turn their backs while the games master erases one of the words, and rewrites it but this time with a deliberate spelling mistake. (If using paper, the whole list needs to be rewritten with the misspelled word of course). The “Inspectors” then rejoin the game, and see who is the first to spot the misspelled word.
Both these games are great fun, as well as being educational, and might make a fresh alternative in the domestic household to the usual word games such as Scrabble, or Boggle, or Hangman. Spelling games for the computer are also available, as are a number of other software products that make learning to spell fun as well as educational.
A particularly good example of spelling software is Ultimate Spelling, which combines education, and fun in a more balanced way. That’s because there aren’t actually any games on it. The fun comes from the sheer act of using the program. This is clever because you will find children more actively engaged for longer than merely playing a game, which can still become boring after a while.
With Ultimate Spelling you get excellent practicing tools, pre-loaded word lists, a massive dictionary, audio pronunciations, a personalized progress graph chart, and access to Word Discovery, and Windows Messenger online spellchecker so users can keep tabs in real time with their spelling.
Playing with friends is fun, but can be short-lived fun. Playing solo on the computer with Ultimate Spelling is longer-lasting educational enjoyment.