Spelling – words within words

Tips for learning to spell.

One way to learn words is to look for words within words. 
E.g. conscience – this has the word science in it.

You can make up ways to remember words. 
E.g. secretary – she will keep your secrets! (Word secret within it)

You can also take the tricky parts of words and make up ways to remember them. 
E.g. necessary – one collar and two sleeves. ( one ‘c’ and two ‘s’)

Keep it fun!



We have a puppy who is 5 months old. He is very sweet but does have his moments! I asked the trainer a couple of weeks back how to get him to stay off the sofa… her response – you don’t need to if you reward for him going to his bed. The dog will want to please you – he wants to be rewarded.

This is a similar scenario with children – reward and praise for the behaviours you do want rather than chastise the behaviours you don’t want all the time.

Easier said than done I know! However it really does work and you’ll all be much calmer! When did you last praise your child for something done well? When did you last scold them for negative bahaviour? I’ll bet I know which one we all remember!

Now I must go back to engaging this with my pup…

Acts of kindness

Actions speak louder than words.

We all have those moments when life just seems too difficult… things aren’t going our way… nothing seems to go right…

Even children have days like these and feelings like these. How we respond to those cries for help is really important.

Little acts of kindness can really make someones day a whole lot brighter. We encourage our boys to carry out a small act of kindness each day and then share these in the evening.

What acts of kindness have you done today? Share these with your child and encourage them to do the same.
Try some of these…

Talking is fun!

What are you talking about today?

Talking topics are great and can provide good discussions with your children. They can give you insight as to what they think and believe, they can be used as a tool to develop your relationship and find common ground.

You can search ‘thunk’ on google and find a whole host of talking ideas or ‘thunks’. 
Here’s one to try..

Spelling struggles

Spelling…. arrgghh!!

My son was writing at home and I noticed he had spelt some words incorrectly that I knew he knew how to spell. I asked him why he had spelt these incorrectly and he replied, ‘I don’t have to spell them right all the time!’

I threw the question back at him, ‘Why would you choose to spell incorrectly when you know the correct way?’

With longer words that are multisyllabic it is always a good idea to say each syllable to yourself to break the word down. This means that you have a better chance of spelling the word correctly and also you will spot any prefixes or suffixes within the word. Noticing how the word is made up will help when spelling.

A great idea for a spelling bank would be to group the words by topic e.g if you are writing a description about a character have a word bank for this. In doing this new vocabulary can be introduced which means you can tackle how the words are spelt and also group them for a specific purpose.

Give it a try! Check out the image below which gives a couple of ideas and things to consider to help with spelling.

Learning outdoors

Other experiences and settings for learning especially outdoor experiences are so important for our children. We’re very lucky living in Devon we have both the moors and the sea on our doorstep. It always amazes me how many children I come across that have never been to the beach and never built a sandcastle! At Wembury beach we have the Marine Centre which everyone can access. They do a variety of different activities across the year including rockpooling!

Better to try than not…

Better to try and fail than never to have tried at all!

There is research that has proven that every time you make a mistake your brain fires up new neurones and pathways. This means that for every mistake you make your brain actually gets bigger…

I always tell my children this and say I’d rather they make mistakes than get something right first time – this will mean that their brain will make new connections and a new tricky concept will be better embedded when they finally get it.

The other side of this of course is that it doesn’t matter if you try and at first fail because when you succeed you will have accomplished something. Not everything will come easily and some things take a lot of hard work and effort. What does this teach our children – skills of perseverance and also the confidence to try and so what if you fail first time round… have another go – you’ll get there in the end!

Here’s food for thought…

Telling stories…

What makes a good story teller?

I saw a fabulous story teller today who taught the children a lot about the Great Fire of London. He used a hat to ‘get into role’ and retold the events. The children were spellbound. He’d obviously done this a few times before!
What made his storytelling so good? Sometimes the best stories told are those we make up on the spot. You may think ‘I can’t do that’ but you can. Your child will love you telling them stories whether they are read or made up. Reading aloud gives your child so much as you are modelling different uses of voice and the speed with which you read to build tension. All of these things will help your child with their own reading and writing. 
If you want to try telling stories for yourself begin with a really well known story such as a traditional tale – Goldilocks and the three bears USA great one to start with. Tell it in your own way and then begin to add in your own details and variations. You could vary the setting, characters or the tale itself. My boys love hearing these stories told slightly differently each time. 
Next step is involve your children in the retelling. Perhaps you start the story and you can take turns to retell each section of the story. It’s great fun and really builds and develops a good bond between you and your child!

Playing word games…

It’s marvellous Monday folks!

Play word games with your child at home or in the car to build and develop their vocabulary. Children need to hear and use a newly learnt word in context 8 times for it to become a part of the long term memory and be ingrained enough to use it. What do we do with our children to facilitate this?

A game to try…
The neighbours cat is a … cat. Fill in the blank with an adjective. Take turns to repeat in order the adjectives you have said and then add one yourself. Continue until you can’t remember the list. 
Person A – The neighbour’s cat is a scary cat. 
Person B – The neighbours cat is a scary, frightful cat. 
Person A – The neighbours cat is a scary, frightful, playful cat. 
And so on…

You can play this sort of memory game with any sentence – remember the game ‘I went to the shop and I bought…’

Introducing new vocabulary that your child will want to use in games is a fun way to develop their skills.