The Borten Institute
Spelling homework can feel more like a MMA cage fight or WWF wrestling match for some parents of children with dyslexia or other learning disabilities.
Wanna know how to do spelling practice at home without tears?
One way parents can practice spelling at home is with an approach called Multisensory Spelling Practice, credited to Orton-Gillingham and many others. This approach allows for engaging the brain by using all 5 senses to practice spelling – see it (visual), feel it (tactile), hear it (auditory) and move with it (kinesthetic).
Here are 5 steps to multisensory spelling practice to try at home with children who have learning disabilities.
1. Look and Listen
Get your child’s attention and point to your mouth while pronouncing the word. The child should be watching how your mouth forms the word.
Have the child mimic saying the same word, minding their mouth movement, tongue placement, and lip position.
3. Unblend and Blend
Have your child unblend, or separate sounds, in the word using their fingers. For example, saying the word “cat” we hear three sounds: /c/ /a/ /t/.
When each sound is said, one finger is used to represent each sound.
/c/ (1 finger up), /a/ (2 fingers up), /t/ (3 fingers up).
Now, blend those 3 sounds into one smooth word “cat”; while taking the fingers away in one swoop.
**It is important to sync sounds with finger movement in step 3**
Have your child write the word. They could also use magnetic letters, dry erase boards, salt trays or glue letter cutouts to add variety to this step.
Finally, show your child the correct spelling and compare their spelling in step 4.
Typically 8-10 words can be completed with these steps in about 10-16 minutes depending on the needs of the child.
Multisensory spelling practice is a great way to engage the brains of learners who need alternative ways to learn phonics. It is also a great way to make spelling practice at home more engaging without the MMA cage or WWF wrestling mat!