Did you know that the same part of your brain that processes learning also controls movement? They’re both done by the cerebellum! By strengthening your child’s gross motor skills as they learn, you help them to make deeper connections and stay engaged. For this literacy activity, we’re going to engage your child in movement while practicing spelling.
What you need:
What to do:
To begin, create your web on the floor using tape (if done indoors) or chalk (if you’re outside). Write letters on your web. Make sure the letters are big enough to be seen from all points of the web.
How to play:
Start by telling your child that they are a spider and this is their web. They can move anywhere on the web, but they must stay on the “silk.” If they want to, let them practice balancing on a few strands of their “web” before you start the activity.
Next, pick the method described below that suits your child’s current abilities. Meet them where they are!
Idea 1: Write a few words on the small chalkboard or on a page of the notebook that you can display so your child can see it.
Words to play with:
Ask your child to find the individual letters in each word, walking to each one along the web strands. For example you would say, “Let’s spell the word ‘fly.’ F – L – Y. Can you find the F?”
(-) If your child is still unfamiliar with all the letters, you can also keep it simple and ask your child to spider walk to letters that you call out or write on the board for them.
Idea 2: Ask them to spell the word and find the letters as they move about the web. For example you would say, “That first word is ‘fly.’ Can you spell it and find each letter on the web?” Your child will look up at the board, find the word and each letter, and move about the web spelling the word. This will help reinforce their tracking skills.
Idea 3: Use this activity as a phonics reinforcement lesson for a child that is ready to break down words by sound. When doing this, you will not be breaking the word down by letter but rather by syllable and word family. For example you would say: “Let’s sound out the word ‘fly’. Let’s start with the sound /fl/. What letters make the sound /fl/?” (Your child will have the word written on the board so it won’t be a spelling challenge but rather a phonics lesson.) Then, you would say, “Next find the letter /y/. In this word letter /y/ says the long /i/ sound.” *
Idea 4: If your child is ready to start spelling, do not put the word on the blackboard initially. Instead, help them break the word down by syllable and word family, and as they find each letter, write it on the board so they can see the word they are spelling. Seeing the word spelled out as they go about the activity will also give them an opportunity to catch any mistakes. If they make a mistake along the way, allow them the opportunity to correct themselves before you step in. Use the same vocabulary to introduce the activity as we suggest in Idea 3, but in this case they won’t have the board to reference.
When breaking down the rest of the words, break them down by sound and word families: Sp-i-der, W-eb, B-ite, W-ing-s.
*Note for grownups: The book Uncovering The Logic Of English breaks down spelling rules in simple terms for early learners. Rule #3 in this curriculum explains that English words do not end in I, U, V, or J. Knowing this rule can help your child with spelling. There are exceptions to this rule, but in general, this will help your child spell words in English correctly. Here’s a quick reference chart by the makers of the program that we have found useful.
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