We take it for granted that spelling is taught from the get-go at school. But why is this?
Let's look at some of the reasons why spelling remains vitally important for children; why it's a foundational skill for their whole life!
Humans are highly sociable beings and need to be able to communicate effectively, both in written and verbal forms. Although not as commonly used as it was in the past, writing continues to be one of the most popular forms of communication. It is really important that children develop correct spelling practices from a young age, as this will enable them to process, retain and relay information naturally.
Learning how to spell can also have a huge impact on how well children are able to read! When a child is able to recognise written words by the way they’re spelt, they can quickly identify the relationship between the words they’re reading and the meaning behind them. 📚
Additionally, learning more spellings widens a child’s vocabulary and exposes them to a richer set of linguistic patterns! This will improve their understanding of language as a whole, consequently improving the accuracy and sophistication of their communication.
Often children (and adults!) will resort to spelling words as they sound, as our primary attempt at communication is, in most cases, the spoken word. This can sometimes cause confusion and misunderstandings, especially in younger children. It is important to teach children that, sometimes, the sounds and words we hear are not exactly spelled in the same way!
Spelling is an important skill to develop in relation to phonetics (sounds) as it teaches children how to correctly link distinct sounds to the correct letters, helping them to learn the differences between, for example, vowels and consonants - which is crucial to children improving their articulation. 📖
As all vowels make an open-mouthed sound, it is easier for younger children to pronounce and recognise, both in written and spoken word. Consonants are slightly trickier, often requiring children to pay closer attention to each distinct sound, in order to successfully pronounce words correctly. Knowing spellings of words beforehand really makes this easier!
Functional skills can be defined as attributes that can be used in many different settings. A functional skill linked to spelling can be something like making lists. Whether writing a to do list or a letter to Santa 🎅, spelling is perhaps the key skill to have in order to transmit clear instructions - this is especially important if shared with others!
Spelling can impact how well we share and understand information, whether we record it for ourselves (for example, in note-taking form), or to offer information to others, like creating a plan or a step-by-step guide on how to achieve something. If we fail to use correct spelling, this may result in miscommunication!
Spelling has in many ways become easier than ever, with technology being at the forefront of most educational and professional methods of work. Features such as built-in autocorrect tools can easily make us feel as though spelling is not a necessary skill to have. However...
Technology isn’t always right!
Built in “spell checker” technology in phones and computers only correct based on what you type into them. Too often we take it for granted that the device will autocorrect for us. If our spelling skills aren’t strong in the first place, autocorrect can actually “overcorrect” and deviate from what we’re trying to communicate to others - a classic example is people misspelling definitely, and spell checker autocorrecting it to defiantly. Sigh
The ability to spell therefore enhances our attention to detail and enables us to spot mistakes in others’ work, who may have relied on autocorrect - it’s not always their friend!
Life doesn’t come with a spellchecker! Prepare your child for that with regular spelling practice.
Finally, we believe it’s important to touch on the future. Spelling plays a big role in how we present ourselves to others. Whether we’re taking part in a writing competition or applying for an extracurricular activity or club, showing correct spelling practices can have a lasting impact on someone’s impression of us!
The development of spelling skills contributes to a secure educational foundation, which will be needed at all times throughout children’s educational and professional journeys. By establishing a strong, well-rounded set of basic skills, we are ensuring that children are set up for success!
We do hope you’ve enjoyed finding out more about the benefits of spelling and why it is crucial for children to develop this skill from a young age! If you’d like your children to start actively improving their spelling skills, you can sign up for a free, 7-day trial of our reading and writing program today!