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Spelling is a fundamental skill that every child needs to learn. Research shows that from a very young age, children go through various stages in the process of learning to recognise and follow the rules and patterns of the English language. To help with this, here are five ways to improve your son’s spelling.

Encourage them to read often

The more your son reads, the more he is able to pick up on the spelling of words. Children are more often drawn to books that have exciting stories, so you can help your son to develop a passion for reading by surrounding him with books that he enjoys. A diversity of text will also help with his spelling – including short stories, books, poetry, picture books and even letters from friends. The more they are reading, the more their spelling will improve.

Help them to sound it out

Phonemic awareness is when a child is able to recognise and distinguish sounds in words, and is then able to translate these sounds into written text. When a boy has these skills, it will be much easier for them to spell. Although not all words are spelled the way they sound, such as “friend,” many simpler words like “drum” or “happy” can be correctly spelled – or very close to being correctly spelled – by sounding it out.

Teach spelling patterns

Learning and practicing common spelling patterns can help your son improve his spelling. As he learns these patterns, it will make it much easier to spell as these spelling patterns are applicable to many other words. Explore spelling patterns by going through a familiar book and identifying patterns such as rhymes. Being able to pick on these patterns, like “rough,” “tough” and “enough,” as well as “station,” “nation” and action” will help your son spell similar words.

Make a list of difficult words and practice

It will be the case that your son struggles to spell certain words. In this case, write down a list of these words and common mistakes and begin to correct them. When he is learning to spell, common mistakes boys make include:

  • Using the wrong consonant (spelling ‘cat’ as ‘kat’)
  • Using the wrong vowel (spelling ‘seat’ and ‘seet’)
  • Leaving out consonants (spelling ‘kicking’ and ‘kiking’)
  • Leaving out a vowel (spelling ‘plain’ as ‘plan’)
  • Writing only one consonant, when it should be doubled (spelling ‘butter’ as ‘buter’)
  • Leaving in an ‘e’ when it should be dropped (spelling ‘riding’ as ‘rideing’)
  • Using ‘y’ instead of ‘ies’ (spelling ‘cherries’ as ‘cherrys’)

Use the dictionary

Knowing how to use a dictionary can really help to improve spelling. If he is unsure about finding words in alphabetical order, an online dictionary can be the solution. Even if the spelling of the word he enters is wrong, if spelled close enough it can still redirect to the correct word. By having an accessible dictionary at hand, it can become a reference for your son to ensure that he spells correctly.


Being a confident and accurate speller, ultimately, is about practice and repetition. By doing these five things consistently, your son will continue to improve his spelling and expand his vocabulary.

To find out more about how we’re teaching young boys through early learning at Scots, download our EYC Prospectus.

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