Spelling Rules For Kids: Ready, Set, Spell!

spelling rules for kidsSpelling can be hard for anyone, especially some of the tougher and more phonetically tricky words.  You would think that spelling is harder for kids than for adults, but kids are natural-born spellers!  Just tune into the National Spelling Bee — all the competitors are under the age of 15 and spelling some of the most obscure words ever without so much as an eye blink.  Xanthosis?  Nope, never heard of it.  Autochthonous?  Let me get back to you on that one.  As such, the best time to immerse your child in spelling (and spelling correctly), is when they are just learning the pronunciation of words.  Children are able to pick up and absorb information more quickly than you would have thought.  To get your little bumble bee started, we are going to go over some helpful spelling rules that every kid should be aware of.  You never know, your child might be well on their way to Spelling Bee success!

Spellings Rules That Every Kid Should Know

Let’s dive into some of the most common spelling rules to start a child off:

“IE” or “EI” Rule:  Use “i” before “e” except after “c”.  For example: piece, believe, chief, receive.  However, there are some exceptions to the rule.  The exceptions are as follows: either, their, science, leisure.

Compound Words:  Certain words do not use a hyphen for separation.  Instead, they are written as full words.  For instance: cupcake, firewood, and fireplace.

Plurals:  Know when to add either “s” or “es” to the end of words.

  • Add “s” to most nouns and verbs.  For instance: cats, plays, and runs.
  • Add “es” to words that end with: “ch”, “s”, “sh”, “z”, or “x”.  For example: churches, dishes, foxes, torches.
  • For words that end in “y”, change the “y” to an “i” and add an “es” at the end.  For example: “candy” will become “candies”.  However, if there is a vowel before the “y”, simply just add an “s” and do not change anything else.
  • For words that end in “o”, add an “es”.  If there is a vowel in front of the “o”, simply add an “s” and do not change anything else.  For example: “go” will become “goes” and “patio” will become “patios”.
  • For words that end in “f”, change the “f” to a “v” and add an “es” to the end.  For example: “leaf” will become “leaves”.

The exceptions to the plural rules are as follows:

  • “tooth” will become “teeth”.
  • “deer” will stay as “deer”.

Possessives:  For possessive words, add an apostrophe “s” at the end of the word to indicate possessiveness.  For example: “hamster” will become “hamster’s”.

  • Plural words that already end with an “s” will have an apostrophe after the “s” that is already there.  For example: “children” will become “childrens'”.

Prefixes:  These are simple — simply add on the prefix to the work and do not change anything about the word’s original spelling.  For example: inside, misspell, replay, dislike.

Suffixes:  Most of the time, you will not change the spelling.  Simply add on the suffix.  For example: “talk” will change to “talker”, “talking”, or “talked”.

  • For words that end in “e”, drop the “e” if the suffix begins with a vowel.  For example: “save” will become “saving”, “love” will become “loveable”, and “race” will become “raced”.
  • For words where the suffix begins with a consonant, keep the “e” at the end.  For example: “care” will become “careless”, “safe” will become “safely”, and “hope” will become “hopeless”.
  • For words that have one syllable, or if the suffix begins with a vowel, you are going to want to remember to double the final consonant.  For example: “sit” becomes “sitting” and “nap” will become “napped”.


Tips for the Spelling Process

spelling rules for kidsWith all of these spelling rules for kids, you are going to want to make the learning process as fun and as easy as possible.  Here are a few tips to help kids learn to spell better while implementing the above rules:

  • Read:  Have kids read aloud as much as they can.  As they are reading, stop them every so often and have them look at the words on the page.  Get them used to paying attention to the words that they are reading.  Are there any words that look strange to them, or that they do not know how to spell?
  • Write:  Have children write the words down as well as spelling and saying them aloud.
  • Games:  Incorporate learning into fun spelling games or activities.  Consider these games: Scrabble, Boggle, or UpWords.  If you do not have a board game, take out a piece of paper and start a game of Hangman.
  • Study:  Kids need to do these regularly to keep things fresh and active in their minds.  Have kids spend at least 15 minutes each day practicing spelling words, reviewing words they did not know, and going over new ones.
  • Test:  Test children every week on the spelling words that they are practicing with.  If there are mistakes on the test, retest those words again the following week.  At the end of the month, test the child on all the spelling words from that month.

Commonly Misspelled Words

Now, let’s take a look at the words that kids most often misspell.  Be sure to watch out for these!

About        Friend      Once     They      Were

Are             Have         People  Too       When

Beautiful   House      Play       Until

With           Because   I’m         Pretty

Very            Would     Christmas      Know

Said        Want     Could    Like        Should

Was       Excited My         There    Went

Bring On The Words!

With these spelling rules for kids, you will be able to help any child take on the spelling world by storm!  Remember, there is not one method that will help a child learn spelling easily.  It is essential that you find the best way to help the child you are working with.  If you need any further help preparing the younger generation with proper grammar skills, check out Udemy.com for some helpful courses  for brushing up on and spelling or grammar skills.  Read, set, spell!