Spelling Stories and Sign Language

I’m a natural speller, so it’s been really hard for me to help my kiddos who simply aren’t.  I can just look at a word, even one I’ve never seen, and have pretty good intuition about whether or not it’s spelled correctly.  Most kids though, aren’t natural spellers.  We joke that the English language seems to break all the rules, but there really are some good rules and patterns to go by.  That’s how I teach my kids; I primarily use spelling rules and patterns.  I also add words my kids have misspelled in their writing to their spelling practice lists.  I quickly look through their writer’s notebooks and find useful, but misspelled words and write them on a list.  We practice them in a variety of fun ways throughout the week.  Once they’ve mastered a word, it drops off their list.  By then they’ve likely had some new ones added on as well.  Our lists are fluid.

Spelling Stories

I’ve recently discovered a new way of practicing spelling words that my kids are really enjoying.  They use as many of the spelling words as they can to write a story.  This gives them practice using the words in context and in their everyday writing.

Sign Language

When they are finished writing, they tell the story to me (and whatever audience we can muster up!) out loud, and when they come to one of their words, they finger spell sign it in the story.


They are in sign language classes, but any kids could benefit from learning the basic ABC’s in sign language.

Here are the fingerspelled ABC’s. Public domain.


Any time you can get kids DOING something while they learn, it tends to be cemented more firmly in their minds.  There are lots of other ways we practice active spelling too, but this has been a favorite of theirs lately.  Our spelling words have become spelling, writing, storytelling, speech, and sign language practice, all in about 20 minutes.

More From Layers of Learning

Here are some more fun ways we work on learning those pesky spelling words.


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