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Engaging Spelling Activities for the Primary Classroom

Ahhh spelling… Just the mere mention of this subject has been known to cause some moans and groans in the classroom. But here’s the thing friends… spelling activities don’t have to be boring! In fact, they can actually be some of the most engaging lessons you focus on all week long! Come along to see how I ensured that our time spent on spelling was fun, engaging, and enjoyable for my primary learners.

This image says, "Engaging Spelling Activities for the Primary Classroom" and includes examples of fun write the room activities that can be used to address a variety of phonics skills!

Spelling Activities in the Primary Classroom

When it comes to planning spelling and writing activities for your primary students, one thing is certain. They absolutely MUST be fun! Why you ask? Well, over the years I discovered that if students aren’t interested in a particular lesson, the material isn’t going to stick. I can repeat it until I’m blue in the face, but if they’re checked out, it’s all for nothing.

This image showcases a spelling  activity focusing on L Blends. In this write the room style activity, students will find cards within he classroom and then write the corresponding word on the worksheet.

For this reason, I was always careful to include plenty of variety in our classroom lessons. We use many different learning formats, tools, centers, activities, and resources to help cultivate a fun and exciting classroom learning environment. This is especially important to consider when planning for some of the more “dry” classroom topics. Personally, I think spelling falls into that category. It’s not as interesting as something like science or social studies, so we need to consider how we’ll ensure student buy-in on our lessons! If you’ve been considering this question yourself, I think you’ll love the way I approached this in my classroom.

Embracing Multiple Formats for Spelling Activities

I hinted at this in the last paragraph, but variety is truly the secret ingredient when it comes to engagement. Think about it… would you want to use the same old flashcard memorization technique week after week? No! Of course not! That would get boring quickly. Your students don’t want to do this either. So instead, I like to use a multi-step approach to teaching spelling words and patterns that uses a variety of formats. This has many benefits:

In this spell the room activity, a student is practicing words containing short or long a. Spelling activities like this are perfect for

Higher Students Engagement

Let’s start with the obvious. Using multiple teaching techniques for your spelling activities ensures that things feel a little different, even when you’re working with the same words. This means you can give your kids the practice they need, without feeling like you’re doing the same activity over and over again. In turn, this will boost engagement in your classroom and help keep everyone on track.

Appeals to Multiple Learning Styles

This benefit is another one that’s high on my list! We all know that everyone learns a bit differently. Some students prefer auditory support while others need hands-on learning opportunities to thrive. The great thing about using a multi-step approach in your spelling activities is that you’re ensuring that the lessons appeal to all of your students, no matter how they learn.

Streamlines Planning

This last benefit is especially helpful for you – the teacher! Once you start using a multi-step approach to teaching spelling words and patterns, you’ll have a foolproof system you can duplicate for each set of words. Every time you introduce new words, start with step one and move through the process. This streamlines and simplifies your planning, saving your precious brain power for more taxing tasks!

So What Do These Spelling Activities Look Like?

So what’s the system that I used in my room? I am glad you asked! Let’s walk through each of the resources inside my favorite spelling activities! My Spell the Room Activities were my go-to method for teaching new spelling patterns. Here are the 3 components that make them so special!

1. Picture Card Spelling Activities

If you’re a teacher in the primary classroom, you already know the importance of using picture cards in your small groups. This is where the magic happens as students begin with essential phonemic awareness skills. In my room, before we even began with pencils and paper to practice spelling, we focused on listening for, segmenting, and blending sounds together to sound out words.

This image shows examples of picture cards that can be used for a variety of spelling activities!

These spelling activities include 24 picture cards for each spelling pattern. I used these by holding up a card and saying the word aloud. You can also ask students what word they think the card represents. Then, using my fingers, I would tap out each sound that can be heard in the word. For example, the word jam would go j/a/m. Tap once on the table for each sound. Then, pull out your trusty magnetic letters and have students do the same, except this time they will pull a letter for each sound and spell out the word. They will tap along to sound out j/a/m. Finally, blend the sounds together to say the word once more.

We work through each of the picture cards to practice listening to the word, segmenting the sounds, and then blending them together. This process is very similar to the activities we use during word work time, so the students are familiar with how it works and catch on quickly! I love to use this activity in small groups so that I can differentiate what we’re working on by skill level. It also gives me the added benefit of being able to offer additional support to those who need it. This first step in our spelling activities is usually a student favorite due to the hands-on component of our lesson.

2. Write the Room Spelling Activities

After our small group introduction and practice, it’s time to put those picture cards to use once more in our next activity! After my students had a chance to work with the new spelling words, I sent them off to “Spell the Room”. I love this activity because it allows my students to practice what we worked on again but in a new way with more independence.

This image features a lesson that targets digraphs with words like "fish", "chick" and "chimp".

For this activity, I hang those picture cards up around the room and give my students recording sheets. Inside my resources, I have differentiated recording sheets to allow for the most versatility. There are 2 handwriting styles provided along with options for 6, 10, 12, 18, or 24 words per page. Students receive a recording sheet aligned to their level and are instructed to walk around the room and find the cards. Once they find a card, they say the word and spell it out on the correct line on their paper. This is when those skills we worked on to segment and blend sounds will come in handy!

In addition to the choices I already mentioned, the recording sheets also have options for additional support. Some pages feature the alphabet for prompting, while others do not for those students who need a little extra challenge. I love that this activity has so many options because it allows for tons of versatility.

Plus. . . this doesn’t have to be completed in “write the room” format. Use it as a whole class warm-up, for a weekly spelling “test” or add the response sheets and cards to your center rotation.

3. Digital Spelling Activities

This image features a digital game that can be used to practice long and short a words.

The final component of these spelling activities are the digital, Google Slides. I find that this final step in the process really helps keep the appeal of spelling activities high and ensures engagement! We all know that kiddos love technology and digital activities, which means using these spelling activities to finish out your lesson is a no-brainer!

In these spelling activities, students will get access to a deck of Google Slides for a specific word family or spelling pattern. They will click the speaker on each slide to hear the directions and they can also hear audio to hear the word aloud. I love this feature for my auditory learners! Then, they will type to spell the word.

These activities are perfect for whole-group teaching, technology integration centers, homework assignments, and more! I especially love using these as review activities. To use them this way, I display one slide at a time and call on students to come up and complete a card as a “ticket” to line up for recess. The students enjoy this format, making it fun and easy to squeeze in a little extra practice.

Putting it All Together

So there you have it friend! This is the exact system that I used with my kiddos to ensure that we had a fun and engaging way to practice spelling in our classroom. I loved being able to pull out these tried and true spelling activities each week as we introduced new words. This format allows for enough variety that my kids stayed interested in learning, and it made it simple and easy to plan! I loved these activities so much that I created them for a variety of spelling patterns. Inside my Spell the Room Bundle, you’ll find 16 different resources for the following spelling patterns:

This image showcases write the room spelling activities targeting short I words.
  • CVC “a”
  • CVC “e”
  • CVC “i”
  • CVC “o”
  • CVC “u”
  • Mixed CVC
  • L Blends
  • R Blends
  • S Blends
  • Mixed Blends
  • Digraphs sh, ch, th, ph, wh
  • CVC vs CVCE “a”
  • CVC vs CVCE “i”
  • CVC vs CVCE “o”
  • CVC vs CVCE “u”
  • Final “k”

Whenever we were ready for a new set of words, we’d start in small groups with the picture cards and work our way through the process. The nice thing is that with so many different recording sheets and options for using the Spell the Room worksheets, we could use these spelling activities over and over until we were ready to move on! This method became my go-to for teaching new words in the primary classroom.

Try These Spelling Activities for FREE!

Love the idea of these spelling activities for your students? You’re in luck! I’ve got a FREE Resource for you to test out in your classroom and give my method a try. Grab my Free CVC “A” Spelling Activities to get started! Inside you’ll get all three components of my system. You’ll find the picture cards, the Spell the Room activity pages, and the digital activities. Give this method a try in your room and be amazed as you see engagement go through the roof during spelling time!

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Be sure to pin this post on Pinterest so you remember how to use these engaging spelling activities in your room!

Looking for a way to make spelling activities more engaging for students in your primary classroom? These write the room activities are perfect for targeting skills like cvc words, cvce words, digraphs, blends and more! Plus, they are great to use as literacy centers!

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