My son has just started K1 and he seems to be struggling with spelling. How can I help him?
In K1, teachers and parents should take this time to build children's confidence in developing reading (blending basic sounds and learning new sounds – digraphs, long vowels, etc.) and penmanship skills.
During this time, K1 children are rapidly developing their understanding in other areas (e.g., Math, Mandarin, Art) as well. It is not advisable for teachers and parents to thrust it on children all at once and upset the balance. At this stage, teachers and parents should create more opportunities for children to build on what they already know and to feel good about their new-found skills instead of creating a false sense of 'what they are good at and what they are not good at'. Children at this age should believe that ‘they can’ rather than ‘they cannot’. A negative thinking about their self-worth is very dangerous and detrimental to the child's level of confidence and self-esteem which can potentially harm them for life.
By the time children move up to K2 and have become more proficient in their reading and writing, teachers can then start to give them easy words to spell weekly, e.g., simple sight words like 'the', 'a' and three-letter phonetic words. As they progress into the year, teachers can up the spelling challenge by giving additional whole sentence dictations.
As a concerned parent, you may want to speak to your child's teacher about the rationale for and the need to spell conventionally at five years of age.
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