How to Teach a 6th Grader to Spell Words

It is no secret that excellent spellers are not born; they are made. The 6th graders who learn the most effective spelling approaches and apply them in their day-to-day dealings are destined for greatness. If your student has all it takes to master effective spelling strategies, s/he has the aptitude to master grammar altogether.

Four different spelling categories exist, including phonetic, visual, rule-based and morphemic. Any successful learning program incorporates these strategies in helping a learner become a better speller. This article snippet emphasizes on ways to teach your child learn the spelling words for 6th grade.

Phonetic spelling strategy

This is where you spell each sound in a word and request your student(s) to represent those sounds with a letter or letter combination. This spelling strategy teaches learners the basic phonograms along with the basic spelling rules.


Ruled-based spelling strategy

Spelling with phonograms alone is not an efficient approach to help a 6th grader. The rule-based strategy incorporates the generalization of the language and recognition of rules. For instance, if a learner comprehends that the “ch” sound is spelled “tch” whenever it comes after a short vowel, s/he stands a better chance of spelling words like “kitchen” correctly.

Visual spelling strategy

Word banks that emphasize on one single concept, like the “j” sound that is spelled as “dge”, prove handy for learners. It allows them to remember words that relate to that same concept. These strategies often play a vital role when dealing with homophones. Visual spelling strategies can be developed through extensive learning and word games.

Morphemic spelling strategies

This approach relies on the knowledge of how the meaning of a particular word influences the spelling. Programs that teach morphemic spelling strategies may be useful in teaching the Latin and Greek roots. They teach ways of adding suffixes and prefixes to base words, the formation of compound words along with the abbreviations.

Spellers become more competent at using these four spelling strategies as they grow and mature. These seemingly challenging strategies eventually become automatic, making it easier for learners to apply them even on a subconscious level.

Problematic words


There are two types of 6th-grade spelling words that are apparently problematic for students. These include:

  1. Words that can be confused with other words

2. Words with complex vowel spellings.


Consider the following pairs of words;

1. Believe/belief
2. Accept/except
3. Hangar/hanger


The following recommendations prove worthwhile when you want to teach your 6th grader how to spell words:

  • Give your 6th grader a practice question. Spell each word aloud in a sentence and have them write it down.
  • Let them correct the test on their own. This way, they will be able to identify their mistakes and learn from them.
  • Let them close their eyes and then visualize the misspelled word. You will later spell the word out loud for them.