Spelling Curriculum for Struggling Learners

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Every child learns at their own pace, and every child struggles at first to learn spelling. Most students recover after a short period but some fail to do so.

There is no single solution to solve everyone’s difficulty but there are some widely-acknowledged spelling curriculums that can help a struggling learner with spelling words. The curriculums are useful both for classes and home-schooling.

There are also online spelling curriculum that includes many fun activities and pictures to make kids more interested.

Why Do We Need Spelling Curriculum?

Can we spell every word we read?

Probably not!

Everyone can read more than they can spell, especially complex words. Also, don’t we have spell checks these days? Then why bother teaching it, especially the ones with difficulties?

Well, spell checkers can help the users of digital platforms, but how can they be useful for kindergarten kids?

The learners that are struggling at the beginning with pencil and paper, need a proper way to learn spelling; a logical, organized process that will involve not only their spelling memory but other skills too.

And that is where the spelling curriculums come.

So, what are the benefits of spelling curriculums?

Here are some:

  • It helps them to see patterns of word making, the letter combinations which aids in learning new words. The students learn about phonograms and rules which enables them to spell a word by hearing.
  • It helps with pronunciation. The children learn to identify different sounds in a word and their spellings. Which, in the next stage, helps them to pronounce an unknown word correctly by looking at the spelling only.
  • They also learn about prefixes and suffixes which help them guess a possible meaning of an unknown word.
  • It’s a proven fact that spelling improves people’s reading ability too. Kids with a learning disorder read more effortlessly if the words are familiar to them. And with the skills learned from the curriculum, they can find patterns in unknown words that’ll make the words look familiar to them.

How To Help Struggling Spellers with Spelling Curriculum?

Hands-on Training

Forget traditional worksheets and a list of words that need to be learned by the next class. Study words, find the similarity and dissimilarities and categorize them.

Rather than telling the children to memorize the words, show them these characteristics.

This will make them see the words from a different angle. They’ll use their analytical abilities along with spelling memory.


Phonograms are a unique way to learn words. Before going to word level, teach them about the phonograms and the spellings. It will help them see the chunks in a word and the spelling will be easier for them.

Speak each phonogram loudly and ask them to speak it after.

This way, the students will be familiar with the sounds first and will be able to distinguish between different sounds.

Spelling rules

Spelling rules are more helpful than visual memorization. They can help to identify similar words and syllables to memorize them faster.

Teach your kid the basic spelling rules, make sure to organize the rules in a logical order to ease the process.

Syllable Spelling

Teach your child to break down the words by syllables. Say the word and ask them how many syllables there are.

Ask them to speak each syllable and its spelling loudly.

You can also ask them to spell the syllables first and then build a word with them.

Take care of the tricky part

Find out which part of a part they find hard to spell. Write that word and mark that part with a different color. This will help them to memorize it visually. Color each syllable different and build a rainbow.

Suffix and Prefix

Explore how many words have the same prefix and suffix. Color those chunks with a similar one. This will help your child recognize the patterns.

Customized Lesson Plan

Rather than lessons based on grades, focus on your kids’ level of development. Your child might be in 3rd grade but he is likely to struggle if you teach him a traditional curriculum for all 3rd graders.

Instead, teach him what he can process and then try to improve their skill. It can be frustrating to teach a struggling learner but with proper care, they can make up for their lacking faster.


While you’re reading this one, you might be interested in checking some spelling strategies for struggling students.

Underline words

For a struggling speller, the independent writing time might be an absolute nightmare. An easy trick to help them is underlining words. Ask them to underline each word they write, each syllable differently. This will improve their visual memory as well as their spelling memory.

How to Teach Dyslexic Children Spelling?

A person with dyslexia finds it hard to break words into smaller parts to spell them. They also struggle to hear the phonemes in the words. Systematic support might help them learn to read, but spelling remains a life-long problem.

There are some instructions that will help the students learn spelling faster. You should include a variety of activities to make them properly engaged with the learning. You could also try learning spelling using different fun activities you can apply in your classroom.

Direct Learning

Homework has little to no use for dyslexic students. You should teach every rule and idea clearly and repeat it a couple of times to make sure they understood it properly. Make them write every word in class first. If you want to give homework, tell them to write the words they already learned so they can practice them several times.

Read More:

Dealing with Dyslexia: The Ultimate Guide for the Parents

Dyscalculia: Does Your Child Have Trouble with Numbers?

Dysgraphia: When Writing Seems Impossible!

Developmental Coordination Disorder: Not Just regular Clumsiness

Multi-sensory Learning

Dyslexic students suffer from short-term memory weakness; so they’ll have difficulty with memorizing the rules. Your teaching process should involve learning using different senses.

Make them speak the spelling out loud, trace the words with a finger or paint the words with different colors. This way, a greater area of the brain is used and words can be learned faster.

Use letter shapes or blocks to teach a letter. Mix them up and tell them to build a word. This way, they are using multiple senses and memory at the same time.

Spell by Color is a spelling curriculum for struggling spellers that uses color-coding to help the students learn words faster. It lets you go at your own pace to ensure the child isn’t overwhelmed.

Flexible Learning

You should be careful not to teach much. Observe how much the child is able to process in one session and plan your lessons accordingly. After explaining a new word, give them plenty of time for practice. Always keep some extra slots in case you need to divide a session.

Teaching for Neurodiversity is a series of videos made by the British Dyslexia Association that supports teaching dyslexic children at home.

Practice and Practice

No matter what process we follow, the kid will still need lots of practice. It will be a lengthy process and your kid needs to overlearn the words. Tell them to write the words they have learned before again and again.  Reviewing the words regularly will ensure proper memorization.

Use SpellQuiz Spelling Quiz program to assess your kid’s spelling skills. The test is divided into grades from 1 to 12 and above; you can try whichever suits them the most.

Also remember, personalized learning might be the best option for struggling students.


Check out this guide on the list of mnemonics. This will surely help you with struggling learners.

Spelling Curriculums for Struggling Spellers

If your child has a problem learning spelling, you will probably look for a spelling curriculum suitable for homeschooling. There are a number of spelling curriculums that can be taught online and has a flexible curriculum to accommodate each student’s need.

You can follow SpellQuiz’s 108 Best Homeschooling Resources Online. This guide comes with a massive collection of homeschooling resources.

Here are some:

Barton Reading and Spelling System

Barton Reading and Spelling System is a well-known teaching program for students with a learning disability. This is an amazing spelling curriculum for dyslexia, where from children to adults, anyone with the difficulty of learning can be benefited from its wide range of programs.

Add phonetic spelling alphabet to your spelling curriculum now. Read more from our blog.

Sequential Spelling

This is an example-based curriculum that involves a lot of practice and keeps track of your progress. It also involves different methods of learning according to each individual’s needs and abilities.

All about spelling

All about spelling is a spelling curriculum that doesn’t focus on what a student learns at a level, rather what a student of that level should know. A 5th grader might yet have to master short-vowel and the curriculum covers that. It is an ‘Open and Go’ program that hardly requires a teacher beforehand.

Gemm Learning

Gemm Learning has a special spelling curriculum for dyslexia that gives students a clear idea about phonics, spelling rules, and exceptions. They first focus on phonological awareness first before going to spelling rules. It offers students the skill to recognize spelling patterns as they read or listen.

Adaptive Learning from SpellQuiz

Finally, you can always try going for SpellQuiz’s Adaptive Learning program. Here, students can learn and practice spelling at their own pace. As they can practice without feeling any kind of pressure, struggling kids can learn spelling better.

Final Thoughts

For years, learning spelling only involved memorization of words from a list. But this process can be fun too. Modern spelling curriculums include engaging activities for kids and involve analyzing words.

If you are looking for a curriculum for your little learner, make sure that it gives you the opportunity to learn without pressurizing the kid. You can always customize lesson plans and add activities that suit your child the best.

It can be tiring, no doubt, but so much can be accomplished from this process that’ll help the student in the future.


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