Experiences of an English Language Teacher

Improving Spelling with Elementary Learners

Hello all. It is almost the Lunar New Year, so a huge congratulations to those readers from China and the Far East who will be commencing their celebrations soon. Today, we are looking at how to improve spelling with elementary or low-level learners, particularly if they are from an Arabic background.

It is notoriously difficult to improve or develop an Arabic learners. There are some important things you could consider incorporating in class such as unscrabbling letters to make the words, removing the vowels from words and students have to write them in words and, one of my favourite activities, using Scrabble tiles in class. Watch the video below to see how I use them in class by getting learners to review spelling and vocabulary.

As ever, if there is a video or something that you would like me answer please let me know I shall consider this. Hope this post helps and gives you some ideas on developing spelling with elementary learners.


  1. Hi Martin,
    You’re readers/watchers might also be interested in these posts on my blog, two of which were written by Emina Tuzovic, who is currently doing research into how to help Arabic learners with their spelling, reading and writing: https://sandymillin.wordpress.com/tag/arabic/

    • Jacqueline

      Thank you Sandy (and Martin) for this. I teach Arabic learners and experience the same issues on a daily basis with spelling, reading and writing skills, so any tips from other teachers is most welcome.

  2. Emad Abdelhamid

    I believe that your blog help teachers as you give creative ideas for teaching. I also like this game because it is fun, engaging and it does not need a lot of preparation. Also, it does help learners to improve their spelling and specially those who are Kinesthetic or visual. Young learners and adults like it. In a large classroom, I divide the learners in groups and make a competition between them. Each group has to form the word that I say in as quick as they can. They get a point each time they do it right. To anyone reading, has you ever used this game in your classrooms? any creative ideas?

  3. feghi

    I really like the video, I like the way the students are engaged and the activity is done in a very interesting way to practice spelling and it really inspired my do the same with students, but I have a comment about the first language, why are students using Arabic in the class?

    • Martin Sketchley

      Thanks for your comment and a very good question. The Arabic learners were very low level elementary learners of English and they did have issues regarding spelling and writing. They were negotiating English in their own language but they don’t have the meta-language to support their own task in English. Hence the reason why you may hear a bit more L1 than expected. Hope this answers your query.

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