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Written by:  Peggy Gisler & Marge Eberts from Dear Teacher
Date: June 1, 2010

Q. Next year my daughter will be going into second grade. She is a poor speller. What words should she have learned to spell in first grade? I want to help her learn these words this summer. — Want to Help

A. We have a list of words that your daughter should have learned to spell in first grade that is based on the research of Steven Graham, Karen R. Harris and Connie Loynachan. The idea behind their research is to help educators know which words should be taught to children in first through fifth grades. The list contains 850 words that account for 80 percent of the words children use in their writing. Readers can find the complete list of spelling words for grades 1-5 online at www.readingrockets.org/article/22366. The words marked with an asterisk are the ones that cause trouble.

The words for first grade are below, arranged in alphabetical order. When your daughter masters this list, you can go online and get the list for second grade.

dad, day*, did, do, dog*, fat, for, fun*, get*, go, good*, got*, had*, hat, he*, hen, here, him*, his*, home*, hot, I*, if, in*, into*, is, it*, its*, let, like*, look, man, may, me*, mom, my*, no*, not, of, oh, old, on*, one*, out*, pan, pet, pig, play*, ran, rat, red, ride, run, sat, see, she, sit, six, so, stop, sun, ten, the*, this, to*, top, toy, two*, up, us, was*, we*, will*, yes, you*

Because it's summer, make learning these spelling words fun. Don't just drill her; use them in simple games. For example, select five words such as go, dog, not, hat and like. Then read together Go, Dog. Go! with her reading these words. Or you can make single or double cards for each word and use a few at a time to play your version of Old Maid or Memory. Also, you can use Scrabble or Bananagram letters to have her spell some of the words. And for older children mastering more advanced words, add Hangman to these games.

Parents can send questions to dearteacher@dearteacher.com or ask them on the columnists' website at www.dearteacher.com.



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