A Visual Learning Strategy for Spelling

Show Me

The idea of "show me and I can learn" speaks of the visual learner. These are students that might find it problematic to read directions, but if a process is demonstrated, they are able to duplicate what was done without a glitch.

Elementary teachers do this regularly, but how does this apply to spelling? How does a student learn how to spell words other than memorizing?

There are several strategies to use when teaching spelling to visual learners. They include connecting to the student’s innate ability to connect with color, shapes, and design. Lesson plans built around these elements will inspire visual learners.

Playing with Color

Visual learners immediately connect to color. They will be able to tell who is color coordinated in their dress, as well as what colors clash. Using color to teach spelling helps students learn.

Depending on the age group and level of learning, begin with easy words. For instance, cat, dog, bird can all be written on flash cards in different colors (i.e., cat in pink, dog in brown, bird in blue). Students are shown the word in color then are asked to close their eyes and visualize the word. They will see it in their minds eye in color. Have them spell the word without opening their eyes. Once they have practiced this for a while, put the cards away. Now ask the students to picture the word in their minds. Ask questions like, what is the last letter of the word dog or how many letters does the word bird have? Then, ask them to spell each word. If they struggle with a word, go back to the card, starting as before.

Students with more developed vocabularies can write multi-syllable words in various colors. Begin with root words in one color, prefixes, and suffixes in other colors.


Reinforce Learning on the Computer

When we use multiple senses, we learn better. Therefore, having students, especially visual learners, utilize the computer in their learning will help them develop their spelling skills.


Give each student a spelling list. Go over each of the words with them. Using computers, (This may be homework if computers are not available in the school.) ask the students to type their spelling list into a word document using a different font for each word. Allow them to use color, also.

They will then use this version of their spelling list to study from for their quiz.


At the end of the week, test the students on their spelling words. Have them go back to their list to revisit words they misspell. Check to make sure they are spelled correctly on their computer-generated list.

Creating Pictures

A fun visual learning strategy for any age group is to have the students create pictures with their words.

First, review the spelling list with the students, going over each word and discussing the meaning.

Next, ask the students create a picture using all the letters in their words. Allow them to use crayons, markers or colored pencils.


Seeing Results

The ability for visual learners to grasp the nuances of spelling increases when a visual learning strategy for spelling is used in the classroom.