When you look at your child’s writing, how many spelling mistakes do you see? How often does your child lose points because of spelling errors?

Some people see kids make lots of spelling mistakes and think it’s due to laziness. It rarely is, though. Kids might study hard and still fail spelling tests or write with lots of misspelling. So why does that happen?

Spelling bee title design with schoolchildren jumping on letters, EPS 8 vector silhouettte, no white objects

Read on to learn why some kids have trouble with spelling.

What Trouble With Spelling Looks Like

When kids struggle with spelling, it doesn’t always happen in the same way.

Some kids make mistakes across the board with all kinds of words. Others mainly have trouble with certain types of words. And some make the same mistake over and over, no matter how many times they’ve been corrected and taught the right way to do it.

Keep in mind that early readers and writers aren’t going to have perfect spelling. Kids in kindergarten might spell most words wrong, and that’s OK. Reversing letters, like confusing b and d, is also very common in early readers and writers.

And as late as second grade, you might see schoolwork that has all kinds of creative spelling. Some schools encourage what’s called “kid writing.” They want kids to get comfortable with writing and not worry about spelling rules. Checking in with the teacher is the best way to know if there’s anything to be concerned about.

As kids get older, though, there are some key things to look out for. When kids have trouble with spelling, here are things they may do:

Write slowly

Only write a few words, even when they have more to say

Use the wrong spelling when words sound the same but have different meanings, like sale and sail

Easily forget spelling rules

Mix up the letters in words

Not notice spelling mistakes

Misspell the same words in different ways

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