Spanish vocabulary spelling activities are important because they not only help students learn to spell, but they also improve their understanding of pronunciation. I like to do activities that specifically focus on spelling in a fun way and that allow me to integrate pronunciation tips at the same time.
Interactive Spanish Vocabulary Spelling Dictation
My students really enjoy this activity. I begin by giving each student a dry erase square and marker. Then, I tell them that we are going to see how well they can spell some of their Spanish vocabulary words. I tell them that this is for fun and practice, and that if they make mistakes, “Who cares!”. It’s just for practice.
I begin by asking them if they want an easy, medium, or hard word. Most students will say “easy”to begin. So, I say the word in Spanish, and they write it. Then, I write it on the board so they can see how they did.
After they check how they did, I ask them in Spanish, “¿Qué tal? (How’d it go?), bien (well), así así (so so), o desastre (disaster)?” They love the “desastre” word, and by using it we keep a good sense of humor and spirit going. They all shout out how they did, and then we do another word. As we continue, they usually ask for harder words.
As we are doing this activity, I interject with pronunciation tips. For example, I remind them that most Spanish words are spelled how they sound with no silent letters. I do point out, though, that the letter “h” is silent at the beginning of a word. I might say, “We don’t say HOLA (pronouncing the “H”) to say ‘hi’. We say HOLA (like ola) with the “H” silent.
Another example is when I remind them of the sounds the vowels make – a (ah), e (eh), i (ee), o (oh), u (oo). We discuss how each Spanish vowel has only one sound. We compare them to English vowels which can have several sounds each, like “a” in apple, ape, Amanda, and so on. And, if I give them a Spanish vocabulary word like, “jardín”, we talk about how “j” sounds like the English letter “h”.
They really enjoy this activity because it is a constant back and forth interaction in a fun way.
Tissue Box Spanish Spelling Activity
This Spanish vocabulary spelling activity can be done by students independently or in a group. If you do it in a group, be sure each student has the materials needed below and modify as needed for a group.
Materials Needed for each student: empty tissue box, paper or index cards, and a pencil
Plan to do this activity over several days as follows:
- Read 5 words aloud. The student writes each word on an index card. Then the student checks each word’s spelling in his/her Spanish book.
- The student puts the correctly spelled words into a spelling champion pile. Champion in Spanish is “campeón” (kahm-peh-own).
- Any misspelled words go into the “practice box”, which is the empty tissue box.
- The next day, read each practice box word to the student.
- The student writes each one on its index card and checks for correctness.
- Any spelled correctly, he puts a check mark next to and puts it back in the box.
- Any spelled incorrectly go back in the box with no check mark.
- That same day, choose more words to try to write correctly, but make sure you’re only working on a total of 5 words per day. So, if the student had 4 words in his practice box, then only choose one new word to try to spell correctly.
- Any new word that gets spelled correctly on the first try goes to the campeón pile.
- Any word misspelled goes to the “practice box”.
Keep doing this each day working on a total of 5 words per day. Once a word in the practice box has 3 checks on it, then it can go into the campeón pile.
Spanish Spelling Bee
Sometimes we have a Spanish Spelling Bee in class. I advise the students and their parents a couple of weeks in advance. Students get a list of the words that will be in the spelling bee so they can prepare.
You can do the bee having students spell aloud with Spanish letters or English letters. If you use Spanish letters, you can provide your students with the Spanish alphabet and each letter’s pronunciation on a help sheet during the bee. If you use English letters, you just need to adapt how they say a couple of the letters. For example, the ñ is an “n” with a squiggly above it, also called a tilde.
I always communicate to everyone that this is for fun. I like all students to feel challenged, yet comfortable and looking forward to it. If there is a student who really does not want to do the spelling bee, then he or she does not have to.
I try to keep all students active during the spelling bee. Those who get “out” can do fun activity sheets, but usually they like to watch the bee. And, every so often, if a word is misspelled, I write it on the board and we all spell it together aloud using Spanish letters.
Get a copy of instructions for the Spanish Spelling Bee HERE.
Spanish Halloween Spelling and Numbers Mini-Lesson
Since Halloween is coming, I thought I would include a free Spanish Halloween Spelling and Numbers Mini-Lesson. You can use this at home or in a classroom. Students will learn Spanish Halloween vocabulary and Spanish numbers 1-18. It’s great to use as review too!
- Download the Spanish Halloween Spelling and Numbers Mini-Lesson HERE.
- Download the Spanish Halloween Spelling and Numbers Mini-Lesson AUDIO HERE.
I hope you have fun doing these Spanish Vocabulary Spelling Activities with your kids or students. I think you will find them not only fun, but also effective!