There are several important spelling milestones that a 5-6 year old child will experience on their journey to mastering spelling. Your 5-6 year old child will develop at his own individual rate. Some children will easily develop these skills while other children will need alot of help and encouragement.These are the common milestones you will notice your child reaching:
A 5-6 year old will develop phonetic awareness
Phonetic awareness is defined as being able to hear individual sounds within words. This skill is needed for spelling development as listening skills develop before being able to write tasks.
A 5-6 year old will learn about the relationship between letters and sound
Phonics involves knowing which sound matches which letters as well as knowing that single sounds when combined create different sounds. This awareness is just developing as children begin to learn the alphabet.
A 5-6 year old will learn that language is broken into words
It’s hard for adults to understand how important this is for children. Most children before the age of 5 don’t realise that there are different words separated by spaces and that these words on a page are made up of different letters. At this age your child will be tracing and copying letters and this will help consolidate visual memory skills in young children.
5-6 year olds are phonetic spellers
Phonetic spelling is when words are spelled exactly as they sound, for example spelling 'love' as 'luv'. Rather than worrying about your child’s misspellings you should be thrilled that your little one is displaying the development of phonemic awareness.
5-6 year olds use invented spelling
Children at this age will also begin to invent new words as their confidence and pride in their writing ability grows. You should encourage these inventions as they indicate your child’s awareness and understanding of phonics.
5-6 year olds often leave out vowels
Spelling dog as ‘dg’ or house as ‘hse’ is actually another milestone. Consonant sounds in the first and last position of a word are easier for children to hear. Vowel sounds are more of a challenge that our child may not conquer for another while.
5-6 year olds will learn to spell their name
At this age your child will be amazed by names and personal differences. Children will learn to recognise the letters in their name and through repetition will learn to spell their name. If they have a lot of vowels in their name they may reach this milestone later than others.
5-6 year olds will use environmental print to assist their spelling
At this age your child’s spelling and writing skills will be taking off and they will begin searching for their names in their environment. Your child may start picking out letters on cereal boxes, signs and prints that are found in their name.They will also love finding everyday words that they recognise such as days of the week and colours.Words that are commonly spelled at this age are mum, dad, bed, pig, cat, pet, sit.
A 5-6 year old will reverse letters
You may also notice that letter reversals such as confusing ‘b with d’ or ‘q with p’ are common at this age. There is no cause for concern, have them practice tracing words and they will soon get the hang of it.
Read more about spelling milestones for 7-8 year olds here