File Folder Spelling

My nine year old dyslexic son has been making great strides in his spelling.  I like to use hands-on, kinesthetic methods as he works to learn his spelling words.  One of his favorite activities is File Folder Spelling.

He is given a stack of different colored alphabets, a file folder, his spelling list and some thumbnail pictures printed from a clipart program or *Google Images (one per spelling word).

First, he cuts out the letters he needs to spell the first word on the list.  Next, he glues them down.  He then finds the appropriate picture that goes with the spelling word, and he glues the picture down beside the spelled word.  This helps him to visualize both the spelling of the word and its meaning, which is very helpful for him.  Last, he writes the word out in his own hand.

You’ll notice that the last word on this list is “the”.  Words like these are the most difficult for children with dyslexia, who think in pictures.  This word no longer gives him trouble in reading or spelling, and I truly think it is because of exercises like this one, which help him to visualize a definition for this little word.  For this file folder, he had a picture of a group of stick people, and he circled one of them to represent “the”.

*I always search for images myself.  It is incredible what a benign search of google images can pull up, so you would NEVER want to allow a child to search for images himself, even when your computer is set to “safe search”.


  1. What an incredible and fun idea for spelling!!
    I just recently found your blog and I think it is really great. I decided to become a follower and I wanted to leave a comment first.
    Congratulations on your HSBA Nominations-they were very well deserved.

  2. What a fun idea! Would you be interested in submitting this article to the Classical Homeschooling Carnival?

  3. I am starting our file folder spelling tomorrow, combined with the clay spelling. My DD does not have dyslexia but CAPD and visualizing issues. Dawn sent me to your site.

  4. I love this idea. My girls like creative ways to study their spelling words and this definitely fits their criteria! Thanks for the idea!