Teaching Spelling in 8th Grade

Updated March 27, 2020
Teaching Spelling in 8th Grade
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Although spelling words are stressed more heavily in the lower elementary grades, eighth grade students are still expected to be developing their spelling skills, and the eighth grade spelling list is no joke. Students should be proficiently using about 15,000 words at this point, so adding fuel to that fire might seem a little like stoking a raging inferno, but it's important to keep young minds lit.

A key component of the eighth grade spelling curriculum is teaching students to apply what they already know. They know standard English conventions; now all they have to do is determine the correct spelling of unfamiliar words with those conventions.

For example, a student in the eighth grade should understand that if a suffix starts with a vowel, such as "-ing" or "-ed," and a root word ends in a single vowel and consonant, the final letter of the root word will be doubled. An eighth-grader knows that stop becomes stopping and drop becomes dropped.

Other concepts commonly incorporated into the eighth grade curriculum include:

  • Prefixes
  • Compound words
  • Irregular spellings
  • Correct use of the apostrophe
  • "-tion" and "-ion"
  • Silent "e" words
  • Words with ch sounds
  • Spelling the sounds of "wh" and "ch"
  • Consonant digraphs with "f" and "ph"

A Spelling List for Eighth Grade Students

Since eighth grade spelling lists can vary by school, the best way to help your child improve his or her spelling skills is to ask the language arts teacher for word recommendations.

If you're looking to get a jump on the school year, though, or if you're teaching your own eighth-grader, check out the spelling words which are included on the YourDictionary Sight Words - 8th Grade word list.

Practicing Spelling Words

High school is barreling down on eighth-graders just as the thrill of being upper classmen begins to burn in their hearts. It's an exciting and formidable time. Getting students interested in spelling has never been more challenging; creativity is key.

Some students find it useful to write short stories using all of their spelling words, an activity that might prepare them for the coming composition courses.

New takes on rote learning might come in handy, too. Encourage students to:

  • Write new words three times with their left hands.
  • Record themselves spelling new words into their computer.
  • Write out their spelling list with a wood-burning iron on a pine panel.
  • Spell words backwards or sing songs or write poems with their new words.

The main thing is to make something that seems old hat to them new and stimulating. Do whatever works!

For more suggestions on fun ways to help your eighth-grader practice his or her spelling words, check out the YourDictionary articles on Spelling Activities and Spelling Enrichment Lessons.