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Lesson Plan

Spelling Cheerleading: Integrating Movement and Spelling Generalizations

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Spelling Cheerleading: Integrating Movement and Spelling Generalizations

Grades K – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 30-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Sarah Dennis-Shaw

Avon, Massachusetts


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



What are the rules for adding suffixes to words ending in y? Students learn the answer to this question in this interactive spelling lesson. This lesson is built on the philosophy that spelling should not be taught in isolation; weekly spelling lists should include either related words or high-frequency words that appear in student writing. Teachers begin with a brainstorming session to generate a list of suffixes and an introduction to "The Y Rule." Using the technique of spelling cheerleading, students integrate visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modalities. Students cheer new words based upon the formation of each letter. Students then apply their knowledge of the spelling generalization by completing a word sort and writing a stapleless book that describes the y generalization.

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screenshot of The Y Rule poster The Y Rule poster: Students can refer to this poster to help them remember the rule for adding suffixes to words ending in y.

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Rogers, L.K. (1999). Spelling cheerleading. The Reading Teacher, 53(2), 110111.

  • Effective spelling instruction is vital for emergent readers and part of the larger instruction in reading and writing.

  • Spelling cheerleading is a whole-group activity that fits comfortably in the creation of a Word Wall or the practice of spelling the words in the weekly spelling list. As an occasional alternative to sitting at their desks, students chant and clap the new words.

  • Students position their hands and arms straight above their heads for letters touching the headline, place their hands on their hips for letters touching the midline, and touch their hands to the floor for letters that stretch below the baseline.

  • Spelling cheerleading integrates visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modalities that aid in retention and understanding, especially for struggling readers and writers.

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