My younger son has only been to Germany once, and while I had him attend Kindergarten there for two months and he was once able to speak simple sentences it is all but gone now that he’s eight years old. It is quite a challenge to have him remember even the simplest words, so I found a new way to spark his interest.

He loves solving puzzles and riddles and with increasing age he becomes more competitive, so putting him up to a few quiz challenges really catches his attention. So I would draw a few pictures and write the according words in random order next to them. Then I have him draw lines from the pictures to the correct words.

When he has remembered enough words, it’s time to make sure he know how to spell them (active vs. passive vocabulary, reading vs. writing). First I would write the words with missing letters next to the pictures, and he would have to fill in the gaps.

Once he is able to do that well enough I would only put placeholders for each letter of the word, but no hint apart from the image. That’s quite a challenge and he’s still struggling with some rules. But at least German spelling is way more logical than the utter mess that English is. That’s why we usually don’t have spelling contests in school, it’s just no contest. Maybe we should have grammar contests, but that’s another exercise for another day…