When your child spots a difficult word on their classroom word wall, or if they repeatedly read or spell something wrong, they need a strategy to help remember it.

The word “together” came up today while writing a tweet with my daughter.

She spelled it “tagethr” (great use of phonics). After modifying it on the screen, I showed her a strategy that I use when teaching students: “Look for a word (or words) inside the word.”

“Together” is a perfect example as you can see three words in it: to + get + her.


Since those are words she already knows, an eight-letter word quickly became manageable.

According to the Dolch Word List, the spelling of “together” should be known by Grade 3. At that school age, I would create with students a memorable sentence (a mnemonic), such as, “We need to get her together.”

Use the “word inside the word” strategy with your child whenever you can. It especially helps writers avoid spelling slowdowns so they can continue with a more important task: putting their ideas into sentences.

Written by Peter Cullen

Peter Cullen loves to teach children. He specializes in literacy (elementary level) and has a lot of fun creating games and activities for class lessons. He also writes, manages social media accounts and announces roller derby games.

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