It’s vital that your child/teen learns the skills needed to find and correct their spelling mistakes. I recommend this a lot in my dyslexia reports. But finding our mistakes tends to damage our self-esteem.
One simple way to take the sting out is just to leave checking their work until the next day. They will come at it fresh and not be so emotionally invested in what they’ve written.
But more fun than checking your own work is checking someone else’s and finding their mistakes. A teenager might like a big red pen and some highlighters to help them highlight your mistakes in glorious technicolour. Or their school might use pink/green pens (tickled pink and growing green / pink for think and green for go). Stickers or stampers might also add amusement for younger kids.
Here are some ideas to make proofreading more fun:
1) Write your child/teenager a sentence to check and correct, every day. Look through their old books and try to make sure your mistakes mirror their own.
For it to feel like more of a game, you might leave them on a board in the kitchen for them to do over breakfast, hide them under your child’s pillow, in their shoe or in their breakfast cereal, leave them as secret messages in invisible ink, bury them in a sandpit or make a treasure hunt.
2. Offer to help speed up their writing homework, in return for them spending the time finding and correcting your spelling mistakes instead. This works particularly well with homework which is too hard, dull or pointless. You might want to get them to dictate it to you or you might just choose to do the homework yourself. Then, crucially, try to replicate their spelling mistakes (and/or punctuation) and hand it over. Just remember to give school the corrected version!
3. Copy a passage from a website about their favourite topic (then replicate their spelling errors). Turn it into a challenge with something like the following:
How many mistakes did you find?
1-5 = good
6-10 = great
11-15 = amazing
16+ = genius!