No strangers to competition, David and Candice Warner insist not everything comes easy. Throwing their star power behind the Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee, the Australian cricketer and his former ironwoman (and SAS Australia fan favourite) wife admit spelling remains a challenging but rewarding test.
Busy raising three young daughters — Ivy, 6, Indi, 5, and Isla, 20 months — Candice said she “really struggled” with spelling growing up, which is why she is so passionate about her girls gaining a good grasp of it now.
“I struggled with sounding out my letters and because of that, then struggled to read. That’s why I’m really on to the girls about learning their words and then being able to write them,” she said.
“I lacked confidence when I went into high school with English … so if the girls have a good understanding and they can spell, I think it sets them up for life.”
The super fit mum approaches spelling like any other training program: by breaking it down into small, measurable goals.
“If they can sound letters out, then they can sound their words out, then they can write,” she said.
“Obviously the kids learn a lot at school, but it’s very important when they come home that it’s not just all about sitting on their devices.
“They’ve got their school readers, they go to the library, they’re surrounded by books and there’s sight words and letters. It’s very important as a parent to encourage your kids and try to lead by example.”
Keeping spelling fun is one of their main priorities for the kids. During News Corp Australia’s visit, Ivy and Indi were busting to write down words to quiz their parents and the whole family was tickled to find “howzat” officially recognised in the Macquarie Dictionary.
“If you can spell, it just gives you the confidence as a child to be able to write stories and express (yourself) and be creative, so the girls love to write,” Candice said.
With Indi joining big sister Ivy at primary school this year, their mum said each now has her own little desk full of pencils and paper to encourage those efforts.
“Obviously we’re very sporty and people just assume that sport is the most important thing in our life, but … for us, education and giving them the tools and confidence to learn to read and write is the most important thing,” she said.
The Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee is a free online competition open to students from Year 3 to Year 8. Schools can register at kidsnews.com.au