How to Improve Spelling Skills of Students of All Ages

23 November 2021
SpellQuiz

Are you or your child struggling with English spelling?

Are your students complaining about how confusing the spelling of the words is?

If yes, then you are definitely looking for an effective way to improve your spelling skills, and we’re here to help you.

It is true that English spelling is confusing even for native speakers. Many of the English words are originated from other languages such as Latin, French, Greek, etc. For example, Catalogue,’ which is a French word, or Ketchup’ which is a Chinese word.

Words from a different language are often spelled according to the rules of those languages, which can perplex a speller easily. This article will talk about different activities and methods that will help your student avoid these confusions by improving their spelling skills. It will help you learn how to improve spelling skills in an efficient way.

 

Why Is It Important to Have a Good Spelling Skill?

Is a good spelling skill really necessary? Nowadays, we have online spell checkers; are they not enough? What will be the use of this skill after completing school?

Questions like these are quite common as people often fail to realize the necessity of good command over spelling. Here are some reasons why spelling skill is still an important factor:

1. Spelling skill is connected to reading skill. When students are learning to spell, they also learn a lot about the meaning, origin, synonyms, etc., of the word. Thus, their vocabulary range widens and makes it easy for them to read new stories.


2. Good spelling skill is a must for writers. People often tend to avoid the words they find difficult to spell and use a similar one. This might affect the quality of their writing as, though synonymous, some words fail to express the concept properly as other words.


3. People are now writing more than ever before! Due to the rise of the internet and social media, a big portion of today’s communication depends on non-verbal ways. Think about the emails you receive every day, how many times you update your status on social media or text your friends and family. Though it is possible to use spellcheckers as all of these are done online, there are numerous cases where spellcheckers fail to indicate a mistake or even suggest the wrong spelling.

An Example

For example, the British spell Colour’ and the Americans spell Color.’ If a student is applying to a British University or a candidate is applying to a British company, it is natural that they would write Colour’ not Color.’ But spellcheckers, which most of the time follow the American rule, indicates Colour’ as a spelling mistake which confuses the writer.


Also, think about the writing competitions or tests. Even in online tests, spellcheckers are inactive, so students must depend on their spelling skills. If they spend their valuable time remembering the spelling of a necessary word, how will they complete their test?

4. Spelling mistakes or typos are not tolerated in any formal environment. A recent study on Human Resource Managers shows that around 85% of the employees reject a candidate before interviewing them if any spelling mistake is found in their resume. They say that if a person is not sensible enough to make an application mistake-free, how can they be trusted with serious responsibilities?

Considering the above factor, it is clear that good spelling skill helps a person throughout his life. That is why we should give importance to building our spelling skills.

 

Ways to Improve Spelling Skills

If you are a kindergarten teacher or a parent, you must be wondering how to improve spelling skills of a child and what methods would be appropriate for their age. It is vital to improving the spelling skills of the students from the beginning so that they don’t face any problems in the future while reading long texts.

ESL students also face many difficulties improving their skills and looking for methods to learn to spell faster. Here are some methods that would be appropriate for students of all ages:

 

Mnemonics

Mnemonic is a device for improving memory. It helps us remember information by connecting it with information we already know. This is a great tool to learn to spell faster, especially the irregularly spelled words.

The best thing about mnemonics is that you can build your own mnemonics to remember words. This way, you study and understand the word more, which will help you learn the spelling faster. There are also plenty of mnemonics available on the internet.

Here are some helpful mnemonics devices for developing your spelling skill:

 

Rhymes

Mrs. D, Mrs. I

Mrs. F-F-I

Mrs. C, Mrs. U

Mrs. L-T-Y

If you have watched the movie Matilda’, you must remember this iconic rhyme to remember the spelling of Difficulty’. There is also a similar rhyme for Mississippi’:

Mrs. M, Mrs. I

Mrs. S-S-I

Mrs. S and S-I

Mrs. P-P-I

Rhyming is a great tool to remember complex word spellings. The information is stored by acoustic encoding in the brain, which makes it easier to remember the word.

Not just spelling, you can make a rhyme about spelling rules, patterns, similar words, etc. For example:

Q and U

Stick like a glue

When -ing came to play

E ran away

Or

The cat and the bat

Are friends with a rat

Today they sat

On a yellow mat

You can develop your own rhymes for a word you find hard to remember, or you can search for them online. But remember, making too many rhymes might backfire and confuse you in a time of need.

 

Acronym

What is the meaning of LOL? Or BRB?

We write these words daily when texting. They are called acronyms. And this method can help us a lot to improve our spelling skills. How? Here is the trick:

Take each letter of a word and assign them another word. Now build a sentence with those words. Here is an example:

Ocean: Only Cats’ Eyes Are Narrow

Below are some popular mnemonics for you:

On You Luck Duck (Could, Should, Would)

Silly Aunts In Dresses (Said)

Can’t Open My Eyes (Come)

Laugh And You Get Happy (Laugh) (This is a clever trick to assign the main word to the first letter)

 

There is also another strategy for making a mnemonic. You can use a sentence to explain the difficult part of a word. For example:

An island is land surrounded by water.

See how the word is divided into two words? There are plenty of other sentences like this:

There is always a rat in separate

I saw an ad of a dress at this address

You hear with your ear.

Try this method when you find a certain part of a word confusing. But again, don’t overdo it!

Without proper guideline and practice sessions your spelling might get worse. If you are asking this question - why is my spelling getting worse? Then check out our guide on it now!

 

Spelling Rules

Instead of making a mnemonic for every single word you struggle to remember, try to find patterns among them or research if there is a spelling rule for such words. Of course, there are a plethora of irregularly spelled words, but spelling rules will help you spell thousands of words without even memorizing them, which leaves a lot of time for you to remember the irregular ones.

Start with some basic rules such as

Every syllable has a vowel’,

U always follows Q’,

S never follows X’ etc.

If you are a parent or a teacher, don’t try to teach too many rules at once. Make sure you are giving the kids enough time to understand a rule and give them lots of examples while introducing a new rule.

 

Speak It Out Loud

Using the sound of a word to teach spelling is considered appropriate only for beginner-level students, which is not true at all. Adults also can use this method to differentiate between similar sounding words.

For example, blink’ and blank’ often sound similar, especially to someone whose first language is not English. If you are an ESL student, speak the two words aloud until you catch the difference between them. In addition, it would teach you the proper pronunciation of the word.

 

Misspelled Words

There are several words that are often misspelled even by native speakers. Knowing these words is beneficial for your spelling skills. It is a good strategy to make a list of the words if there is no rule or pattern available for these words and teach them separately. Some commonly misspelled words are:

Beginning, across, believe, interrupt, weird, accommodate, indispensable, mischievous, playwright, omission, etc.

Before teaching, you should divide these words by grades so that students aren’t burdened with words too complicated for their level.

Students should also list down words they struggle to spell and practice them more to master the spelling.

 

Sight word

Sight words are frequently used in our daily life and found in books or other reading materials. They are easy to remember as they are always before our eyes. Students should first start learning spelling with these words to quickly improve their vocabulary before dealing with complex and unseen words.

If you are looking for a list of sight words, SpellQuiz’s Printable Sight Words List is a must for you. SpellQuiz has an enormous collection of vocabulary test and fry sight words divided by grades to improve the spelling skill of your kids. You can print them to use in class and for homeschooling. There are also special sight words lists for Spelling Bee Online Competition to make the preparation easier for your little learner.

SpellQuiz also has the Adaptive Spelling feature that allows the students to advance at their own pace without overwhelming them with tasks. It is beneficial for improving their spelling skill as they can master the words properly before moving to the Spelling Test.

 

The methods mentioned above will teach you lots of new words that will help you later in your life, no matter which profession you choose. Use them to improve your spelling skills and revise the words you have already learned once in a while.

 

Happy spelling!

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