Spelling is one of those literacy skills that lots of learners find challenging to master. This is particularly true if English is not your first language. And one of the biggest reasons why this is so, is because English is a highly irregular language. It’s borrowed lots of words from other tongues and spelling is done inconsistently. That’s why this article is about how to improve spelling skills.
Learning how to improve spelling skills involve spelling rules like /i/ before /e/ except after /c/. Just like the words ‘receipt’ and ‘receive’. And then of course, there are plenty of exceptions to these rules, like ‘species’ and ‘science’.
However, just because you know a rule doesn’t mean you can always operationalize it in automatic fashion when you should write words accurately and quickly.
Children may feel that poor spelling skills are a weakness, and they’ve had to hide and aren’t willing to put up with it any longer. Spelling isn’t related to intelligence, but if you write and it’s riddled with mistakes, it makes a poor impression. For children, their teachers may have difficulty assessing what they’ve learned.
How to Improve Spelling Skills
It’s difficult to know where to begin when you’re beginning to look for help. For children, part of learning is to make spelling fun and writing interactive. That’s why we’ve put together a couple of lists of practical, fun, and easy tips that will help you get started.
The best part is that you don’t have to sit down and memorize a list of rules! Do these regularly and they can make a difference over an extended period of time.
#1 Drill vocabulary
Create a list of words that are most difficult to spell, and you would most likely encounter. Actively study that list. You can use flashcards, make posters to put up around the house, or even set it as a desktop background.
That way, the words are in constant rotation whenever kids are learning how to read online or using their computers. The more someone sees a word, the easier it is for your brain to call up images that would help with spelling.
#2 Analyzing mistakes
Everyone has a bunch of words that are commonly confused. You can use a notebook or a smartphone to keep a running list of your mistakes. And then, every so often, take time to sit down and copy the correct version that is right next to them.
Take a closer look at each word and see which letters you’ve got wrong. Grab a piece of paper and try to re-encode the correct form of the word by writing it multiple times.
#3 Do tests on yourself
One easy way to test yourself when it comes to spelling is simply fold a piece of paper in half. On one side, copy the correct form of the word that you struggle with. Do one word per line.
Use the other side of the paper to cover the words and then re-write them from memory. Afterward, you can compare the two versions and flag any words that might need more attention.
#4 Try out doing transcriptions
Whenever you hear a word and write it at the same time, you’re actually connecting the sounds with the letters that represent them. In turn, this can strengthen your English encoding and decoding skills.
Aside from enrolling in a great reading program (like the Dicker Reading Method), the practice of touch-typing will help you improve through timed writing tasks for school or work.
#5 Use rhymes and imagery
When there are English words that you can’t master, try out developing a mnemonic. Through it, you can combine rhymes and imagery to help you remember the correct letters and how they’re sequenced. You can also break words into chunks, like Sa-tur-day. Afterward, you’ll find many start and end with recognizable prefixes and suffixes that show up in a lot of English words.
#6 Keep reading
The more you see words in their written form, the better. Because this way, your brain will strengthen its receptive knowledge of them. This makes a lot of words easier to produce and spell correctly.
So just flipping through any reading material, like magazines or books, can be very effective spelling practice. And if you’re an adult, reading content that contains industry specific language is even better.
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