There’s no shame in not knowing the meaning of a word. There’s also no shame in not knowing if a word is spelled correctly or not. When you come across a word that you don’t know, take a moment to look it up!
The process of taking the time to investigate a word and teach yourself its’ usages and variations helps you to become more familiar with its sounds, patterns, and usages. Taking those extra few moments can make the difference in whether you remember how to spell it correctly or not.
Online dictionaries help poor spellers overcome the “how can I look it up if I can’t spell it?” problem by offering spelling suggestions and alternative spellings to make finding the correct definition that much easier.
The more familiar that you are with a word and the more that you use a word, the easier that word becomes part of your vocabulary and the easier it will be to spell that word.
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Pick Up a Book
Reading mass quantities is one of the best-known ways to both expand your vocabulary and learn how to use words correctly. The more that you are exposed to words being spelled and used correctly, the greater the chance that you will actually spell and use those words correctly.
That’s because spelling and reading both use the same underlying knowledge about sound patterns and how letters work [PDF] by themselves and in relation to other letters.
Go back and read spelling tip one.
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Spelling Tip of the Day
Last time, we looked at WHY English spelling is so difficult.
You can tell simply by the numerous commonly misspelled word lists out there that whether you are five or twenty-five, if you have spelling issues then you are not alone. But what can you do to IMPROVE spelling abilities?
Oxford Learning has put together a series set of Spelling Tips to help spellers of all ages to improve their spelling. Check back often to find an “improve-your spelling” tip that works for you. Or, and add your own tip in the comments—we’d love to hear from you!
Tip One: Create Spelling Tricks that Work For You.
There is no point memorizing formal spelling rules (even if they are cute rhymes) if they don’t make sense or if you can’t remember them.
Create your own rhymes, tips, and strategies and you’ll remember them always. The old stand-by “I before E except after C” is only helpful if you can also remember all the exceptions to the rule. A friend uses this modified version that is much more to the point: “I before E doesn’t work for me!”
Come up with your own strategies to remember correct spellings and you’ll have an arsenal of tools that work for you!
EG: DESSERT vs. DESERT. You can remember this one by thinking that you always want more dessert… there are more of the letter S in dessert, so dessert with double S is the treat after a meal!
There are many more unique spelling tricks out there. Check out these examples from Lifehack.org (Just scroll towards the bottom) Even little ones can come up with their own tips to spell words. Got a trick that works? Stick to it!
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* Note that there are deliberate spelling errors in this post
In the previous post we looked at problems with punctuation and how punctuation can make or brake a sentence.
The same can bee said for spelling. Spelling is a major stumbling point for students if all ages. But why is that?
For starters, English is a notoriously difficult language to learn, even for native speakers. While English usage has adapted to meet the needs of a modern society, English spelling is still rooted in antiquated language forms, so the weigh a word is pronounced isn’t necessarily reflected in the way that it is spelled, which creates unique spelling challenges for students.
But is correct spelling even that important? After all, spell-check programs abound, and online dictionaries our available at the click of a mouse.
Correct spelling might not even be that big of a deal considering that a study by English researchers found that letter order in spelling is not really that important. As long as the first and last letters are in the right place, the eye can unscramble the letters sew that the sentence can be understood.
Even with the abundance of spell-checkers and the eye’s ability to unscramble letters, spelling still poses a problem.
Teachers in England say that bad spelling occurs so frequently among first year university students that they are considering adopting a system where misspelled words are labeled as variant not wrong.
Digital communication is slowly replacing other forms of communications. We email and text message more than ever before. So, it should be know surprise that since children are the biggest users of online technology and since they communicate fluently in digital language, that they are the ones who have the most challenges using standard forms of English.
If online communication is the way of the future, and our eye can fix misspelled words, and there are programs to spell for us, why do we place such an emphasis on correct spelling?
For one thing, spell-check is never 100% reliable. There are no less than five mistakes in this post that spell-check did not catch.
As of this moment, technology isn’t everywhere. Students still need to have decent spelling skills to right exams or fill out job applications. Like it or not, people will make decisions about your intelligence based on how well you can spell.
In the classroom, poor spelling can ruin a well thought-out paragraph, causing the reader to fumble, halt, backtrack, and re-read, which can diminish from the overall meaning of the sentence. This is, of course, especially troublesome for students when that reader happens to be their teacher.
Until the time that spelling variants are accepted and online acronyms are accepted in more formal situations, students need to use whatever tools they can to help them remember how to spell words correctly.
We’ll look at some tips next time.
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