Sunday, 2 September 2007

Spelling Strategies

Spelling matters. Here are four super strategies to help you learn your spellings:

Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check

There are five steps to learning your spellings:
1. Look at the word you’re trying to spell
2. Say it out loud
3. Cover up the word so you can’t see it
4. Write the word yourself
5. Check your attempt – did you get it right?

I’d advise you to look, say, cover, write, check your weekly spelling words – and any words you’ve spelt incorrectly in your work – five times, remembering to ‘look, say and cover’ every time.

A mnemonic is a rhyme, sentence or picture that helps you remember something. Here is one of the most famous spelling mnemonics. In order to remember that the word “cemetery” is spelled with three e's, for example, imagine Rose Tyler screaming 'e-e-e' as a Dalek jumps out at her.

One of the most common mistakes I read is confusing hear/here, as in the sentence ‘I live hear.’ As simple way to remember the difference is to remember ‘You HEAR with your EAR.’

Say ‘Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants’ to help you remember how to spell ‘because’!

Repeating A Rat In The House May Eat The Ice Cream will help you remember how to spell ‘arithmetic’

Use first letter of each word ‘Never Eat Crisps, Eat Salad Sandwiches, And Remain Young’ to spell necessary, as this video will show you:

Try coming up with your own mnemonics to help you with tricky spellings!

Breaking Down a Word
Breaking down long words into their syllables is a great way to remember them. Here is a long word – punctuation. I can break it down into its syllables –

Punc – tu – ation

When I write it, I will say to myself ‘punc...tu...ation’.

Spelling Raps
Another cool strategy is to invent a sentence with another word that contains the same problem letters:

Tell that mosquito to quit biting me

The use of ‘quit’ in the sentence reminds us that there is a ‘quit’ in mosquito

Got the idea? Why not try inventing a rap to help you remember these tricky spellings?

Secret Pronunciations
I remember sitting a spelling test and being really annoyed because I couldn’t for the life of me remember how to spell ‘government.’ The problem with ‘government’ is that we tend to pronounce it ‘goverment’ – missing out the ‘n’.

There are other words which are easier to spell if you say (or pronounce) it incorrectly. We say ‘choclate’. To spell it correctly, try saying ‘choc – o – late’ under your breath!

This is really important for words with 'silent letters' like knife. Try pronouncing it 'k - nife', or write a little song, like this:

What strategies do you use to learn your spellings? Add your ideas by clicking on 'comment' below!


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr H

I happened to notice in your piece about Young Bond, you didn't spell Piccadilly Circus correctly. I am sure this tragic error on your part was because you were tired when posting this news after marking all the homework from the Falcons School - I hope those pupils appreciate all the steps you have taken over summer to stop evolving into the grumpy examiner.

I started my first day at Latymer today and am missing my old school - but I am having fun. Look forward to using Bald Worm when the work starts.

Naomi O

The Fish said...

I tend to just remember spellings. Unfortunately I'm not doing A-level English (I would like to continue it but alas the sciences continue to dominate my future). Also, if you do a lot of writing on the computer, any common errors you make are pointed out to you and your vocabulary quickly both improves and any misconceptions you have about spelling rectified.

Yasmin said...

The comment above, sounds a bit like my older brother, does it not? *wink*