9 Tips to Teach Spelling - A Guide for Teachers

9 Tips to Teach Spelling - A Guide for Teachers

  • Arya Vishwaroop
    Arya Vishwaroop

Spelling is the process of breaking up a given word into its constituent letters. For a long time, spelling has been considered an integral part of the process of learning the English Language. However, it begs the question - why? Why is it so?

Importance of Spelling in Everyday Language

Spelling is important in the English language for the following three reasons:

  • Seamless Communication - Spelling is a critical component of communication
  • Literacy - Both reading and spelling skills are closely related and help develop overall literacy
  • Employment -  Spelling quality has a direct impact on employment opportunities

Even though autocorrect and spelling software has made our lives easier, the importance of spelling has not reduced at all - in fact, it has actually increased.  Here are some of the things poor spelling can interfere with:

The Basic Ability to Communicate

Almost 85% of people around the world are connected online today and receive emails. Almost 62% of them communicate via social media.. As education is becoming increasingly online, the emphasis on spelling is only increasing per day.

Improved Employment Opportunities

Online job hunting and posting is growing at an exponential rate. The first impression most employees will have of their potential employees is their resume or CV. Even if the interviewer is lenient with a spelling error, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that scan applications for keywords do not. Employers today are taking it a step further and increasingly surveying applicants’ personal social media. So to help students get used to it, they need to be started off at a young age.

Perceived Trustworthiness

Typos are hardly ever tolerated. When it comes to printed materials, it makes it look unprofessional and cheap, while in the online sphere, it is seen as a sign of a phishing or scamming attempt.

9 Ways Teachers Can Help Students Improve Their Spelling

To get students used to using the right spelling in sentence formation, teachers can help out in multiple ways. Given below are a few methods:

Make Them Learn the Creative Way

Have students cut out letters from newspapers and magazines and make them create a ransom note style visual collage of words. Learners may even create posters that contain different illustrations of the words present on their list. The greater the cognitive attention given to the task and the more fun they are having, the more likely the spelling of a word will be remembered.

Have a Spelling Test Contest

Conduct a spelling test in the class now and again and have a small prize for the students who get the most correct answers. This way, because of the competition, the students will feel compelled to get all of the words right, which will in turn, benefit the entire class.

Encourage Reading

The more learners visually see a word being spelled correctly, the easier it is for them to transfer that knowledge of form into their long-term memory. Find stories that contain repeat examples of the words on your spelling list. You might even write up a worksheet and have kids underline or star the terms they recognize.

Suggested Read - Benefits of Reading Books - A Guide for Teachers

Spell the Word Out Loud

Make students say the words out loud and if that isn’t enough, make them spell them out loud too. The act of making them read aloud helps them internalize the correct order of the letters using both their ears as well as eyes. This is also a good strategy for children who struggle with conditions such as dysgraphia.

Suggested Read - 7 Tips to Help Students With Dysgraphia

Play Games to Practice

Crossword puzzles and spelling worksheets are great tools for homework or quiet activities but getting the entire class involved in games like hangman is even better. Students will be motivated to spell the word correctly because they are offered the incentive to win. Such activities will give them a chance to also evaluate their fellow students’ responses and correct any words they may have misspelled.

Typing

A great idea to practice spelling is via a typing course. Students can spell words through typing over and over till they learn which keys represent what letters, as well as how to reach for them in sequence. Typing offers students a chance to revise words they have already learned in addition to learning the spelling of new words. They do this with the help of muscle memory in the fingers.

Use Mnemonics Where Possible

Some words that are hard to spell can be made easier for students if they make use of a mnemonic device for remembering the spelling. This may be something as simple as a rhyme or jingle or going to lengths to inventing an anecdote where the characters of the story stand for the letters in the word. A student may also use images that correspond to letters to help them remember the spelling better and for a longer period of time.

Knowing How to Recognize Dyslexia

It is vital to identify students with learning difficulties early on sp that they can be prevented from falling behind his or her peers. The teachers may also help them their full potential in the classroom. Dyslexic students may reverse letters when writing by hand, or spell a word correctly one day and incorrectly the next.

Students Who Struggle With Spelling

Some students who struggle with spelling might not suffer from any learning disorder at all, they just might need other methods of learning. One of the ways could be using a typing course to improve their skills and gain more self-confidence and motivation. This is because students can practice their typing skills both within and outside the classroom. Furthermore, typing is often seen as a computer skill, and working on that seems like a less embarassing than requiring extra help for spelling.

Conclusion

Teachers play a significant role in a student’s life, and even more so when it comes to things as important as spelling. Teachers can help them take their spelling game up a few notches and significantly improve their overall control over the language.