- My spelling at six.
- Sitton High frequency word list.
- 102 Frequently misspelled words list.
- Rhythm – a trick.
- Post its and visual memory.
- Why is there a b in Doubt? Tedtalk, recommended watching.
- A little spelling quiz.
- The answers to last week’s quiz.
My Spelling at six
When I was learning to write in school when I was five or six, a teacher ridiculed me and made the whole class laugh at me. We had been told to write a description of ourselves, then the teacher read them out and our classmates had to guess who had written it. The teacher read out my description – first how I had obviously wanted to write it and then once everyone knew it was mine (I was the only girl with red hair in the class), she read it out pronouncing my spelling mistakes and words I had written with mistakes, even using dramatic pauses to make the other children laugh. Even now, many years later I can close my eyes and see her doing it and remember feeling humiliated at 6 for poor spelling, and I can still see my paper with her red ink corrections on my description in my mind.
I had tried to write: I am a girl with long red hair. I am small…
What I spelt was: I am a gril with long red har. I am smell…
I don’t think Mrs Berry’s strategy of publicly shaming small kids helped me. As you may have guessed this is an unpleasant memory for me. I have always found spelling hard. The experience made me think I would never be able to spell as well as my peers (classmates, workmates). And have studied hard to overcome this. I continue working at it and usually have a dictionary with me when I write, just in case.
Here is the truth – English spelling is difficult.
Here are a few of my personal tips to help improve your spelling.
Sitton high frequency word list
This list has the most frequently used words in English. It is an American list, so occasionally you will see little differences between U.K. and U.S.A spellings. You can download it and print it out or keep it in your computer as a great reference and guide to which words to learn. Some of the words are very easy to spell but as your progress through the 6 page list you will find interesting ones.
102 Frequently misspelled words
I really recommend saving this great list from http://www.spelling-words-well.com
Again I must mention that this list is from an American web page so little differences with the U.K. spelling may be there. Most teachers of English will accept the U.K. spelling and U.S.A versions of words, thank goodness!
Save it in your computer or print it out as an essential spelling guide!
Rhythm, making a phrase with the word letters
When you find a word hard to spell, even after you have looked it up in the dictionary various time – try this method.
Take the correctly spelt word eg. Rhythm
Make a phrase using words which start with the letters in order
eg. Rhythm Helps Your Two Hips Move.
Learn the phrase and stop having problems with that word.
Have a look at my Rhythm video!
Post its and visual memory
When you find the correct spelling of words which are difficult for you, make a record of them. I find post it sticky notes useful for putting a word somewhere I often see it, like on the computer, fridge or as a bookmark. When I’ve had it in a visible place for a week I test myself on it. If I have learnt it then I put it on my “Difficult to spell words List”, if I haven’t learnt how to spell it after the week I try to write it in colours and in a way that connects to the meaning of the word with a drawing and put that somewhere I will see it often. Visual memory really helps me personally.
If you don’t have a visual memory, try recording the word onto your mobile phone. Say the word and then the spelling, even add a melody/music to the letters to make it memorable!
I think the number one way to improve your general spelling is by reading in English. You learn the words in context and your eyes see how the spelling looks. Have you ever felt that a word you have just written doesn’t look right? That is from you having seen it correctly many times – in class, on the computer or reading. You can read books, magazines, online articles – whatever you like, but in English!
Why is there a B in doubt?
Watch this short interesting video from Tedtalks by Gina Cooke to find out. There are subtitles available in various languages.
A little spelling quiz
I’ll put the answers in next week’s article. Subscribe so you don’t miss it! Or use your dictionary to check your own answers!
The answers to last weeks Tricky word quiz
Click here to go to last week’s article “Why are these 8 words tricky?
I hope my spelling tips will be useful for you!
Have a great week!