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Spelling

Spelling

Many people think spelling comes naturally to some and not to others. Actually, good spellers aren't born, they're taught. Learning to spell is built on a child's understanding that words are made up of separate speech sounds (phonemes) and that letters represent those sounds. As they get more experience with words, children begin to notice patterns in the way letters are used as well as recurring sequences of letters that form syllables, word endings, word roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

Nearly 90 percent of English words can be spelled if you know the basic patterns, principles, and rules of spelling. Students can use these rules as an aid to spelling unknown words. If a child can spell a word, he or she can usually read the word. Good spellers end up as better readers and writers.

To help build spelling skills at home, see our Top Spelling Apps >

Featured Video: Spelling

For Teachers

Many young readers are puzzled by the rules and exceptions of spelling. Research shows that learning to spell and learning to read rely on much of the same underlying knowledge. Learn more about the relationships between letters and sounds and how a proper understanding of spelling mechanics can lead to improved reading.
Phonological awareness is critical for learning to read any alphabetic writing system. And research shows that difficulty with phoneme awareness and other phonological skills is a predictor of poor reading and spelling development.
Spelling is a challenge for people with dyslexia. The International Dyslexia Association provides a fact sheet explaining why people with dyslexia have trouble spelling, how to find out the reasons a particular child has this difficulty, and how to help children with dyslexia spell better.
This list was created to help teachers know which spelling words should be taught to kids in grades 1–5. The list contains 850 words that account for 80 percent of the words children use in their writing — the ones they need to be able to spell correctly.
Spelling difficulties can be enduring in individuals with reading disabilities, sometimes even after reading has been successfully remediated. Addressing spelling difficulties is important, because poor spelling can hamper writing and can convey a negative impression even when the content of the writing is excellent.
This article describes nine tips for implementing a word study program in the K-2 classroom. These tips are based on the results of four classroom-based qualitative research projects collaboratively conducted by a university professor and four primary grade teacher-researchers. The article suggests that through small-group word study instruction and hands-on word work activities, teachers can keep students motivated and engaged in learning about the English spelling system.
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