5 easy tips to become a good speller

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Do you find it hard to spell words correctly?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In an era of auto-correct and spell check, we may have grown complacent about spelling and committing words to memory. However, experts are still debating whether technology is the main cause of the decline of this ability. Some say that spelling skills have been declining even before the 70s. We are just more aware of instances of bad spelling today because of social media. More definitive research needs to be done, but what is certain is that our writing skills are changing.

But why is being able to spell accurately important? It’s crucial because spelling is a fundamental skill. It is the foundation of literacy, and the backbone of successful written communication. Knowing how to spell makes your message precise and easy to understand.

Do you want to improve your spelling skills? Here are a few tips to become a better speller:

  1. Read regularly

    Make reading a habit. Also, make it a point to read diverse materials. Exposure to well-written content in books, articles, and other written forms will expose you to a wide range of words and their correct spellings. Reading regularly helps your brain remember correct spelling patterns which makes it easier to recall words accurately.

  2. Don’t rely entirely on technology

    Spellcheck isn’t foolproof. Make it a habit to carefully proofread your written materials before sending them out into the world. Pay attention to commonly misspelled words (for example, ‘it’s’ and ‘its,’ and ‘your’ and ‘you’re’). It may also help to read your writing aloud to double check homophones and notice other mistakes. Use a dictionary to review words you’re not sure about.

  3. Practice writing

    Write in print or cursive using a pen and paper. Manual writing engages your brain differently than typing. The tactile experience helps you remember words better.

    But whether you decide to write or type, what’s important is to keep practicing. Set aside time each day to write. Jot down your thoughts in a journal, compose emails, or craft short stories. Consistent writing helps reinforce correct spelling patterns.

  4. Quiz yourself and play games

    Introduce an element of fun into your spelling practice. Create a list of challenging words and quiz yourself regularly. The Language Portal of Canada has a variety of quizzes that will not only to improve your spelling but also enhance your writing skills.

    Also try word games like Scrabble, Boggle, and crossword puzzles. These are fun activities to share with a group of friends. If you want to play alone, try Wordle. It’s a fantastic game that challenges you to think about common letter combinations and spelling strategies.

  5. Go back to basics

    Understanding word roots, prefixes, and suffixes can provide clues to the correct spelling of words. Knowing the building blocks of words helps you decipher unfamiliar terms and reduces the likelihood of misspelling. Also, for longer, more complex words, try breaking them into syllables. This will help you simplify the spelling process, allowing you to focus on smaller parts.

    Another tool you can use are mnemonics. These are memory aids that help us remember tricky spellings. An example is “i before e but not after c” (but note that there are exceptions to the rule). Another mnemonic is for remembering the spelling of “n-e-c-e-s-s-a-r-y”. It has “has one collar and two sleeves.” For other useful mnemonics, go to: What are spelling mnemonics? 48 examples, from Edublox.

Becoming a good speller is an achievable goal that can enhance your communication skills and boost your confidence in both academic and professional settings. To improve your skills, it’s best to keep in mind that technology is a tool to help us spell and write, not decide what to write for us.

Sources: 9 ways to become a better speller, according to an expert, Lindsay DeMunno, Business Insider; Some tools to improve your spelling, Heather Fitzgerald, University of Toronto; and Has technology made us all bad spellers? Sarah Sloat, Inverse. Accessed January 16, 2024.

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