Correct Spelling of Words
As Important As Ever

The correct spelling of words is important, even in this day and age of computer spell checks. It's much more important than many people realise.

As a teacher of literacy, I have listened to the experiences of adults who struggle to spell and the impact it has had on them.

For this reason, I strongly recommend that you ensure you encourage your child to develop correct spelling.

Correct Spelling Seen as a Sign of Intelligence

The correct spelling of words affects academic success. Students at school and at tertiary level are frequently assessed on their skills in written language. It is considered a strong indication of their intelligence and will impact on their exam results.

Reading is easier than spelling. That's because words can be decoded or broken up in a number of ways.

Spelling, on the other hand, is more precise and therefore difficult. To correctly spell, you must retrieve the letters of the word from your memory, then rebuild them in the correct sequence.

Spelling and reading are such different processes that a child can be a brilliant reader, yet at the same time, a poor speller.

When children struggle with spelling, they write less because it takes them longer to express themselves on paper. This means they do not get the opportunity to practise writing to the extent that better spellers do. Teachers mark them down and their self-esteem suffers.

When they reach the stage where they are expected to write answers to questions in paragraph or essay-form, many fail.

Spelling is a reflection of a number of things when a person applies for a job.

When they use correct spelling, words are readable and communication is clear. This convinces a prospective employer that the job applicant has been well educated.

It also tells them that they take care of detail and take pride in what they present.

Expectations on Manual Workers Now High

As I mentioned earlier, I teach adults and children with writing difficulties. Spelling is an enormous challenge for them. Some find it virtually impossible ...until they are properly taught.

On top of that many of them can't read. When my adult students tell me about their tragic work records, I am reminded just how important the correct spelling of words is for job survival.

Many employees, even those whose jobs involve manual labor, are now expected to sit tests to pass health and safety requirements.

This involves reading, writing and spelling. I work with many of these people and I have seen their stress-levels soar at the fear of anyone finding out that they can't do it.

Adult students of mine have admitted that they have contacted work saying they are ill rather than go to work on the day of a test. They will go to any length to avoid the humiliation of exposing their poor writing and spelling skills ...and who can blame them?

Consequences of Poor Spelling

Most of the adult students I teach tell me they experienced difficulties at school, starting as early as 7 years of age. Tragically those difficulties weren't addressed and as a result they failed the school system.

Not only that, they spent half a lifetime with appalling self-esteem and feelings of resentment. Some resorted to drug-taking and crime to get "enjoyment" out of life.

I do not condone this behavior for one minute but I can certainly understand how they got to be that way.

Once they realise they can spell, they regain their lost self-esteem and become different people, full of purpose.

Tackle Problems Early to Ensure Correct Spelling of Words

As an adult, you never imagine such a thing could happen to your child ...and I'm certain it won't in your case.

By being on this site, it's clear you understand the importance of literacy and that the correct spelling of words is important. That's a perfect start.

If your child begins this process early, they can be spared the type of distress I've just described.

Classroom teachers do a marvellous job but teaching every child to the level they are expected to reach is almost impossible.

Children learn at different rates, in different ways and some have learning difficulties. If learning difficulties are present, it is hoped that they are picked up immediately.

Once a child feels they are not understanding, they switch off and learning comes to a rapid halt.

Look for the signs of distress and frustration in your child when they are learning to read. Be prepared to act before it is too late.

Structured Lessons The Answer

The correct spelling of words does not need to be difficult. As a teacher of literacy, I know there are several stages in learning to spell. Some words are spelled just as they sound. Here's an example... the word sand. A child will sound it out as s...a...n...d.

The correct spelling of words at the more complex level works like this. Some letter combinations can't be sounded out in an obvious way.

Take for example the word avoid. At the previous stage, your child would learn to sound out the av part of the word. The oi part, however, would be taught in a special lesson, as it is not read the way it appears.

The combination of letters makes a completely different sound. Instead of saying "o" as in "orange" and "i" as in "in", when combined it says "oy" as in "boy".

Once your child has learned how to read and spell a word like 'avoid' they would learn other words with the oi sound, like oil, boil, toil, coin, devoid, and invoice.

There are many combinations of letters that have to be learned in this way. This is often the stage at which children get confused if they are not taught well.

On this website, you will get more detail on how to help your child to learn the correct spelling of words. It involves learning patterns, then practising to ensure that those patterns are reinforced.

When your child can master this more complex level they will be confident, competent spellers who are able to manage most forms of writing.

From Correct Spelling of Words To How To Teach Spelling

To Difficult Spelling Words

To Spelling Problem

To Phonics Literacy Homepage

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