Some people are naturally good spellers, while others struggle with words.
The people who go on to win championships are often naturally gifted with spelling and go on to develop and use effective strategies to take them to the next level… and they also practice a lot.
We can learn from those strategies, to make easy enhancements in our own spelling skills, and bump them up a notch or two.
Here’s the lowdown on the differences between good and weak spellers and 11 techniques to elevate your own skills.
Good speller strategies
Most good spellers confirm the spelling of their words, using a form of synaesthesia. In a nutshell, that means they’re incorporating more than one sense into the confirmation of word spellings.
The good speller might construct some sort of mental image of how the word is constructed. Then, they will use their auditory senses to judge whether the word can be sounded out, using their choice of spelling. Lastly, they will often ask themselves whether the word feels right.
Winners of Spelling Bees put strategies into place and then spend countless hours tweaking and refining the process until they’re comfortable with a huge selection of the English language.
When doing daily activities, finding ways to use multiple senses can give you a boost to your recognition and retention skills in whatever you do.
Weak speller strategies
Poor spellers tend to use strategies that aren’t as effective. A common technique used by poor spellers is to try sounding out the word, which unfortunately, doesn’t work with many English words.
Early and repeated failure in spelling may cause the poor spellers to stop trying, and they start telling themselves that they’re just not good at spelling. Without guidance by a patient teacher or parent, this may cause them to fall even further behind.
11 Simple Spelling tips
Here’s a list of simple tips you can incorporate into your daily routine to start building your word power:
- Pay attention – It’s when you start paying attention to anything that you start seeing the details more clearly.
- Get familiar with root words – If you understand the root of the word, you’ll be able to understand it’s meaning in almost any context.
- Read detailed material more frequently to see new words – Facebook updates don’t count, but journals and high-level periodicals work nicely here.
- Write – The best way to make you think about how words are spelled. Turn off spell checker at first, and then use it when you’re done. Which words are you spelling incorrectly?
- Search out and use uncommon words – By incorporating words that are on the fringe of your vocabulary, it makes you more aware of the language around you. When you hear an uncommon word, look it up and read the definition. It’ll only take you 30 seconds to do.
- Wordsmith.org – Get a new word emailed to you daily with the definition explained.
- Review common rules of spelling – You might find it more interesting than you think… or maybe not.
- Look up a list of the 100 most misspelled words – There are a million of them out there, but most list are similar. Look for patterns.
- Artwiculate Twitter game – Challenges you to creatively use an uncommon word each day.
- Synaesthesia – Look for ways to use multiple senses to interact with the words around you.
- Look up and to the left – When you think of the spelling of a word, look up and to the left. It may help trigger a visual memory of when you saw the word in print.