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
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.
Word study is an approach to spelling instruction that moves away from a focus on memorization. The approach reflects what researchers have discovered about the alphabetic, pattern, and meaning layers of English orthography. This article describes nine tips for implementing a word study program in your classroom.