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Using Pronunciation For Spelling Study Guide (page 3)

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Updated on Sep 28, 2011

Sounding Words Out

There are two ways in which sounding words out can benefit you in your quest to become a better speller. The first is to sound out tricky words when you read them. If you are reading a newspaper article or a website and you notice a word that you are unfamiliar with or have never had occasion to spell, sound it out. Break the word into syllables, saying each one aloud as you read it. Once you have each of the syllables down, string them together and say the whole word, thinking about how the sound of the word and its spelling are related.

For example, if you were to read the word tranquility you would break it down into four syllables like this: tran-quil-i-ty. Say each syllable slowly, committing the spelling of each to memory. Then, when you put the syllables together, you will be able to spell the whole word.

The second technique for sounding words out is to exaggerate the way a word is spelled, or the way it sounds, or some part of the word. This technique is similar to the mnemonics that you learned about in Lesson 2. The English language has hundreds of words that are not spelled the way they sound, with silent letters and letter combinations that can mislead even the best spellers. Exaggerating these idiosyncrasies can make the correct spelling stick in your mind.

Here is the way this type of sounding out would work. Take the word conscience. This word is frequently misspelled because it is not pronounced the way it is spelled. To remember how to spell it, you could break the word into its two syllables, con-science, pronouncing each as individual words, as they are spelled: con and science. Similarly, you could exaggerate the pronunciation of Connecticut as three words: connect and i and cut. This will help you remember the second c in the word.

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Using Pronunciation For Spelling Practice Exercises

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