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How to Become A Better Speller Study Guide

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Updated on Sep 28, 2011

Introduction

THE FIRST STEP to becoming a better speller is not to despair over your current spelling ability. You may think you are a terrible speller, but that doesn't mean you will always be a terrible speller. Good spellers are not born; they are made through instruction and practice. So, instead of worrying about being a less-than-stellar speller, put your energies toward learning a few tips and tricks that will vastly improve your spelling skills.

Each lesson in this book will cover a specific tip, trick, or rule that when learned and applied will set you on your way toward better spelling. Before you get started, take some time to read through the guidelines here for how to reinforce those tips, tricks, and rules.

Use Flash Cards

At first, you might feel silly using flash cards, but once you notice that you are no longer making careless spelling mistakes, chances are you won't mind being a bit silly. Flash cards are easy and convenient to use. All you need to create them is a pack of index cards or scraps of paper and a pen. Here are some ways in which you can use flash cards to your advantage:

  • On the front of each card, write a word you want to learn. Leave out a key letter. Write the complete word on the back. Quiz yourself by trying to fill in the blank correctly.
  • Write a complete word on one side of each card. On the other side, write the definition(s) of the word. Quiz yourself by reading the word and trying to state the definition(s). Conversely, you can read the definition(s) and try to identify the word.
  • Instead of trying to learn hundreds of words, use flash cards to learn roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

You could also have a friend quiz you. Have someone say a word from your deck of flash cards and then try to spell that word, either out loud or on a separate sheet of paper.

Make a Personalized Spelling List 

Once you've completed the lessons in this book, there will probably still be certain words that trip you up. However, if you've read the lessons carefully and completed the practice exercises, you will have a firmer grasp on your spelling errors. In other words, by learning the whys and hows of spelling, you'll be more aware of words that you typically spell incorrectly. Make a list of those words and try to use them in your writing as often as possible. This may seem like an odd instruction: If the words are tricky, shouldn't you just avoid them? Well, no. If you have a hard time spelling a word, forcing yourself to use it—correctly—as often as possible, will reinforce the word in your mind.

Maybe you've misspelled definitely for as long as you can remember, writing it as definately. Since that incorrect spelling has become ingrained, you might have trouble imagining the word spelled differently. But once you become aware of your error, and come to understand the meaning of the root finite, the spelling will make sense to you (see Lesson 5 for more on word roots). It might take time for that new understanding to stick, though. That's where practice becomes essential. Using the correct spelling of definitely as frequently as you can will ensure that it replaces the incorrect spelling in your mind for good.

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