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How to Become A Better Speller Study Guide (page 2)

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Updated on Sep 28, 2011

Read, Read, and Read Some More 

One of the easiest ways to improve your spelling ability is to read. The more you read, the more you will recognize words that are spelled properly. When you read, you will experience language. You will be exposed to new and different words and you will see them in action. Reading will allow you to understand tricky words in the context of others. All of this will reinforce your spelling skills.

Don't think, however, that you need to force yourself to read dry or dull texts. Read whatever you want to! Newspapers, graphic novels, short stories, magazines, blogs, and novels are all full of words that can expand your knowledge. If you read many different media, you will be exposed to many different types of words. So don't turn your nose up at the dry texts; just make sure you read other things, too!

When you read, you might want to try keeping a dictionary handy. Then, when you come across a word that you don't know, you can look it up right away. Chances are, you'll find yourself reading words that you've used when speaking but haven't known how they were spelled. Take a look at Lesson 4 for more information on using the dictionary and understanding word meanings.

TIP: Your school or local library is filled with books, magazines, and journals that can help you improve your spelling. Not only can you borrow books and periodicals from the library but most libraries offer a variety of self-improvement, computer, hobby, and other courses free of charge. The next time you are at the library, ask for a copy of its most recent newsletter, bulletin, or calendar of events.

Play Word Games 

Gather some family members or friends to play word games like Scrabble® or Boggle®. Or, if you prefer a more solitary pursuit, do crossword puzzles or jumbles. Most daily newspapers have crossword puzzles and many of them also have jumbles. You can also purchase books dedicated to word games, or visit websites that feature jumbles and crossword puzzles.

When you are online, why not sign up for Word of the Day e-mails? These will enhance your vocabulary and increase your familiarity with the spelling of various words. Many sites offer this type of service, including www.dictionary.com.

Turn Off Your Spell-Check Function 

If you are a subpar speller, the notion of turning off your spell-check function may seem scary. After all, you rely on your spell-check to catch your mistakes, right? Well, that may not be the best thing to do. First, spell-check tools aren't all that reliable. If you spell a word correctly, but use it incorrectly (in the case of homonyms, for example), your spell-check will not alert you to the error. Second, spell-check tools usually make changes automatically, so quickly that you may not even notice the change has been made. In this way, the spell-check tool actually reinforces your spelling errors. Not what you want to do when you are attempting to improve your ability!

Turning off your spell-check function will force you to proofread your writing very carefully. As you do, if you are unsure of how to spell a word, you can look it up in the dictionary immediately, which will help you learn correct spelling. This may take a little more time than you are used to spending on your writing, but there will be many benefits. Taking charge of your spelling in everything you write will make you a more confident and competent speller.

Ask for Help

If you really want to improve your spelling, don't be shy. Tell your parents, teachers, employers, and friends that you are attempting to become a better speller. Then, ask them to point out any spelling errors you make in your e-mails, letters, or papers. If you know someone who is a particularly good speller or apt proofreader, ask him or her to proofread for a period of time everything that you write, or at least your very important papers or letters! Having another person's eyes review your material may help pinpoint spelling errors that you never knew you were making.

Other keys to becoming a better speller are outlined in the following lessons in this section: Use mnemonics, practice proper pronunciation, and pay attention to word meanings. Furthermore, it goes without saying that you should read all of the lessons in this book and spend the time to complete the practice exercises. In spelling, practice really does make perfect!

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

How to Become A Better Speller Practice Exercises

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