Learning English spellings the smart way
One of the most elemental steps of mastering any language is getting good at spelling right. As an online English learning course in India, we find this to be the most challenging skillset to imbibe across all students. While pronunciation and grammar can be explained through phonetics and syntax, learning spelling becomes a different ball game completely.
Hence, it is imperative for us online English tutors to come up with a unique way of teaching students the art of spelling right as they master the English language
How do we do teach English spellings?
“Words cast spells. That’s why it’s called spelling” – so does the saying go!
We usually associate language as a medium that allows individuals to connect and communicate on various topics. To that aid, we rely on audio or visual clues. Hence, listening and reading become two of the biggest pillars of a language and its foundation. However, in a very interesting way, the one element that ties together the phonetic essence of a word’s sound with the visual impact of a word in writing is the spelling.
The slightest differentiation in spelling can completely transform the way a word is either pronounced or written and can lead to different meanings and interpretation. For example, weight and wait are two very similar sounding words with different spellings and meaning altogether.
Quick Tips to Learn Spellings
- Set of Rules Learning a few basic rules which are taught in our online spoken English classes gets the ball rolling to learn English spelling. You can find a lot of these rules online as well. For example, Words ending with “ies” usually depict plural tense – countries, parties, entities etc. Or for example, change the form of the word from adjective to noun – lonely is in adjective form that ends with “y” but when changed to its noun form it moves to “iness”
- Use of Mnemonics This is one of the most widely used techniques both offline as well as in our online English classes in India. In these sessions, our online English teachers help learn the art of rhythm and poetry to memorize the spelling of words. Mnemonics are widely used memorization techniques that can help kick-start your journey to learning spelling. This is because the logic of a spelling is not easy to grasp when you are getting to learn a language for the first time and hence techniques such as these help to get you off to a start.
- Exceptions vs rules The ironic part of the English language is that there are exceptions as there are rules to the logic behind spelling. Learning these are crucial to avoid spelling mistakes which often tends to be the case as one graduates in the learning phase. These exceptions are mostly related to differences in phonetic vs spelling, meaning the word is not spelt the way it sounds. For example, height sounds like it should be spelt as ‘hight’ but it’s not.
- List of tough words Practice is key to mastering any form of skillset and so is the case with getting good at English spelling. One important element to maintain a list of tough words. Practicing making sentences using these words, writing them on multiple occasions in emails, texts or informal written exchanges helps one to fill in the gaps and improve their spelling prowess. For example, words with confusing spellings such as benign or even mnemonic should be maintained.
- Break it down One of the simplest techniques of getting a spelling right for a word is to go by its pronunciation and break it down into its syllables. While this rule won’t work for exception cases, it is helpful in most others especially where the word is spelt long. For example, betterment can be spelt as it is pronounced as bet + ter + ment.
- The Root of it Learning the origin of a word is often useful in interpreting the right spelling of a word and drawing parallels to similar sounding words. The roots of a word’s origin is often crucial to its meaning and the spelling is borrowed from the same
- Playing word games One of the most interesting ways to bond over spelling is to play word games. Games such as Scrabble are not only great to have fun but also help to improve your vocabulary, learn new words, and correct your spelling as you go on playing.
- Spell Check Tools There are multiple spell check tools available online as well as software such as Microsoft Word provide similar spellcheck. The beauty of technology is that most social media platforms have their own spell check in built in their chat boxes. Intuitively, it is one of the most interesting areas to learn spelling and correct it on the fly as soon as you get it wrong.
- Writing again and again There is no substitute to writing English as a practice in our efforts to improve and perfect spelling. At our online English classes, we emphasize heavily on writing skills and advise our students to practice the same at home. This develops a culture to constantly keep viewing, monitoring and improving one’s own efforts at getting good at spelling.
- Post- Its all the way Be it keeping notes, or informing friends, or learning new words, there is no better way than to use flashcards or post-its. Jotting down the right spelling in small postcards is a technique taught by our online English tutors. They emphasize the simple way of using Post-its and how to recursively use the same to improve on English spelling.
Learning the art of spelling is less of an art and more of a science. Mastering it becomes key to interpreting any other word in the dictionary. Once you have understood the way spellings define words, it is rare for anyone to make mistakes even if the word is less known or sparsely used. When learnt the right way from our online English classes, you would be one step closer to perfecting your English language skills.