Spelling Strategies for Effective Learning

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The ability to represent a word visually is called Spelling. We think about the sounds in a word and represent them with combinations of letters. For years, the only way to learn spelling was to memorize the words from a sheet of paper. But research has found that it is possible for students to retrieve an accurate spelling using compatible methods which are called Spelling Strategies.

If your child is struggling with spelling, or if you want to make sure your child is learning in the most efficient way- this post is the one for you.

Teaching Spelling Strategies

As a teacher, you need to have a clear knowledge on the rules and methods you’re going to teach your students.

Daily Practice

Spelling should be part of your everyday lesson plan. Teach them a few words a day, then make them practice for 2-3 days and then teach them some more.

Phonics for Beginners

When children are learning spelling for the first time, allow them to spell exactly as they hear them. Then tell them to say each sound and use a letter to represent the sound. Repeat the sound multiple times if they are making any mistakes.

For example, they may write ‘Pet’ as P-a-t. Tell them how the word they wrote sound and let them figure out which letter should be changed to make the right word.

Chance to make corrections

Use a medium or way where your students can make corrections easily. For example, ask them to make words with letter blocks. This way, they can add a letter in the middle of a word or remove one.

A few patterns at a time

Teach only one to three patterns in one lesson. Observe your student’s learning speed and plan accordingly. For the beginners, just work on one pattern for at least two days. For advance spellers, you may teach two or three patterns.

You may have to practice one pattern for several days if the child is a weak speller.

Check out some clever spelling tricks to teach your children in this guide .

Few words only

Also, pick 3-5 words for each pattern, not more than that. For giving example, use 2-3, then give them another 1-2 words to guess spelling using that pattern.

  • For students with dyslexia or other learning disability, don’t leave words for guessing. Make them each and every word you are using.
  • Make sure the words used for example or for exercise are not irregularly spelled.

Reading is Essential

Give your kid books, worksheets or other reading materials. Encourage them to read more. This way, they would see the words more frequently and be able to memorize faster. Also, if they find a word, ask them to spell other similar word that they have learned.

For example, if you see the word ‘Bay’, remind your kid about other similar words that end with ‘ay’ such as ‘Pay’, ‘May’, ‘Clay’, ‘Day’ etc.


Here’s a detailed guide on the art of spelling. You’ll find tons of creative ideas to teach spelling to your class.

Test regularly

Once in a while, take tests to see how much they remember. Use sight word, or you may use letter blocks and ask them to build the word you just said.

Also, you can use SpellQuiz Spelling Test to check the progress of your children. With this test, they can evaluate the progress on their own.

Spelling Strategies for Struggling Students

There is no way to tell if a strategy will work for your children. They might even use multiple spelling strategies for different words. You can also teach a word in multiple ways to ensure proper memorization.

While teaching the strategies, you have to ensure that your student doesn’t get overwhelmed. Learning spelling is hard for everyone and harder for the ones with dyslexia or other difficulties.

Here are some Spelling Strategies for weak spellers that also work for others and guarantee proper memorization —


It is the absolute best strategy to start with Phonics. Teach your students segmenting first. Develop their ability to distinguish different sounds of a word.

After they learn to segment, teach them how to represent each sound with letters or combination of letters. This is called phonograms.

For example,

/P/ – /i / – / g/

Pig has two sounds. So it is represented by three phonograms.


Teach your student how changing just a single letter can create a new meaningful word. For example:

Cat, Rat, Bat, Pat etc.

Ask them to make rhymes with similar sounding words or make them yourself to teach them. For example:

“The Cat caught a Rat and a Bat saw That”


Often, there are different spellings for same sound. For example: the sound /k/ can be spelled C, K, CK or QUE etc.

That’s where Spelling Rules come!

Spelling rules will help the child to determine whether to use C or K or CK based on the position of the sound in that word. But before teaching them, research if those rules are actually helpful or else, they will make learning spelling more confusing.

Here are some ideas about which rules to teach your kid.


Are you curious about spelling mnemonics? Every everything about spelling mnemonics here along with spelling mnemonics definition.

Silent Letters

It is normal to forget a letter when it is silent in a word. You should teach your child about them beforehand to make spelling easier.

Open and Closed Syllables

Teach the kids about these two types of syllables to enable them spell a wide range of words successfully.

Plural Words

Learning the rules of making words plural actually increases their vocabulary without much effort. Teach them to look for the sounds at the end of the words to determine if it’s plural. This is helpful for phonetic lessons too.

Double Consonant

Teach them when to use double consonant in a word, especially at the end of the word.


Does the word look right? – is a great question to ask while spelling. Give your students a list of words and make them read and write each word multiple times. After being familiar with how the word looks, ‘Blue’ spelled ‘Blu’ will definitely look wrong, even without spell checkers.


These strategies are more helpful for advanced spellers, especially ESL students to properly grasp the essence of the word.

Morphemes mainly consists of prefix, suffix, base words etc. so basically, it focuses on the meaning of the small parts of the word. For example:

Un — touch — able

Not — to touch—able to be

Words like wisdom or action are pronounced differently from their root words Wise or Act.

  • Teach your students about the functions of prefix and suffix in words, abbreviations etc.
  • Also teach them about Greek and Latin roots of the words.
  • Let them know the meaning of the base word so that they can guess the meaning of an unknown word and spell accordingly.
    For example:




(To break or burst)










Try out phonetic spelling dictionary right now for an effective learning process. Our thorough guide covers it all!

Spelling Pedagogy

Learning spelling is often considered a boring task. Sure, students at first feel genuine interest but soon lose interest due to the monotony. As a teacher, it is up to you to keep your students hooked. Here are some tips to apply in your classroom:

Understanding Your Students

Some of the kids are naturally good at spelling, some might struggle at first and then overcome and some needs help all the time. When teaching the beginners, try to observe their behaviour keenly. This is the time when a kid starts to show signs of learning difficulties.

It is crucial to identify those difficulties earlier. This way, the student would be able to recover faster and won’t be falling behind.

Balance between Traditional and Modern Methods

For ESL students, you may use the traditional method of memorization more. But for kindergarten kids, giving a list of words comes much letter. First, teach them about sounds, syllables and other basic elements.

Give your students a list of word to memorize, but teach them some strategies beforehand. This way, they’ll be more interested to apply what they learnt.

Use worksheets and wordbooks. But before that, teach the kids about the sounds of the words and the spelling of the syllables.

For more fun activities to teach spelling, check out SpellQuiz’s Learning Spelling guide.


You need to have knowledge on the latest spelling strategies. You’ll often hear about some new techniques about learning spelling easily. Inspect each of them before teaching.

Also, explore and make strategies on your own. Note down which words those strategies apply to.

Let them be

For advance learners, let them find patterns on their own. Make them try different methods to learn spelling and ask which one they would like to follow. Remember, expert spellers use a variety of strategies to be able to spell more words. And they keep tracks of their learnings.

You can also assess your vocabulary collection using SpellQuiz Vocabulary Assessment and find out which strategies are working for you and which are not.

There you go! Now you know all the strategies the best spellers use. Use them to teach your struggling spellers or yourself. These spelling strategies have been invented by researchers and are being successfully used by professionals.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and nail that spelling competition!

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