confused about spelling

Reliable Ways To Boost Your Memory And Spelling Skills by Cassie Steele

Whether you like it or not, spelling is an important life skill to develop and master. In particular, spelling matters a lot in the professional world where making a mistake can even hamper your chances of getting a job — one in three CVs contain spelling errors which are major red flags to employers.

If you’re working on improving your spelling, it’s important to strengthen your long-term memory. Using mnemonics (memory tricks) and the practice of repetitive writing are two great ways of cementing spellings firmly into your mind.

Use mnemonics
Since there’s often no rhyme or reason to English spelling rules, it can be tricky to memorise them. Mnemonics can help: they’re essentially memory aids to help you remember spellings of difficult words — “I before e except after c” is a well-known one. They do this by associating words with rhyme, imagery, or pattern, which makes better sense of the correct spelling in your head.

Mnemonics are helpful for strengthening your memory, but using too many of them may get confusing, so keep a limit on how many you learn at a time.

Here are some classic spelling mnemonics you may find useful:
because breaks down into: big elephants can always understand small elephants.
here vs. hear? Remember you hear with your ear.
Separate has “a rat” in it.
Everyone gets a piece of pie.
You can’t spell slaughter without laughter.
There are two “i’s” in definite.
It's necessary to remember the cess-pool in the middle.

Write, write, write!
While it’s not the most exciting task, writing down the words you want to learn to spell is an effective way of remembering them. Let yourself look at the original words as you write them down for the first two or three times, but then cover them up. Practice writing the words completely from memory without peeking at your past attempts. This process of rehearsal is a key way short-term memories become long-term — therefore helping you become a better speller. Check out the Look, Say, Cover, Check method

Lastly, be sure to take a break in the middle of all the writing, spelling, and memorising. Meditate, go outside, or listen to music for a few minutes. The process of calming down and relaxing your brain helps create space for new memories to form. While you may feel like it’s wasting time, resting your brain will ultimately help sharpen your memory and improve your spelling skills.

by Cassie Steele (guest writer)

For info on using memory tricks and spelling strategies check out the Spelling Strategies & Secrets book

Spelling Strategies & Secrets: The essential how to spell guide

Spelling Strategies & Secrets