Top Ten Spelling Tip Number 1 - Spelling vs. Reading

1. Does reading improve your spelling?

Reading’s very important but it won’t improve your spelling.

Different skills are involved. Spelling is much more difficult than reading.

According to David Crystal: Teachers assume that reading, once taught, automatically means that spelling will be ‘caught’. But there is no correlation between reading ability and spelling ability. (David Crystal: The English Language)

Spelling won’t happen because we read. A word must be consciously and deliberately learnt.

Spelling uses a set of active, productive, conscious processes that are not required for reading. (David Crystal: The English Language)

We don’t read to learn spelling, we read for information or entertainment etc. We skim over the words when we read whereas spelling is an active letter-by-letter activity.

Spelling is a visuo-motor skill. This means that visual and physical skills are crucial. You must see the patterns of English and feel the writing of them. Learning to visualize the whole word can also improve spelling.

Reading a word is easy but try to spell it and there could be a number of ways to spell it, like in homophones: buy/bye/by, you/you're, its/it's, there/their/there, stationary/stationery

Look at the following words. They have the same long vowel sound 'e' + s but have 7 possible spellings: breeze, knees, these, fleas, seize/sees/seas, cheese, tease/teas.

Easy to read not so easy to spell!

TOP TIP number 1: Just because you’ve seen a word, read it, and copied it down once, doesn’t mean you'll be able to spell it.

You must work at and study spelling, notice the features of words. Pay attention to how words are made up – the letter patterns, root words, prefixes, suffixes, rules.

Work at and study spelling.

Spelling Strategies & Secrets: The essential how to spell guide

(to help you understand spelling and stop you getting frustrated with it)

Spelling Strategies & Secrets


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