Spelling Strategies

Spelling Strategies

What Do Good Spellers Do?

How Can You Be a Better Speller?

(Adapted from Expanding Expectations: Spelling)

Stretching out Words / Using Phonics

Ask yourself, "What sounds do I hear when I say this word very slowly?" Upper grade students use this strategy mostly with words that have more than one syllable, especially compound words or words with known prefixes and suffixes.

Applying Knowledge of Word / Letter Patterns

Ask yourself, "What other words do I know that can help me spell this word?" For example, if you know how to spell paw, you would also spell straw or dawn.

Applying Knowledge of the Background of Words

Ask yourself, "What words or word parts are similar in other words that will help me to spell this word?" For example, if you know how to spell revolt, it would help you in spelling related words such as revolting, revolution, and revolutionary.

Using "Have-a-Go" (Using Visual Information)

Write the word and ask yourself, "Does this word look right?" If it doesn't, try it again.

Applying Generalizations

Ask yourself, "How does what I have learned help me spell new words?" For example, you can learn how to use ing or learn that /shun/ can be spelled cian, tion, or sion.

Using a Memory Aid

Ask yourself, "How can I remember how this word is spelled?" For example, hear - I can hear with my ear, or friend - She is my friend to the end.


As you read through a piece of writing you have completed, ask yourself, "Is my writing spelled correctly?" You may want to circle any words you think are not spelled correctly so that you can check them.

Using Resources

When writing, ask yourself, "Where have I seen this word before?" or "Where can I find how to spell this word?" Use dictionaries, fiction and nonfiction books, personal word lists, class charts, learning logs, or electronic spell-checking tools.