Blog posts

Common Spelling Hurdles for ESL Learners and How to Overcome Them

English is a language known for its quirks and irregularities, making it a challenging to learn. For ESL (English as a Second Language) learners, navigating the intricacies of English spelling can be particularly daunting. However, by understanding common pitfalls and employing effective strategies, ESL learners can overcome spelling challenges and enhance their language skills. Silent Letter Strategies Silent letters add an extra layer of complexity to English spelling. These letters appear in the spelling, but they are not pronounced.  TIP: When you learn words with silent letters, use the Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check spelling activity. Click on the speaker to hear the word...

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Your Complete Guide to Irregular Verbs

Introduction to Irregular Verbs Irregular verbs can be tricky. Unlike regular verbs, which follow predictable patterns when conjugated, irregular verbs have unique forms that don't conform to standard rules. In this guide, we'll focus on their past simple and past participle forms to help you wield them with confidence. Crack the Code: Past Simple and Past Perfect Tenses Explained Before we dive into some spelling patterns, let's break down two important verb tenses: the past simple and the past perfect. The past simple tense is used to talk about actions that happened in the past. For example: She ran five miles.  We went to the shop. They ate...

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How to Host a Schoolwide Spelling Bee with Spellzone

Would you like to launch a spelling bee competition for your school, academy trust, or school district? Spellzone's multiplayer function allows you to effortlessly host spelling bee competitions to engage students while supporting spelling development. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of setting up and executing a spelling bee event using Spellzone. Whether you're aiming to showcase your school's top spellers or foster friendly competition between schools, Spellzone will ensure your event runs seamlessly. Let’s get started… Enabling Multiplayer Games on Your Spellzone Account Before diving into your competition, make sure multiplayer games...

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Cracking the Code: Your Ultimate Guide to Spelling Words with Silent Letters in English

Understanding the Role of Silent Letters in Spelling Have you ever noticed that some letters in English words don’t seem to be pronounced when spoken aloud? These silent letters, though tricky to navigate, are an essential part of English spelling.  In this guide, we'll delve into the world of silent letters, exploring common patterns, understanding the historical context, and learning practical tips.  By the end, you'll be equipped with the knowledge and skills to master silent letters with confidence. Tip 1: Learn Common Spelling Patterns  Common silent letters in English include: k, w, b, t, l, n, h, g, and p. You can use the letters than come...

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Mastering Homophones: Your Ultimate Guide to Confident Spelling with Spellzone

Understanding Homophones: Your Key to Confident Spelling Homophones, words that share similar sounds but differ in meanings and spellings, pose a challenge for many English learners. Whether you're a student striving for academic excellence, a professional aiming for clear communication, or simply someone eager to improve your language skills, mastering homophones is crucial. In this detailed guide, we'll delve into the intricacies of homophones, providing you with spelling strategies and practice word lists to become proficient in identifying and using homophones accurately. Exploring Spellzone's Homophone Guides Spellzone offers an extensive archive of homophone...

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Spelling Bee Preparation Tips for Students: Your Ultimate Guide to Success

Learning English spelling might feel a bit like navigating a maze, especially when getting ready for a spelling bee. Whether you're a student gearing up for your school spelling bee or dreaming of taking part in a bigger competition, we're here to help. In this easy-to-follow guide, we'll share practical strategies, helpful tips, and interactive spelling lists to make sure you're well-prepared for the challenge. Understanding the Basics: What is a Spelling Bee? Let's start with the basics. A spelling bee is a competition where participants are asked to spell a broad selection of words, ranging from everyday vocabulary to more challenging terms. The goal is to test...

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ESL Proficiency and Business Writing Insights: February 2024 Recap

February is coming to a close, and this month we shared some handy spelling tips for both language learners and teachers. Whether you're navigating the intricacies of English vocabulary or perfecting your heartfelt expressions, our February blogs are here to support your educational journey with fresh perspectives. Let's recap the highlights of the month. 1) Essential Word Lists for ESL Learners: Mastering English Vocabulary If you're on the journey of learning English, building a strong vocabulary is key. In this post, we curated three essential word lists tailored for ESL learners. From everyday basics to tricky homophones and advanced vocabulary, these lists are designed...

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Common Spelling Mistakes in Business Writing and How to Avoid Them

In the realm of business communication, maintaining clarity and professionalism is paramount. Every email, memo, or report serves as a reflection of your competence and attention to detail. Yet, even seasoned professionals may inadvertently make common spelling mistakes that compromise the impact of their message. This post delves into these spelling pitfalls, offering strategies to help you steer clear of them and ensure your written communication remains professional and effective.   a vs. an: a comes before words starting with a consonant sound, and an before words beginning with a vowel sound For example: a meeting an email   accept vs. except: accept...

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Love Notes: Spelling Mistakes to Avoid in Your Valentine's Day Cards

Valentine's Day presents the perfect opportunity to express your love and appreciation for those dear to you through cards and notes. However, even the most heartfelt sentiments can be diminished by spelling errors. In this blog post, we'll look at common spelling mistakes to avoid when crafting your Valentine's Day cards, along with tips for proofreading and ensuring accuracy. By paying attention to spelling, you can ensure that your love notes convey your feelings with clarity and precision. Apostrophe Placement Common mistake: ‘Happy Valentines Day!’ Correction: ‘Happy Valentine's Day!’ Tip: Remember to use an apostrophe to...

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Essential Word Lists for ESL Learners: Mastering English Vocabulary

For ESL learners, building a robust English vocabulary is crucial for effective communication and language proficiency. To support your language learning journey, we've curated three essential word lists focusing on key areas of vocabulary development. Whether you're just beginning to learn English or want to improve your skills, these lists are designed to help you become fluent in English. Essential Words for ESL Learners: Building Vocabulary for Everyday Improve your English vocabulary with this handpicked list of essential words for ESL learners, designed to improve everyday communication. From common greetings like 'hello' and 'goodbye'...

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Elevate Your Spelling Skills: January 2024 Recap

Hello, spelling enthusiasts! As we say goodbye to the first month of 2024, here's a recap of everything we shared on our blog. In January, we delved into linguistic exploration, schoolwide spelling strategies for success, interactive learning tools, and insights into the teaching, learning, and assessment cycle. Whether you're a spelling student or a spelling teacher, our January blogs will help you improve your spelling, support your educational journey, and introduce you to new teaching and learning methods. Join us for a quick summary of the information covered this month. 3 Word Lists to Sharpen Your Spelling Skills In our first blog post of the year, we shared...

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Nurturing Confident Spellers: Navigating the Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Cycle with Spellzone

From initial assessments to personalised spelling courses and real-time evaluation, Spellzone streamlines the educational experience for teachers and students, making learning easy and enjoyable. Spellzone adeptly manages each phase of the teaching, learning, and assessment cycle—identifying needs, planning learning, facilitating learning, assessing learning, and evaluating learning—so that educators can focus on what’s important: teaching. Initial Assessment: Identifying Learner Needs with Spelling Ability Test Spellzone begins the educational journey with an initial assessment—the Spelling Ability Test.   This assessment efficiently identifies...

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Fun Learning Ahead: Discover Our Interactive Spelling Games

Are you looking for an engaging and interactive way to enhance your spelling skills or help your students enjoy the process of learning? Your search ends here! Our online spelling games, available exclusively to Spellzone users, teach students to recognise and remember new spelling patterns, helping them build connections between sounds and spelling, while boosting confidence and spelling proficiency along the way. Scroll down to find the right game for you! Pattern Recognition Games Recognise and memorise common English spelling patterns with our anagram-based games. You’ll be a master in no time. Spelling Snowball Winter spelling fun! Embark on a winter...

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24 Ways to Ensure Schoolwide Spelling Success in 2024

Welcome to the new year! Are you ready to make the most of Spellzone in 2024? Here’s checklist of 24 ways to ensure you're starting the year on the right track: Spring term is here, why not get ahead on your spring cleaning? If your team has changed, learn how to to update your Spellzone staff list.   Now is also the time to add any new students and remove students who are no longer using Spellzone. More students than last year? Contact us to upgrade your Spellzone subscription.   If you have out-of-date classes on your Spellzone account, learn how to delete them and add new ones here.    It’s time to take stock of 2023’s...

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3 Word Lists to Sharpen Your Spelling Skills

Welcome to our first blog post of 2024! Here are 3 word lists that will sharpen your spelling skills this month: Janus Words  Words with double meanings can be tricky. Janus Words, or contranyms, are words that contradict themselves. The word dust, for example, can mean ‘to remove particles’ or ‘to sprinkle them’. These linguistic quirks show how one word can play both sides.   20 Sentence Starters to Help You Introduce, Expand, and Illustrate Ideas Starting a sentence right matters. Our list of 20 Sentence Starters is here to help you do just that. From additionally to whereas, these sentence starters are tools for introducing,...

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2023 Round-up 

Each month in 2023, we shared 3 word lists to help students build vocabulary and improve spelling. Follow the links to find each month’s word lists: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December. Don’t forget all Spellzone word lists can be used in a range of online and offline activities. We put together a list of every blog series we've shared over the years, including Commonly Confused Words, 10 Words , and American English vs. British English. We added to our Commonly Confused Words series with berry vs. bury, meat vs. meet, oar vs. or vs. ore, and sleigh vs. slay; and expanded...

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Commonly Confused Words: Sleigh vs. Slay 

What does each word mean? A sleigh is a vehicle on runners which is pulled by horses or dogs over snow. As a verb, the word describes the act of riding in a sleigh. Here is sleigh used in some example sentences: Santa Claus delivers presents in a flying sleigh pulled by reindeer.  Do you hear the sleigh bells jingling?  We sleighed through the snow. Slay means destroy or kill. Here is slay used in some an example sentence: The show about a teenager who slays vampire.  Where does each word come from?  The word sleigh dates to 1703 and comes from Dutch the ‘slee’, which is a shortened...

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Commonly Confused Words: Berry vs. Bury 

What does each word mean? A berry is a type of small fruit often used in making desserts, jams and jellies, and preserves. Examples of berries include blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Here is berry used in some example sentences: I like berry-flavoured ice cream.  We made a Christmas wreath with holly leaves and berries.  Would you like some strawberry cake? If you bury something, it means you hide it from sight by covering it with something else, for example earth. Here is bury used in some example sentences: To keep warm and cosy. I bury myself under a pile of blankets.  We bury the secret treasure in the...

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3 Word Lists for December 2023

'Tis the season for festive word lists! Whether you're dreaming of sugarplums or perfecting your pronunciation of ‘Joyeux Noel’, let's unwrap the gift of language together! Here are our 3 word lists for December 2023… Christmas Words Improve your holiday vocabulary and explore seasonal gems like mistletoe, nutcracker, and Yule with our list of Christmas words. Try our games to ensure you sleigh your way to improved spelling skills in time for the festivities!    Christmas Food Indulge in the world of Christmas culinary delights! Perfect for English learners, our second list for the month covers festive food...

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November 2023 Round-up

Celebrating the Season with Spelling Lists In November’s spelling lists blog post, we embraced the season with a vibrant collection of Autumn vocabulary, learned how to spell the /l/ sound after the letter ‘n’, and shared 10 alternatives for the word tired. Don’t forget all Spellzone word lists can be used in a variety of online and offline spelling activities. Boost Your Vocabulary Series Continues This month, in our Boost Your Vocabulary series, we continued sharing words to help you elevate your writing. Explore 22 sentence starters to help you link contrasting ideas and 24 sentence starters for emphasising ideas. Remember, the...

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Older Blogs

Boost Your Vocabulary: 24 Sentence Starters for Emphasising Ideas
Boost Your Vocabulary: 22 Sentence Starters to Help You Link Contrasting Ideas
3 Word Lists for November 2023
October 2023 Round-up
10 Frightful Mistakes to Avoid this Halloween
Boost Your Vocabulary: 15 Sentence Starters to Demonstrate Cause and Effect in Writing
Boost Your Vocabulary: 20 Sentence Starters to Help You Introduce, Expand, and Illustrate Ideas
3 Word Lists for October 2023
September 2023 Round-Up
Boost Your Vocabulary: 150 Movement Verbs to Elevate Your Writing
Making Spellzone a Team Effort: 3 Simple Ways to Involve Parents and Carers in the Learning Journey
Help Your Students Ace Spelling Tests with our ‘Learn the Words’ Activities
3 Word Lists for September 2023
August 2023 Round-Up
Boost Your Vocabulary: 300 Amazing Adjectives to Replace 'Very' (part 2)
Boost Your Vocabulary: 300 Amazing Adjectives to Replace 'Very' (part 1)
Commonly Confused Words: Meat vs. Meet 
3 Word Lists for August 2023
July 2023 Round-Up
Summer Holiday Reading with Spellzone!
It’s Tennis Time! Are You Ready to Learn Some Wimbledon Vocabulary? 
3 Word Lists for July 2023
June 2023 Round-up
Easy-Peasy Expressions: 18 Fun Idioms to Use When Something Is Super Simple
8 Dyslexia-Friendly Accessibility Features on Spellzone
3 Word Lists for June 2023
May 2023 Round-up
Commonly Confused Words: Oar vs. Or vs. Ore
Word for Wednesday: Opportunity
8 Ways Spellzone Helps Close the Attainment Gap
Word for Wednesday: Neighbour or Neighbor
5 Ways Spellzone Helps Reduce Teacher Workload
Word for Wednesday: Minute
Word for Wednesday: Embarrass
3 Word Lists for May 2023
April 2023 Round-Up
Word for Wednesday: Disappoint
6 Ways Spellzone Helps Build Student Knowledge
Word for Wednesday: Decide
10 Words for … EMBARRASSED

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"Thank goodness for Spellzone during this remote learning phase. The site is easy for students to navigate independently and they're really enjoying the activities and spelling games. You get an awful lot for your money with Spellzone. Really reassuring is the very prompt response with helpdesk queries. I've very rarely needed the helpdesk, but when I have, the issue has been addressed and sorted within a very short time."

Sarah Taggart, Oasis Academy Lord's Hill