Ways to Tackle Tricky Spellings: A Recap

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Over the last few weeks we’ve been sharing different methods which we hope will help make learning to spell a little easier and a bit more fun.

Here is a recap of our posts – which ones did you find most helpful?

  • In our blog post about why English spelling is so difficult, we discussed heterographs, homonyms, and heteronyms. These groups of words make it difficult to solely rely on the ‘sound’ of a word in order to figure out its spelling.

    The word heterograph refers to words that sound the same, but have different spellings and meanings. Hetero- comes from the Greek heteros which means ‘other’ or ‘different’, whilst -graph comes from graphein which means ‘write’ or ‘express by written characters’. So together, the two parts, translates to ‘other written characters’ - or, in other words, ‘different spellings’.

    Homonyms, on the other hand, are words that are spelt and pronounced the same but which have different meanings. Homo- comes from the Greek homos which means ‘one and the same’, whilst –onym comes from onoma which means ‘name’. Together they make ‘same name’.

    If hetero means ‘same’ and onym means ‘name’, then, can you work out what the third group of words, heteronyms, are?
  • Our second blog post discussed why learning to spell is worth the effort. One big reason at this time of year is the fact that poor spelling can lose you marks in exams. Furthermore, due to National Curriculum reforms due to take effect in England in 2014, good spelling will become even more essential to succeed at school. And, even after finishing full-time education, poor spelling can greatly reduce your chances of excelling in the working environment.
  • For our third and fourth posts we shared suggestions for making spelling easier. The most fun way, we decided, was by coming up with mnemonics. We even ran a competition to see who could come up with the best way of remembering how to spell the word mnemonic – more details on that to be released, but here’s the best we could come up with:

    Must Neither Eat Mouldy Oranges Nor Infested Cheese

    Not very memorable (and pretty disgusting), right? There must be a better one out there.

What are your top tips for remembering tricky spellings? Do you find some spellings harder than others? What do you find most difficult about English spelling?

Over the next few weeks we hope to share biographies of various people who have struggled with spelling, documenting and exploring the various fields that they have succeeded in and the difficulties they have faced.

These, of course, will be posted alongside our regular Word for Wednesday feature. Over the last few weeks we have looked into the roots of the words mac, art, freedom, and coffee. As usual, you can follow along and join the discussion on Twitter (#WordForWednesday) or like our page on Facebook.

We love hearing from you, and hope you stay tuned! Please do let us know if there is a topic you would like us to write about!



13 May 2013
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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