Spelling Strategies

At parents evening with year 8, a few students and parents were asking for additional ideas for spelling strategies.  There are a number listed below. There is no one magic answer; it is necessary to experiment with a few and see what works best for you.

Spelling Strategies

Sounding out the word

Sound the word out little by little. If it sounds wrong, try changing the vowel sound from long to short or vice versa. Long or short?


  • – long – de/fine/it (fine as in fine day)
  • – short – de/fin/it (fin as in shark’s fin)

Make a phrase or a sentence up about a word that you have difficulty spelling.

  • Because – big elephants can always understand small elephants.
  • Believe – believe has a lie in it.
  • Parliament – I am parliament
  • Affect/effect – Raven – Remember, affect = verb, effect = noun.
  • Hear – you hear with your ear.
  • Aloud – a loud noise is always heard.
  • Separate – there is a rat in separate.

Picture words
Create pictures from the syllables

Highlight helper
Colour in tricky parts of the word – Wednesday, colour.

Say it as you spell it
Wed/nes/day, fav/our, dis/tinc/tion (dis tinc tee on). This technique helps with picture words.

Chanting is the charm

  • Chant or sing the word. Mississippi = Mrs I, Mrs SS I, Mrs SS I, Mrs PP I.
  • Your voice could become louder, higher pitched, deeper, sad, happy or a silly voice. You could make the tone of your voice similar to the meaning of the word e.g. growl the word furious.

Rap a rhyme

Choose words which rhyme with the one you want in order to help you spell it correctly: flower, tower, power – be careful, as flour is said like flower, but spelt differently.

Post-it aplenty

Write any new vocabulary down on post-it notes and stick them on the furniture which you use everyday e.g. a wall, mirror or door. You’re eyes will take in the word without you realising.

v  Heaven scent
Use your sense of smell to learn a new word and help your memory. A squirt of aftershave, perfume or a drop of food colouring on the word card will trigger your memory and help next time you smell the scent.

Copy Look Cover Write Check

Copy the correct spelling out onto a page, look at the word and memorise it by using the above strategies. Then cover the word and write it down. Uncover the original and check your spelling.  Repeat the process.

Read more at home

The more you read, the more you will come across new words which will broaden your knowledge. You will take on board spellings and new vocabulary which you can look up in the dictionary. Try reading aloud to yourself or someone
else and use the above strategies to help you with any tricky words.

Dictionary Delight

Dictionaries are there to help and they have the correct spelling. Sound out the word and break it up into syllables. Think of the different letter combinations which might make that syllable sound.



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