Although spelling is a subject most often associated with the elementary grades, high school level spelling words provide an opportunity for students to further develop their mastery of the English language.
The English language is 85 percent phonetic, but 15 percent of all words are not phonetically spelled. Since the ability to spell correctly is needed to clearly articulate one’s thoughts in writing, this means spelling lessons must remain an important part of the high school curriculum.
Spelling Tips for High School Students
High school teachers who wish to promote better spelling skills can use the following tips when developing classroom lesson plans:
- Many high school students believe that learning to spell correctly isn’t an important skill, since most of their writing is done using word processing programs with spell check software. Use the articles Garbage In, Garbage Out: Errors Caused by Over-Reliance on Spelling Checkers and Ten Common Writing Mistakes Your Spell Checker Won’t Find to begin a discussion of how this philosophy can spell disaster.
- Consider asking a local human resources manager to visit the class to discuss how spelling skills can influence whether or not an applicant is offered a particular job. Offering examples of actual spelling errors found in cover letters and resumes can be particularly informative.
- Look for opportunities to incorporate spelling into other subjects, such as history, geography, chemistry, or biology. The goal is to have students see spelling as a part of daily learning, instead of a separate subject that only needs to be practiced for a few hours each week.
- Link the study of high school level spelling words to new vocabulary by providing the definition of each word and having students practice using new words in their writing compositions.
- Encourage students to keep a small notebook with lists of unfamiliar words they encounter in the magazines, newspapers, and books they read. Tailoring the study of spelling words to the student’s unique interests is a great way to encourage the retention of new information.
- Although spelling games are most often associated with younger students, many high classes will enjoy these fun activities as well. For example, “Around the World” is a basketball game that appeals to older students by letting them shoot baskets from several points around the free throw lane. To play, divide students into two teams. Before students are allowed to take a shot, they must spell one of their assigned words correctly. If they miss, they must stay in the same spot until they spell the word correctly. After misspelling a word three times in a row, the student is out. Continue until the winner is the only person left standing.
- For students who appear to be struggling, consider reviewing the points covered in the yourDictionary article Spelling Test Study Habits.
Finding High School Level Spelling Words Online
If you’re looking for lists of high school level spelling words online, check out the following helpful Web sites:
- Pocket Basics has a seven page downloadable PDF guide to spelling words for freshman and sophomore high school students.
- Ed Helper offers spelling and vocabulary worksheets for high school students, as well as a number of other lesson plan resources for teachers.
- Free Vocabulary has a list of SAT vocabulary words that will work well for high school spelling lessons.
- Teacher’s Lounge has a short list of advanced spelling words suitable for use by high school students.
- OzSpeller has an interactive online spelling game with advanced words that high school students may enjoy.
- The Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee Consolidated Word List provides more than 22,000 challenging spelling words.
The YourDictionary Web site also has a list of 100 Most Often Misspelled Words in English that you can use to help your high school students improve their spelling abilities. Mnemonic clues are provided for each word to use as helpful study guides.