What are the best techniques for a student to improve spelling? Before this question can be addressed accurately, it is necessary to take a look at the common errors in spelling that students make. Then, strategies for addressing each error can be developed and applied.
Based on the National Curriculum for English study, the most common errors fall roughly into the following categories:
Spelling errors are divided into two categories: plausible and implausible. Implausible errors follow no particular pattern; they may simply be due to a mistyped word or a random guess on the part of the student. A high percentage of implausible errors means that the student is probably using words that are very unfamiliar and outside of his/her vocabulary comfort zone. This is not a bad trend to encourage, however, as the time taken to improve spelling is a small price to pay for the new knowledge.
Plausible errors imply that the student both knew the correct word and was applying some known rule of lexicon to it in order to attempt the correct spelling. One of the more frustrating aspects of teaching the English language is the number of exceptions and the lack of phonetic consistency. For this reason, decreasing plausible errors may be the most difficult part of trying to improve spelling.
The following are some of the techniques by which a student may begin to improve spelling:
Perhaps the best strategy for improving spelling, however, is to encourage a student to read more. Simply having the words in front of them, absorbed as a story is unfolding from the pages, will instill an instinct in them that is bound to improve spelling. The more a child reads, the more the way words are written will simply "feel" more or less right to them. With practice, they will begin to sense when a trip to the dictionary might be necessary to validate a word. At the same time, it is often a good idea to have the students read aloud so that the sounds of words associated with the print on the page become more closely associated. This can also avoid errors in pronunciation.
Trying to improve spelling skills is a challenging task. Fortunately, with these strategies and patient work, errors are bound to decrease.