How to Spell Words: Tips From Spelling Gurus
Note: Julie Bradley has been an educator for more than 30 years. Her expertise has taken her to outback Australia and around the world presenting to educators and parents on spelling and foundational skills. Mrs Bradley is Managing Director of Smart Achievers, a worldwide distributor for Smart Words Spelling, Reading and Perceptual Motor Programs.
Do you know a kid who feels so much shame for not being able to read and spell that they don’t want to go to school? A kid who’s very frustrated because they just can’t figure out how to spell or read words? Or perhaps you have a kid who believes they’re “dumb” because they’re struggling while everyone else ‘gets it’? How many of you have changed the word you want to write because you can’t spell it?
Although school is for learning, it just breaks my heart to think that many kids do view themselves that way. And it’s stories like this one that pushed me to travel to Minnesota, USA to work with English guru, Denise Eide.
Denise taught a group of us how to make reading and writing easier for kids to learn how to spell words. I’m so excited by what I learnt that I decided to share some of it with you.
30 spelling rules and 74 phonograms
‘Aha!’ moments seemed to happen frequently for me as Denise shared her research and knowledge. They included her explanations of the 30 Spelling Rules and 74 Phonograms. It is so much easier if you know this stuff!
By the way, a phonogram is the picture of a sound.
Phonograms represent the sound, whereas letters don’t.
For example, the phonogram G represents /g/ and /j/. The rules explain its usage.
The group can now argue why most English words (98%) follow the rules and explain away all those exceptions people seem to think exist.
Denise’s explanations were simple. They made so much sense that I find it easy to remember them.
I’m bringing home some packs of her Rule Cards for all of you and they will be available as soon as my shipment arrives. Every teacher, parent and child will want one. They are brilliant and with them you’ll be creating spelling champions in no time.
Learn the history of phonograms
Denise told us fascinating stories about the history of phonograms which will make teaching them so much more interesting.
Can you believe that the reason we have O representing the /u/ in ‘mother’ and ‘love’ is because the monks who had to copy script, many hundreds of years ago, found there were too many up and down strokes if they used a U? Can you guess what they did? They changed the U to an O.
Try writing the words as ‘muther’ and ‘luve’ and you can see how confusing it is.
Denise calls them the Lazy Monks.
I imagine that with a bit of flourish the kids would love the story and they will never forget how to spell words that apply to Rule # 3.