Middle School Spelling Tips

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Know the Rules

Spelling isn’t just about memorizing the order of letters in a word. It’s also about knowing the rules and the exceptions to the rules of the English language. Common rules to know include: i comes before e except after c and the silent e helps a vowel say its name. However, students should also make a point to memorize words that don’t following the rules. For example the word weird puts the i after the e without the presence of a c. To learn how to spell derivatives, students need to learn the rules for pluralizes words–like when to add an s or es or dropping the e on many verbs when adding an ing.

Do Practice Tests

To figure out which words are giving students a difficult time, students should do practice tests with a parents, older sibling, or tutor before taking the final spelling test in school. Once the student isolates her problem words, she can focus on those words by pronouncing them aloud as she looks at the written word. After saying the word, she closes her eyes and tries to visualize the word in her mind, spelling it out loud as she does. She opens her eyes, looks at the word one last time, covers it up, then writes it out according to memory. Students should repeats these steps until they can spell all their vocabulary words correctly.

Break Words Apart

Sometimes it’s easy to learn to spell words in pieces than memorizing a long string of letters all together. To do this, break words apart into syllables such as re-mem-ber-ing and memorize the syllables. You can also break some longer words into smaller words when learning to spell. For examples, turn together into to get her or tomorrow into tom or row.

Memory Tricks

Come up with memory tricks to help students remember how to spell out difficult vobaculary words. For example, desert (an arid place with very little plant life) and dessert (a sweet treat) are often confused and misued. To tell the two words apart, remember that dessert is so sweet that it has two s‘s in it. Or if a word has a lot of repeat letters such as Mississippi, keep count of the number of each letter. For example, Mississippi contains one m, four s‘s, and two p‘s.


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