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Impediments to Spelling

The nature of the English language contributes to spelling difficulties in several ways. These difficulties are explored in detail, through examples, on the pages that follow.

As you review these pages, you will note that a speller must remember several factors when learning to spell new words. For example, the sound of long a (|ā|) can be written in at least eighteen ways. How many students realize that the |ā| is spelled et in words of French origin, such as chalet and bouquet? Other unique factors that provide problems for spellers are also addressed. After studying these pages, you will also conclude that a strong visual memory contributes significantly to spelling success.

Keep in mind these two considerations when making decisions about spelling words to be studied:

  • Students should only study high-use words that are part of their reading and listening vocabularies.
  • Meanings of words should already be known before formal spelling is undertaken.


The following pages are reprinted from "Spell Smart" by Linda Barney and Robert Forest. 1996. Curriculum Associates.


Spelling Guide

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