Share this Page URL

Chapter 18. Guide to Spelling: Hooked on... > Quick and Dirty Tricks of the Trade - Pg. 181

Guide to Spelling: Hooked on Phonics 181 Spelling is important. The word spell itself underscores this importance. It derives from the Middle English word spellen, which means "to read out." The word spelling is related to an Old English word meaning "to talk." So now that you know you can run but you can't hide, let's get to work polishing your spelling. Quick and Dirty Tricks of the Trade Whatever your level of skill, you can benefit from the following eight time-tested spelling tricks. They're easy--and they work. Try them all, or pick and choose the ones that suit your needs. 1. Classify errors.Why not specialize? Figure out what words pose the most trouble for you and concentrate on those errors. For example, if you have a problem with words that contain ie, study the "ie" rule and concentrate on the words that follow the rules and the major exceptions. Break words down into smaller parts.For example, to spell bookkeeper, break the word down to its two parts: book and keeper. Then you won't forget there's a double k in the middle of the word. Do word puzzles and games.There are many different kinds to choose from, including cross- words, acrostics, Scrabble, and Boggle. Each type of word puzzle or game gives you practice in spelling. As a bonus, doing puzzles also teaches you vocabulary. So what if it includes some useless words? You want, maybe, everything? 2. 3. Strictly Speaking Compound words divide most easily into parts because they are made by combining individual words. For example: cross-dressing, chambermaid, four-poster. 4. Use dictionaries.I know, I know, looking up a word is a pain. So is exercise, but they both work. Using a dictionary will help you remember a word's spelling and its exact meaning. Quoth the Maven Print dictionaries don't run out of batteries; handheld computerized dictionaries are light and easy to carry. It's your call. Just be sure to use a dictionary. 5. 6. Try air writing.No, it's not a New Age crystal thing; it's what Miss Nelson taught you in the fourth grade. To check the spelling of a word or to learn the spelling of an unfamiliar word, try writing it in the air. Guess and check.It's a free country; you're allowed to guess. To check the spelling of a word, make a guess. Write it down and see how it looks. If the planets are aligned, you'll be able to see if you're right or wrong. You'll probably also be able to see where you went wrong: omitted letter, double letter, wrong letter. Quoth the Maven