Spelling can be a difficult skill to practice since there are so many different ways to spell syllables depending on the language of origin. I used to compete in spelling bees, and a few tricks that helped me were as follows:
These first three are good for studying for a specific spelling test:
1. Group words by etymology if applicable.
If you have several words derived from the same Latin, French, Arabic, etc. root word, it can help you understand the patterns that the language uses. For example, a unit or book may contain many words from the Latin root for "knowledge," scientia. Even though remembering the "s before c rule" can be tricky, this can help you learn how to spell many confusing words: conscience, senscience, etc. This pattern can be helpful for many, many words, especially if you are studying a group of related vocabularly words for a spelling test.
2. Speak it, write it, and trace it on your hand.
Practicing in many formats will help you remember more easily. One trick that helps me practice for spelling bees is to verbally speak the letters while tracing the shape of them on my palm. This combines kinesthetic, auditory, visual, and verbal learning types.
3. Break the word into syllables or "chunks."
- This may seem natural, but by understanding the phonics of each syllable, it can help you understand patterns.
These last handful are more helpful for practicing spelling in general:
1. If you watch TV, leave the closed captions on.
2. When you read books, devote time to marking and looking up any words you are not familiar with.
3. Play word games like online Scrabble and anagrams - for younger students, educational games on ABC Mouse and Cool Math Games may be helpful.