Spelling is not just speech written down.
In fact, spelling is more consistent with the visual aspects of print. For example, the ‘c’ in the words ‘medical’ and ‘medicine’ has different sounds when spoken but looks the same in print. For example, in the spoken word ‘medical’, the ‘c’ sounds like a ‘k’ whereas in the spoken word ‘medicine’ the ‘c’ sounds like an ‘s’. In the written word, the graphic representation does not change and therefore is more consistent.
One of the best methods for learning spelling words incorporates both visual and sound elements and is known as the look-cover-write-check method.
It involves the following steps:
1. Look carefully at the targeted word and carefully note the graphic features of the word.
2. Cover the word and try and see the word in the mind’s eye.
3. Write the word.
4. Check that the word is the same as the original targeted word.
A fifth and sixth step could be added to consolidate word learning and to connect with background knowledge.
5. Think about the meaning of the word or find a word meaning in the dictionary, and use the word in a new sentence.
6. Identify morphemes that are present within the word and add other morphemes such as prefixes and suffixes as a word-building exercise.
From: Woolley, G. (In Print). Teaching literacy in the primary classroom. London: Sage.