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WT 250 Becoming a Better Speller

Teacher Tips and Answers


WT 250

© Thoughtful Learning 2025

Page 250

Becoming a Better Speller

Do you realize that when you can spell one word, you have a head start on learning to spell many others? That’s right. For example, if you can spell night, you’ll find it easier to spell light, lightly, lightning, and lighthouse.

Basic Steps

There are spelling rules to help you, too. (The tricky part is that some words just don’t fit the rules.) In this chapter, we will tell you four ways to become a better speller:

    1. Use strategies to help you spell.

    2. Make a spelling dictionary.

    3. Proofread for spelling.

    4. Learn some basic spelling rules.

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1. Use strategies to help you spell.

    Study your words.

    • Read the word aloud. (unspeakable)
    • Write it syllable by syllable. (un/speak/a/ble)
    • Look for “meaning units” such as prefixes (un), roots (speak), and suffixes (able).
    • Study how the vowels are spelled. (The long e sound in speak is spelled “ea.”)
    • Speak and write the word from memory.
    • Check the spelling. Try again, if needed.

    Use a saying.

    • A friend sticks with you to the end. (This saying helps you remember that the e goes after the i in the word friend.)

    Think of similar words.

    • two twin twenty       tow toward

    Use an acrostic.

    • Arithmetic
      A rat in the house might eat the ice cream.
    Arithmetic Mouse
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2. Make a spelling dictionary.

    In a small notebook, put one letter of the alphabet at the top of each page. (A goes at the top of the first page, B goes at the top of the second page, and so on.) Each time you learn a new word, write it in your spelling dictionary.

    Next to each new word, write as many word relatives as you can think of. For example, nights, nightly, nightmare, nightfall, and nightstand are word relatives for night.

3. Proofread for spelling.

    Proofreading for spelling is one of the last things you do before you call your writing finished. When you’re not sure of a spelling, circle the word. Then check the spelling in a dictionary or in your handbook. (See pages 340–343 for a spelling list.)

4. Learn some basic spelling rules.

    Rules can help you spell many words. But remember that there are exceptions to the rules. (An exception is a word that doesn’t fit the rule.)

Silent E Rule
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Words Ending in Y
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Consonant Endings
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I Before E
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Lesson Plan Resources:

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Vocabulary List:
  • acrostic: memory aid using the first letter of words to spell another word

  • syllable: part of a word pronounced as one unit, usually a vowel with one or more consonants

Vocabulary List:
  • exception: example that does not follow the rule

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