How to improve your spelling

Memorising words

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There are lots of words which don't fit into a 'spelling rule' and these can be difficult to remember. Luckily, there are two methods described below to help you remember these words; using mnemonics and visualising words.


A mnemonic is a rhyme or sentence of which the first letter of each word helps you to remember something. The most well known mnemonic is probably: Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain. If you take the first letter of each of these words, you get: R O Y G B I V. This helps you to remember to colours of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.

In spelling, you use each letter of the word to make a sentence.

For example:

Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants

This mnemonic helps you to remember how to spell the word 'BECAUSE'.

You can also use partial mnemonics to help you remember parts of words that you find tricky. For example, in order to remember that there is one C and two S's in 'necessary', you can think that there is 'one Collar and two Sleeves' on a shirt.

Activity: using mnemonics to aid your spelling - 20 minutes

1. Pick five words that you find hard to spell, come up with Mnemonics or partial mnemonics for these. The Mnemonics don't necessarily have to make sense, so long as you can remember them!

Visualising words

The best spellers in the world do not say the word they are trying to spell in their head, the see it in their mind. This may sound a little strange, but if you learn new words by remembering what they look like instead of how they sound, you will soon get used to this method.

Activity: visualising words to aid your spelling - 20 minutes

1. Pick five more words that you find difficult to spell.

2. For each word, spend time looking at the word and remembering how each letter looks in relation to its neighbour.

3. Close your eyes and try to see the word in your mind. (You may need to repeat steps 2 and 3 a few times.)

4. When you think you can remember how the word looks really clearly, write it down.

5. Check back to make sure you got it right.

Try to learn all new words like this as it will help you to remember how to spell difficult words.

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