How can someone improve on his/her spelling skills?

Nigeria
December 29, 2008 4:06pm CST
I have always wanted to be a writer, but I always find it difficult spelling some simple words. Sometimes I find it funny but its not funny anymore. At my age and with my level of education, I dont think such should happen. What should I do to improve on it?
1 person likes this
8 responses
@nishdan01 (3055)
• Singapore
30 Dec 08
Check the spelling twice. Learn and read more and use a spell checker if possible.
@Idlewild (6105)
• United States
30 Dec 08
The problem with spell checkers is that they don't help a person learn to spell. And they don't know how a word is being used in a sentence, so you may use "won" instead of "one" and it won't know the difference. Also, a person is not going to have access to a spell checker unless they are on a computer.
@lvaldean (1612)
• United States
1 Jan 09
You have gotten some very good suggestions. I write in several different forums and under several different circumstances, both for the creative outlet and professionally. There is no surefire way to improve. I am a terrible speller left to my own devices. I type as I think, my spelling doesn't always keep up. I should worry about it in every forum including myLot, which would help to improve me overall, but I don't. So here are my suggestions for improvement: 1. Read! Read books in different genres so that you have a broad pool of word usage. Read both fiction and non-fiction. 2. Do crossword puzzles, the NY Times is one of the best. Only do puzzles that are actual word puzzles though stay away from those that are things like movies or celebrity focused, they won't teach you a thing. 3. Find someone you trust to "peer review" or edit your writing for you. They should be looking for spelling, grammar, punctuation, word use (eg. to, too, two). 4. Always walk away from your completed work for at least 1 hour and then re-read it as if it is new material that you have not read before. You have to learn to separate yourself from your own work so you are able to identify problems. 5. Use a good Word Processing system with both spell checker and grammar checker in it. Then use both spell and grammar checkers religiously, they won't catch everything but they will catch the big stuff. 6. Practice, practice, practice: really it is a matter of writing and practice.
@Vicstar (98)
31 Dec 08
Nwike, If you want to write, just write and enjoy the creative process. As another post stated you can always get a friend to read it through or employ a proof reading agent for anything really important. I am writing as an ex- dyslexia specialist. Now I have no way of knowing whether, or not, you may have a dyslexic profile - that would be for an educational psychologist to check out if appropriate. However, from many years of working with children and teachers who want to specialise in this field there are a number of things that are quite clear to me. The first is that the point of writing is to communicate. There is nothing more stultifying to the art of communication than worrying about details such as spelling. If you have things you want to write about, then concentrate on the content without worrying about spelling errors. These can be addressed later on if you decide that your written work is worthy of a wider audience. The second point is that when teaching literacy related skills it is very much easier to address problems a child may have when they are young than when they are older - it is commonly said that one year of specialist input at primary level (eg around 7-9 years) is worth two at secondary level. I personally would say it is worth considerably more than this. The reason for this is simply that if you learn the correct spelling patterns when you are young they become automatic. Children who have specific difficulties with spelling unfortunately tend to repeat error patterns and thus do not get the opportunity to reinforce correct learning at a point in time when it would be relatively easy to consolidate that learning. So it is very much harder to change such learned patterns as an adult. The third point I would make is that many people with specific difficulties of the dyslexic type are highly talented and creative individuals. But many of them feel inadequate at some level possibly because they realise themselves that their spelling and possibly some other aspects of their personal development were below par by comparison with their peers at school. Estimates of dyslexia vary - but figures quoted often range from 10-20%. Einstein and many other famous people are thought to have been dyslexic. Of course - you could just be a bad speller, or you may be a normal speller who is hung up about spelling accuracy! I have no way of knowing. But if you are worried about any of the issues I have mentioned you are welcome to send me a pm and I will do whatever I can to put anything I have said into context at a personal level. I am assuming in saying all this that you have access to a computer - whilst the spell checker will not pick up all error patterns it will pick up obvious ones and help to reinforce the correct spelling patterns. Good luck - get writing - enjoy - and don't feel bad about the spellos - just get a friend to check stuff through for you when it matters for a wider audience!
• United States
31 Dec 08
I don't know if this will help you, but doing crossword puzzles has improved my spelling. Also, I try to picture the word in my head.
@Idlewild (6105)
• United States
30 Dec 08
To me the best way is to read a lot, because then you get used to seeing words spelled correctly. That way you just come to understand the way words are spelled and don't have to look up words in a dictionary as often. And by reading I mean books, newspapers, etc. because many online blogs, articles, writing communities, etc. have a lot of typos and misspellings. Good spelling is a great skill to have in the workplace and elsewhere... good luck!
@tjhtommyj (261)
• Canada
30 Dec 08
It depends how much trouble you have with spelling. If it's because your not familiar with the words you are using and the sounds they make, the best suggestion I can give is to read sophisticated writing. The more challenging writing you read, the more familiar you become with challenging words and sounds the easier it will be to use the words effectively and spell them correctly. If it's a thought process thing then try various teaching tools like hooked on phonicks. Eventually you'll work your way to the point where it's only a familiarity thing and can begin to challenge yourself with more sophisticated writing then what you're used to. No matter the approach you take it will be a long and challenging process and something you'd really have to commit to. It's not something that will change overnight.
• United States
29 Dec 08
hi nwike...you're not alone. some good steps to take are to read a lot, write a lot, check your spelling with a dictionary, and learn common misspelled words.
@ichandel (47)
29 Dec 08
hi this may sound childish but thats what u need to do there is a phonics system used to teach children from 5 onwards in how to read and write u can get it on the net or good bookshops if u follow the sounds then u ll find that ur spellings have improved tremendously..i use it to teach my kids and my son is above average in his class