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Struggling with spelling can be embarrassing as a child and even more embarrassing as we grow older.  Some people might think that because there is spell check on our phones and our computers and because we rarely physically write notes to employees, that spelling is not as necessary as it used to be.  But have you ever wasted time guessing how to spell a word right and spell check keeps underlining it in red because it is incorrect, or your phone keeps auto correcting the wrong word?  Word prediction software is not always reliable, and can cause embarrassing mistakes.  Some people might struggle with this more than others and part of this struggle comes from not learning the basics when we learn spelling in grade school.  To start to tackle spelling issues, you need to first acknowledge some common spelling mistakes. orton-gillingham spelling programs

Common spelling mistakes:

  1. Suffix Spelling Rules:  A suffix is added to the end of a word to change a base word’s meaning.  An example of a suffix is -ing as in fish vs fishing or -ed as in bat vs battedCheck out more suffix and prefix examples here. There are three main suffix spelling rules.  Suffix spelling rules are going to be addressed in a new and upcoming Silver Moon Spelling Rules Instructor’s Manual coming in 2021!
    1. Doubling Rule: Both kids and some adults get confused about when to double the final consonant before adding a suffix like, hop vs hopping or bat vs. batting.  The rule is this: When you have a base word that ends with a CVC pattern and you are adding a vowel suffix double the final consonant in the base. (for accented syllables)
    2. Drop Rule: This rule can also be confusing because many students are already confused about silent e, so adding a suffix to a silent e word adds another layer of confusion.  Here’s the rule.  Drop silent e from a base word before adding any vowel suffix. Examples are hope and hoping and make and making.  There are exceptions, though. orton-gillingham spelling program Base words ending in ce and ge will not drop silent e unless the suffix begins with an e, i or y.  This is because e, i, and y make the c and g say a soft sound.  For example: nice and nicely, huge and hugely.
    3. Change Rule: Many students forget that the change rule deals with the letter Y. They confuse this with the drop rule because Y often says long E at the end of words and the drop rule deals with E.  Hopefully this is clear to follow!  Here’s the rule.  When a base word ends with the letter Y, change the Y to I before adding any suffix.  Watch out for a couple complications here.  Use -es to make a plural word. Do not change Y to I when the base ends with an I or a vowel team.  English words don’t have double i’s.

2. One Word or Two Words: Combining two words to make one new word creates a compound word.  This gets confusing for spellers because words like everyday versus every day are both acceptable spellings in the English language but are used differently.  Other examples that can be confusing are seashell vs sea shell, hot dog vs hotdog, gameday vs game day, etc.  Oftentimes only one form of the word is correct, and it can be hard to know which one to choose.

3. Problems with Homophones: Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings or uses.  The most commonly misused homophone would be their, they’re, and there.  Some other examples are witch and which or weather and whether.  Homophones present a big stumbling block when it comes to spell check.  These words are commonly misused because though they may be spelled correctly it doesn’t mean they are used correctly.  One tip to help with usage is an app called, Grammarly.  This is an amazingly helpful tool!

4. Irregular Words:  Let’s face it, there are words in our language that just don’t seem to follow any sort of normal pattern or rule.  When it comes to irregular words we need to rely on memorization as opposed to understanding and applying a spelling rule or deriving the logic of spelling from the origin of the word.  You’ll have better luck remembering how to spell irregular words if you can attach some logic to the illogical spelling patterns and use simultaneously multisensory strategies 

(visual/auditory/kinesthetic).  Some examples of irregular words are: Tuesday, Wednesday, often, does, goes, and through.  Using sensory sand is one example of a simultaneously multisensory technique.  As a student traces the word in the sand they are able to see the letters in the sand while at the same time feeling the formation of the letters, and at the same time hearing the letters as they say them aloud while spelling.  

These four areas commonly cause trouble, when spelling, for children and adults alike.  Spelling mistakes are even more difficult to overcome especially if the speller has dyslexia or dysgraphia.  Silver Moon Spelling Rules is an Orton-Gillingham based spelling program.  Orton-Gillingham is a method that allows students to get the level of individualized, explicit, and structured learning they need to succeed. Our experts at READ Learning continue to grow the Silver Moon Spelling Rules product line to help students, teachers, and parents succeed together. Check out our full product line here.


Teachers and parents often struggle to find the right tools to help students with spelling and/or reading difficulties. Dyslexia and dysgraphia are the most common reasons a person will struggle to spell.  To help students with either learning disability, Silver Moon uses an Orton-Gillingham approach, an explicit, structured, cumulative, and multisensory technique, that builds a deep understanding of reading and spelling for our students.


Here are five benefits of Silver Moon, an Orton-Gillingham influenced program:

  1. Orton-Gillingham is perfect for individualized learning - Individualizing helps teachers dial into each student's different struggles and needs. Spelling trouble does not look the same for everyone, so analyzing a student's struggles on an individual level helps a teacher adjust their lessons accordingly to benefit the student.  Each manual is loaded with, “Tips and Tricks” to help with individualizing.  Instructor’s manuals also contain pre and posttests as well as practice pages to measure student growth.  
  2. A multisensory approach - When neurons fire together they wire together.  Silver Moon employs several simultaneously multisensory strategies.  Students use visual, auditory and kinesthetic modalities to benefit learning and retention.  Two examples of this are finger spelling and syllable tapping.
  3. Memory - Students with dyslexia often have difficulty retaining information long enough  for it to be stored in long term memory.  Silver Moon Spelling Rules Kits help.  Our spelling rule cards are designed with brightly colored and engaging graphics that create memory triggers. Each rule’s name is a mnemonic.  Definitions are clearly and concisely stated on the back of each card.  The visual images are exciting for students to collect and talk about.  Students also enjoy searching for hidden picture clues.  This all supports memory systems.
  4. Skilled spellers become skilled readers - Orton-Gillingham programs like Silver Moon Spelling Rules understand that alphabetic principle, phonics, and phonemic awareness are all important. These skills are taught throughout.  Students also build an understanding and awareness of syllables and syllable division rules. This, in turn, improves reading skills.
  5. Learning with the use of Orton-Gillingham tools - Students with dyslexia benefit from having the right tools and the right type of instruction. The Silver Moons Spelling Rules Kits include easy to use instructions for teachers, specialists, and parents to help students who are struggling due to underlying learning differences.

Dyslexia and other underlying learning difficulties can be hard to teach and, for students, hard to overcome. Orton-Gillingham is a method that allows students to get the level of individualized, explicit, and structured learning they need to succeed. Our experts at READ Learning continue to grow the Silver Moon Spelling Rules product line to help students, teachers, and parents succeed together. Check out our full product line here.

Written by: Dan Patrick, Parent & Guest Blogger
That's right...  I was the kid in grade school that had zero stars on the class "Spelling Stars" chart at the end of my 4th-grade year.  To give some perspective, this chart was large, colorful and hung proudly next to the door for everyone to see.  Each week, a spelling test consisting of 20 words was given to the class.  If you spelled all 20 correctly, you received a nice, shiny gold star next to your name.At the end of the year, a few kids had 34-36 stars.  This gave them supreme bragging rights (we affectionately called them nerds).  The majority of my classmates had somewhere between 15-30 stars and a few "not so gifted and talented" kids only had 5-10 stars.  And there I was, dead last with exactly zero stars.  I remember feeling like the dumbest kid in the world.Well, the story ends well.  I recognized that I had strengths in math and science and eventually learned that I wasn't dumb, but that I needed to figure out how I learned.

Poor Spelling is often a Sign of Dyslexia or other Learning Disabilities

Image result for dyslexia percentage of populationUnfortunately, some are not so lucky.  Researchers believe that 15-20% of the population is affected by dyslexia, with the top 10% being severe enough to need some type of learning intervention and other supports and accommodations.  Dyslexia is a learning disability that is neurobiological in origin and is considered a language acquisition disorder that primarily affects reading fluency, spelling, and reading words in isolation.  There are many other symptoms of dyslexia and they persist despite having quality teachers, caring and involved parents and regular school attendance.

Spelling Instruction that Makes Sense!
This leads us to the reason for this post.  In addition to one-on-one online and in-person instruction, Read Learning Educational Services, LLC offers professional development courses on systematic and multi-sensory spelling instruction using the Silver Moon® Spelling Rules program.  The most recent course offering is designed for educators, private practitioners and dyslexia specialists and answers 5 key questions:

For more information, contact Kelly at

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