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What are some common spelling mistakes?

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.


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