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The importance of spelling

I have helped to create the SpellingCity.com website which has become a mainstay of many tens or even hundreds of thousands of students. Sometimes, I’m asked to explain why I think spelling is important.  Here’s  a draft of my rationale for answering this question.   I write this aware that as I type, the computer is prompting me whenever I type in a word that is not properly spelt and where most writing is done on keyboards with built-in spelling support. 

1. Reading:  Learning phonics is dramatically helped by focusing not just on “decoding” but also spelling skills or encoding.

2. Writing: While you can tell students to  “not worry about spelling, to just focus on writing”,”  that is contrary to many human’s nature. Nobody wants to sound stupid. And bad spelling makes us sound stupid. So it’s natural to think about spelling while you are trying to compose an essay. If you are a bad speller, the cognitive overhead of thinking about spelling distracts the student from writing.

3. Vocabulary skills. Spelling lists are the natural means to focus on word roots, suffixes, and prefixxes. 

4. Grammar. Subject verb  agreement, getting the plural and possessives right, and working with the past, present, and present tense….alll done with spelling.

 SpellingCity has two articles that deal with these questions:

  • The Importance of Spelling