Spelling Problems: Strategies to Deal With Them

A spelling problem is a writing disability when a person has difficulty pronouncing letters or words. People with spelling problems might be limited in their vocabulary and may have trouble writing complex words or sentences.

There are several causes of spelling problems, but the most common is dysgraphia. This article will delve into spelling problems amongst students and how to manage them.

Spelling Disorder

A person with a spelling problem will often have difficulty with explicating written language, producing cohesive text, and spelling, among other things. Spelling disorders, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyspraxia, are caused by complicated cerebral malfunctions. Children with dyslexia have spelling, sounds, word recognition, and word-mixing difficulties.

Spelling disorders can range from mild to severe; they can have many different outcomes and effects on a student’s life. Disorders can result in difficulty remembering the shapes and sounds of the letters and the inability to read and spell well.

Causes of Spelling Problems

Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dysgraphia, and dyspraxia are often associated with spelling problems.

Dyslexia can lead to difficulty hearing the sounds in words, making it harder to find the letters to map phonemes. Dysgraphia is a disorder in which the individual struggles with writing, reading, or typing words, usually due to a condition such as visual impairment. Both conditions lead to incorrect letter order and incorrect use of letters with similar shapes.

Another cause of spelling problems is a lack of knowledge of spelling rules and the ability to apply them to unfamiliar words. Most children who struggle with spelling understand basic rules of writing and can apply them to a word they have read before. However, they lack the knowledge to apply those rules to an unfamiliar word, which is crucial to spelling.

Strategies to Help Children With Spelling Problems

Spelling problems can have adverse effects on reading, writing, and pronouncing words, making it difficult to read or spell. It can also lower a child’s self-esteem. This is why a school’s curriculum should include learning how to spell words.

The following strategies can help you deal with children’s spelling problems.

1. Focus on Phonics.

Phonic rules will enable dyslexic students to link letter symbols with their sounds more accurately. When teaching them a word, focus on its structure.

Spelling instructions should include several senses, such as sight, sound and touch. Make your students practice spelling with oral spelling tests to help them become familiar with the sounds.

2. Employ the Use of Mnemonics

Some words are easier to remember than others; there are times when hard-to-spell words can cause a speller unnecessary stress and distress. This is particularly true if the term is generic, making it less amenable to memorization. For such words, it could help to develop a mnemonic device based on associations to help children learn the spelling.

3. Teach Homophones.

Words that sound alike but have different meanings and spellings are homophones. English homophones, such as new and knew, can bechallenging for children learning to spell.

Teach homophones to children and make them understand their meanings. This might require extra time and attention, but it’s worth it. You can make it easier by writing it down, letting them say them out loud, and differentiating between both.

4. Typing

Some students might find it inconvenient to use a keyboard, but typing can help them learn to spell faster. Also, it will help them distinguish similar-looking keys by the letters on them, which will help them memorize the letter shapes.

As well as seeing the words typed on the screen; their muscle memory will prevent them from making mistakes after typing multiple times. Before letting children practice spelling using the computer, turn off the spellcheckers.

5. Introduce a Multisensory Approach and Fun Games.

A child with spelling difficulties can learn to spell much more quickly by playing fun spelling games. Take advantage of activities that involve visual and auditory learning while incorporating kinesthetic learning. Students may work together to spell out words by posing in different letter-shaped postures.

Making someone with Dysphraphia write on paper won’t be fruitful since it’s frustrating for them to hold a pen. Ask them to use their fingers on sand or air to spell a word. Ask them to say the word aloud while they write it.

6. Use a Professional Dyslexia Tutor.

Dyslexia leads to difficulty in expressing thoughts in writing. A professional dyslexia tutor as opposed to a teacher in a classroom setting, will help a dyslexic child learn better.

With the help of a professional, one would have better improvement in spelling due to the flexibility, and individualization of an at-home experience.

girl boss text on brown background
Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

To Wrap Up

It is important to remember that spelling problems can be solved. The first step is to identify the spelling challenge your child is experiencing and its cause. For dyslexic students, a professional tutor may be able to make a massive difference in their resiliency and success rates.

The strategies highlighted in this article will help you address your child’s spelling problems.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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