Good Spelling is Related to Good Pronunciation

Spelling seems to have become the bane of many people’s existence. I’d even argue that people are nearly as willing to accept being bad at spelling as they are at math. I’m not even sure half my students are even given weekly spelling words anymore.

Amazingly, a fair number of my students don’t pronounce words correctly, and this shows when they go to try to sound out a word so they can write it. We do this great job in reading programs of teaching children how to decode unfamiliar words by sounding them out.  It doesn’t seem to occur to anyone that sounding out is a skill that spans more than just reading. It’s a great plan of attack for writing a word you aren’t sure how to spell.

Provided you’re saying the word correctly.

I think we can all agree that the word many people pronounce “NOO-ku-lar” (either seriously or in fun) is not spelled “nucular” or anything similar. That’s because the word is pronounced “NEW-klee-ur” and as such is spelled “nuclear”.

Another favorite misspelling I see among my students when they try to sound out a spelling involves the syllable “pre”. Nearly every single one of my darlings pronounces this syllable “per”, and as such spell it out as “per” or “pur”

If you have a word you can’t spell to save your life, think about how you’re pronouncing it. Go look up the pronunciation in a dictionary just to be certain. It doesn’t work for every word (have to love those “outlaw words”), but I bet you’ll find your spelling improving by leaps and bounds!


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