The following is Chapter 15 from my book, Teaching English, How To…. (Xlibris, 2004).
Question: In the age of computers, is spelling still a worthwhile subject in the English curriculum?
Answer: A complete spelling program aims at building confidence in spelling and includes teaching students how to spell words predictably misspelled, how to solve specific spelling problems, how to visualize correct spelling and how to proofread for spelling.
Other Spelling Problems
consensus; expense; nuisance; offense; hypocrisy; defense; glacier; license; licorice.
Pronunciation: words often mispronounced or not pronounced the way they are spelled:
Amateur, Antarctic, athletic, auxiliary, bargain, biscuit, buoyant, caterpillar, chamois, circuit, cocoa, comptroller, diphtheria, environment, familiar, February, formerly, gauge, government, handkerchief, height, hygiene, infinitesimal, larynx, league, library, literature, maneuver, minuscule, parliament, plaid, probably, raspberry, rendezvous, restaurant, restaurateur, villain, Wednesday, yolk.
Words Frequently Confused
Cereal/serial; colonel/kernel; compliment (praise)/ complement (complete); stationary (stay in one place)/stationery (paper); principle (rule)/ principal (main or school principal).
Benign, consignment, debt, diaphragm, eighth, foreign, gingham, guarantee, guess, guest, hemorrhage, indict, khaki, malign, mortgage, pneumonia, pseudonym, psychology, ptomaine, receipt, rendezvous, rhythm, yolk.
Students’ Own Spelling Demons
Students should keep a list of words they frequently misspell when they write. Of course, they can put these words into the “auto-correct” feature of their word processors and, when using the computer, if they misspell the word, it will be corrected automatically without their conscious awareness. But it also helps to organize the personal list of misspelled words according to the spelling problem they represent and to use the techniques introduced in the spelling program to help them master the correct spelling for times when they are not using computers.
Note: You won’t be able to cover all the spelling problems in a single year. Best to begin in grade 7 and spread the problems through grade 10.
Next Blog: Proofreading and Summary