Spelling Letters Teacher Guide to Spelling and Activities

Spelling is fun for some, but hard for many. With so many words out there that not only sound the same, but can even have similar meanings it's hard to remember what goes where.

By using some common spelling rules as a guide you will learn that spelling can be really easy. Words generally are spelled in set patterns, instead of running wild and being spelled however they like. Back when the English language was being created much thought went into how words were spelled, and then what prefixes and suffixes (beginnings and endings) fit to make bigger words. Once you've become used to recognizing patterns in words you'll have no problem deciding how they should be spelled.

Here are some of the most important common spelling rules:

  1. The letter Q is always followed by the letter U, like in the words queen, quarrel and quack.
  2. The letter I comes before E (piece, field), except when it comes after the letter C (conceive, deceive) or if the combination of I and E makes the sound "A" like in neighbor.
  3. The letter S never comes after X, as X already makes the necessary sound like in fix or six.
  4. The letter I very rarely comes at the end of a word. The letter Y is used in its place for words like shy and reply.
  5. To spell words with a short vowel sound, only one vowel is ever needed like in the words cup, stop and tin.

There are a few rules regarding suffixes, or word endings:

  1. 1. If the word has a silent E at the end take it off before adding a suffix that starts with a vowel like -ing or -ish. For example, the word tickle becomes ticklish. This only changes if the end of the original word is -ce or -ge, in which case the E stays. For example manage becomes manageable.
  2. If a word ends with Y and there is a consonant before the Y, change the Y to and I. For example the word delivery becomes deliveries.
  3. When adding a suffix to a word with a single vowel before the last consonant, or a word that ends in an accented syllable or one syllable word, always double that last consonant. For example stop becomes stopping, and fit becomes fitted.
  4. Words that use two L's change to one L when adding as a prefix, or beginning. For example the prefix all becomes always.

You'll likely come across more spelling rules as your vocabulary increases but these are the stepping stones that will start you on the way to acing that next spelling test. Before you know it you will be seeing words in patterns that will help you recognize when things need to be changed, like the in the addition of suffixes and prefixes.

The best way to get a hang of it is to take a page from any book and copy ten words from a paragraph. Look at the word and see if you recognize any patterns, and then turn them over and spell them out on another piece of paper. You'll be a pro before you know it!

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