Friday, March 26, 2010

Cast a Spell

I must admit I like spelling. Ever since I won the weekly spelling bee in third grade on the word mischievous, it’s kind of been my thing. I never won first place again but I was always in the top three. There's nothing like rote repetition to get those words into your brain.

But if you didn't have the pleasure of a 1950s style Catholic school education, your spelling skills might be a bit lacking. Here's some ways to beef up your skills now.

1. Play. I recently discovered the game Bananagrams. The more words you know, the better you'll be at this fun crossword style game. Play word games. Do the crossword. Try the Jumble in the paper. Merriam Webster has word games online. Play.

2. Read. Being a good speller goes along with being a good reader. Read, and look up words you don't know. The Kindle has a feature where you can tap into a dictionary anytime. That's a reader's dream. Read if you want to be a good speller.

3. Study another language. Knowing foreign languages helps with spelling. The semester or two of Latin I had was golden. If you can figure out the root of the word or the origin, you can usually figure out how to spell it.

4. Turn off Spell Check.The danger of mixing up correctly spelled words is always a problem with using the spelling program in your word processor. But I see a bigger difficulty. Just as the GPS is ruining my sense of direction, spell check is playing havoc with my spelling. Spelling is a skill that you will lose if you don't use it.

If you want to see what lengths spellers will go to, watch the documentary, Spellbound. It's a delightful movie about kids going to the National Spelling Bee.

Here's to becoming a better speller...


Jeanne C. said...

Here, here!

I am obsessed with spelling. I can't stand when people (adults) spell something wrong.
(I too was a spelling bee, Catholic school girl - 1970's) :)

Linda O. Johnston said...

I enjoy spelling, too, Terri. I'll have to check out Bananagrams. Another word game I like is TextTwist. It's timed, and I can play it when my mind is temporarily stuck on a plotting issue and needs a short diversion.

Monica Ferris said...

You're right about the GPS spoiling a sense of direction; it's doing that to me and mine. But it would be hard to turn off spell check, I'm already spoiled by it. I'm still a pretty good speller -- another Catholic grade school graduate here.

Camille Minichino said...

Public school, but still loved spelling and remember getting a green pencil (standard issue) and pink eraser when I won a bee in the 5th grade!

Terri Thayer said...

I knew I was among friends here. Spellers of the world unite!