Memory Tricks for Toughies
Snack: Usually, it's no fun to eat
things that are tough. But today, let's tackle words that are tough to spell,
and enjoy a tough-to-chew food - beef jerky! Have lots of ice water on hand to
help you wash it down.
Index cards | markers or colored pencils | dictionary
face it: certain words are just really hard for a lot of people to spell. It's
really tough when the words sound the same, but have different meanings and
usages, and are spelled differently. We call those "homonyms." Other tough
words are spelled differently than they sound.
That's the bad news. The good news is, drawing is
easy for just about everyone. So let's use what's easy to do - draw or
sketch or cartoon - to learn what's hard to do - spell certain words
that often trip you up.
You can make your own deck of flashcards for spelling
words that are tough to get right, and here's how:
Take an index card and write the word or words that
you're studying, either across the top, or down the left-hand side. It really
helps to look up the correct spelling in the dictionary; there's something
powerful about seeing it spelled right, in print, so that you know the word is
spelled right on your card.
You might want to write a very short definition or
two, smaller, to help you make distinctions between words that sound alike but
are spelled differently.
It would help you to underline how sound-alike words
are spelled differently. Between the underlining and adding your own cartoon or
sketch, the visual clues are helpful as you memorize the correct spellings.
If one word is more common than the other, just
illustrate one word to help you remember when to use it. For all other uses,
you'll know to use the other spelling. See "to and too" below.
Then, either underneath each word or to the right of
it, draw a colorful little cartoon or sketch that will help you memorize the
Ask your parents and teachers to help you add to this
list so that you have the words that trip up you and other students the most
often. Come up with your own little cartoons to help you memorize correct
spellings. Add to your stack of "toughies" as you go along, review your cards
from time to time, and after a while, words that are difficult for others will
be easy for you!
Here are a few to get you started:
also, very, more than needed
use "too" if you can substitute one of those
definitions in the sentence
underline the two o's in "too"
and draw things that come in pairs with a plus sign
them, since "too" means "also"
possesses it or owns it;
short for "it is";
you can substitute "it is,"
use the one with the
something that has write
"it is" in colorful,
draw arrows to patterned
letters, and then
thing and what it owns, use the same colors and
write the definition below;
patterns to write "it's"
you might draw a dog with
in its mouth: write "dog"
arrow toward the dog, and
an arrow toward the bone,
write "a dog and its bone"
there their they're
own it substitute "they are"
cartoon draw a cartoon
several people showing a crowd
a house marching, and one
the words, person saying,
to keep apart or divide
(many people put an "e" instead of the "a" in the
but it comes from the root word that means to part)
draw something that has been divided or put apart,
such as someone's hair being parted with a comb
advice, body of decision-makers,
of that body;
draw one person behind a draw six or seven people
desk talking to someone sitting at a table all facing
sitting on the other side the same way; note that
"councilor" is very rare - most often, you use
Ideas for other cards:
Accept (to receive)
Except (other than)
Affect (to have an influence on)
Board (a piece of wood)
By (next to)
Capital (the city that is the seat of government)
Capitol (the building where a legislature meets)
. . . and many, many more!