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Writing: Spelling

Memory Tricks for Toughies

 

Today's 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.

 

--------------------

Supplies:

Index cards | markers or colored pencils | dictionary

 

 

Let's 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 correct spelling.

 

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:

 

to too

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 between

them, since "too" means "also"

 

 

 

its it's

possesses it or owns it; short for "it is";

if you can substitute "it is,"

then use the one with the

apostrophe

 

draw something that has write "it is" in colorful,

something; draw arrows to patterned letters, and then

the thing and what it owns, use the same colors and

and write the definition below; patterns to write "it's"

so you might draw a dog with

a bone in its mouth: write "dog"

and an arrow toward the dog, and

"bone" and an arrow toward the bone,

and then write "a dog and its bone"

 

 

 

there their they're

they own it substitute "they are"

 

draw a cartoon draw a cartoon

of several people showing a crowd

hugging a house marching, and one

with the words, person saying,

their house "They're coming!"

 

 

 

separate

to keep apart or divide

 

(many people put an "e" instead of the "a" in the middle,

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

 

 

 

counsel, council,

counselor councilor

advice, body of decision-makers,

advisor member 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

"council member"

 

 

 

Ideas for other cards:

 

Accept (to receive)

Except (other than)

 

Affect (to have an influence on)

Effect (result)

 

Board (a piece of wood)

Bored (uninterested)

 

Brake (stop)

Break (smash)

 

Buy (purchase)

By (next to)

 

Capital (the city that is the seat of government)

Capitol (the building where a legislature meets)

 

. . . and many, many more!

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.AfterSchoolTreats.com Writing 2012

 

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