How to Correct Spelling Mistakes


Students are going to make spelling mistakes. Making mistakes is all part of the learning process. It’s your job to correct those mistakes without interrupting the learning process or creating other difficulties.

Here are some specific techniques to correct spelling mistakes both during the lesson and at other times.

Correcting spelling mistakes during the lesson:

  • Ask the student to read exactly what he wrote and to do so slowly. Often, the student will see his own error and be able to fix it.
  • Look at the cause of the spelling mistake. Does the student pronounce the word incorrectly? Is he unclear on a particular concept or rule? Do you need to re-teach something? Did he segment the word correctly?
  • If you need to review a phonogram or a rule, do it now.
  • Have the student spell the word again, first with the letter tiles and then on paper.

Correcting spelling mistakes outside of the spelling lesson:

  • Only hold your student responsible for writing the word correctly if it includes concepts she has already learned.
  • If the word (or words with a similar pattern) has been taught, ask the student to segment the word.
  • As he segments the word, he should write down the letter or letters for each sound.
  • If your student asks how to spell a word she hasn’t learned, tell her how to spell it.

Avoid inventive spelling

Whether you are in a lesson or not, avoid inventive spelling. Inventive spelling reinforces incorrect spelling that will have to be corrected later on in the student’s education. In addition, students need to be able to recognize incorrect spelling in their own writing, and rewrite the word correctly.

For more ways to avoid, recognize and correct common spelling mistakes, check out these resources:

Five Ways to Handle Misspelled Words
Teaching Spelling With Letter Tiles
Why Teach the Phonograms and Spelling Rules?

Biographical Information

Copyright, 2009. All rights reserved by author below. Content provided by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC.

Marie Rippel is the author of the All About Spelling series, the multisensory spelling program that is guaranteed to work. Visit her at www.all-about-spelling.com.