A spelling strategy is a lesson that, in most cases, helps students spell words better as they go about the process of writing. Many of the strategies are extended answers to the question, "What should I do when I'm writing and don't know how to spell a word?" This big question includes subquestions, each of them worth multiple lessons, such as "How do I look up a word in the dictionary if I don't know how to spell it?" and "How do I edit my writing for spelling?" There are 32 strategy lessons.

  • General Strategies
  • Strategy 1: What Kind of Speller Are You
  • Strategy 2: Developing a Repertoire of Spelling Strategies
  • Strategy 3: Why Write With Invented Spelling?
  • Strategy 4: Perfectionists
  • Strategy 5: Why-and When-Spelling Matters
  • Strategy 6: Why Reading Helps You Spell
  • Strategy 7: One-Second Words
  • Strategy 8: How to Memorize Words
  • Strategy 9: Try It Two Ways
  • Strategy 10: Does it Look Right?
  • Strategy 11: Finding Spellings in the Classroom
  • Strategy 12: Using a Word Wall for Spelling
  • Strategy 13: Helping Each Other With Spelling
  • Strategy 14: How to Use a Spell Checker
  • Strategy 15: Spelling Better as You Get Older
  • Dictionary Strategies
  • Strategy 16: Using Different Kinds of Dictionaries
  • Strategy 17: Alphabetical Order in the Dictionary: First Letters
  • Strategy 18: Alphabetical Order in the Dictionary: Second Letters
  • Strategy 19: Using Guide Words in the Dictionary
  • Strategy 20: Finding Words You Don't Know How to Spell
  • Strategy 21: Definitions in the Dictionary
  • Strategy 22: Pronunciation Guides in the Dictionary
  • Strategy 23: Using Indexes and Other Places to Find Words
  • Editing Strategies
  • Strategy 24: The Importance of Spelling in Published Writing
  • Strategy 25: How Many Spellings Should I Edit?
  • Strategy 26: How to Find All of Your Misspellings
  • Strategy 27: The Right Spelling of the Wrong Word
  • Strategy 28: How to Achieve 100% Correct Spelling
  • Strategy 29: When it Really, Really Has to Be Right
  • When Spelling Doesn't Come Easy
  • Strategy 30: Is Spelling Hard for You?
  • Strategy 31: The Choices You Make When You Spell
  • Strategy 32: What to Focus on to Become a Better Speller

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Exploring spelling patterns means looking especially at information that will help us know what to do when it's not obvious what letters are in a word. If you haven't seen kangaroo in print, how do you know whether to start it with a c or k? Why is keep spelled with two e's rather than ea, and how do I know how to spell that long e sound in any word that has it? Spelling patterns also include some topics that are for general knowledge and fun, such as learning why the spelling of a word sometimes gives a hint as to what language it came from. There are 33 pattern lessons.

  • Simple Patterns
  • Pattern 1: How to Spell the /s/ Sound
  • Pattern 2: How to Spell the /k/ Sound
  • Pattern 3: How to Spell the /j/ Sound
  • Pattern 4: Is it w or wh?
  • Pattern 5: A Few Tricky Consonants
  • Pattern 6: Long a
  • Pattern 7: Long e
  • Pattern 8: Long i
  • Pattern 9: Long o
  • Pattern 10: Long u and the Two oo's
  • Pattern 11: R-Controlled Vowels
  • More Complex Patterns
  • Pattern 12: i Before e (It still works!)
  • Pattern 13: Adding Suffixes: Changing y to i
  • Pattern 14: Adding Suffixes: Dropping the Final e
  • Pattern 15: Adding Suffixes: Doubling the Final Consonant
  • Pattern 16: Double Consonants
  • Pattern 17: Schwa: What Is It and How Do I Spell It?
  • Pattern 18: Silent Letters: How Do I Know They're There?
  • Pattern 19: Tricky Endings: -able or -ible?
  • Pattern 20: Those Pesky Homophones
  • Pattern 21: Spelling Long Words
  • Pattern 22: Related Words Have Similar Spellings
  • Pattern 23: Words with Apostrophes: Possessives
  • Pattern 24: Words with Apostrophes: Contractions
  • Enrichment
  • Pattern 25: What I Wonder about Spelling
  • Pattern 26: How People Used To Spell
  • Pattern 27: Why English Spelling Is So Weird
  • Pattern 28: Words from Spanish
  • Pattern 29: Words from All Over the World
  • Pattern 30: Spelling in Other Languages
  • Pattern 31: Writing in Other Alphabets and Without Alphabets
  • Pattern 32: Crazy Spelling Out in the World
  • Pattern 33: The National Spelling Bee

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The teaching tools referenced in the lessons (graphic organizers, word lists, checklists, and questionnaires) are provided in a reproducible format.


This set of tools help you look at children's spelling from a variety of perspectives: knowledge, strategies, attitudes, and achievement (how well students spell in their writing).


This annotated bibliography of books for teachers and kids about spelling and related matters is meant to suggest some books you might like to read yourself and some that you might like to have available in your classroom.

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