2 simple tricks to help you spell tricky words!

I often get this from my students in class “Why doesn’t this word make sense when I sound it out?”; “Why is it so difficult to spell?” Unfortunately, not all words can be sounded out phonetically; this is especially true for sight words. Most people will go for the ‘easy’ way out – memorizing. This could work but there are so many words out there and there is a limit to how much a human brain can remember. One great way to introduce such tricky words to children is to break the word apart, into words that already make sense to them or make up funny and nonsensical phrases to help them remember it in a fun way! The idea is to make spelling the word fun for children and when they get the hang of it, they will know exactly what to do when they encounter tricky words in future.

Tip 1: Making up funny and nonsensical phrases


Can you make out what each word is?


1. Big elephants cannot always use small exits.


2. Dinos and unicorns roar!


3. Friday is the end of the week!


4. To get the R!


5. The with a Y!


Answer: 1. Because 2. Dinosaur 3. Friend 4. Together 5. They


Tip 2: Breaking words apart into sounds or words they already know


Some examples:

1. Biscuit ­– “b” “is” “c” “u” “it” (Hear it)

(You can also remember it like a nonsensical phrase ‘B is see you eat.’)


2. Tortoise – ‘tor’ ‘to’ ‘is’ ‘e’ (Hear it)


3. Water – ‘w’ ‘at’ ‘er’ (Hear it)


4. Butterfly – ‘butt’ ‘er’ ‘fly or ‘butter’ ‘fly’ (Hear it)


5. Backyard – ‘b’ ‘ack’ ‘y’ ‘ar’ d’ or ‘back’ ‘yard’ (Hear it)


Hope you found these useful and feel free to share with us in the comments section if you have any tricks or tips to spelling tricky English words.

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