Spelling tests are common for kids in grade school, as many parents know from the weekly spelling lists that are sent home for review.
The importance placed on spelling at such a young age shouldn’t come as a surprise, as our written communications only increase in frequency and importance from there.
Even in the age of auto-correct and proofreading software, it’s important to have a good grip on spelling when it comes to your work emails, text messages, and even personal correspondence.
And if you’re thinking about learning a new language—a skill that’s considered highly valuable in today’s workforce—don’t think that you can escape spelling tests!
Most likely, you’ll have to learn a whole new set of spelling rules that might be totally contradictory to what you learned in your first language.
But whether you’re helping a child study for a spelling test at school or simply trying to learn a new language, fear not: we’ve got you covered with these helpful tips for studying spelling.
How to Study for a Spelling Test
The following 8 methods can help you study for success on your next spelling test or submit an error-free report.
1. Get Curious About Words
If you want to learn how to spell better, get curious about words! Great spellers are curious and interested to learn new words, and to learn the correct spelling for any words they’re not sure how to spell.
Make the challenge of learning new spellings fun by choosing words you find interesting or that are related to fields you enjoy.
For example, if you love cooking, start with a list of food words with different origins (like zucchini, which is actually Italian).
Or if you’re fascinated by French history, make a list of words with French origins to study (this will be helpful, as French influenced many words in the English language).
Taking time to learn more about the proper pronunciation, origins, and different uses of words can make learning to spell them easier, but also more fun.
2. Practice Spelling
Every time you see a new word or make a mistake, learn from your experience. Spend 15 seconds recounting the proper spelling of the word in your mind.
Don’t be scared of the unknown! When you come across a word you’re unfamiliar with, take a moment to look it up. Learn what it means, how it’s pronounced, and how it’s properly used.
Visualizing the word and saying it out loud can help you make connections to other words that sound similar and follow similar rules (like night and sight in English, or occhio and gnocchi in Italian).
Practice really can make perfect, so as with anything, remember to keep studying and practicing whenever you can if you want to see positive results.
3. Read More Good Writing
The more you read great books and high-quality blogs, the more you’ll learn by seeing new words and correct spelling. Don’t read trashy books or blogs that are filled with typos and errors.
It’s no secret that one of the many benefits of reading is seeing improvements in your own writing, and that can include spelling as well.
Even if you’re not consciously focused on the spelling in what you’re reading, you’re going to be exposed to so many words that you’re bound to pick up on patterns (perhaps without even realizing!).
Reading more is also a fantastic way to expand your vocabulary, so along with picking up on proper spelling, you’ll naturally learn how to use words that might not have been part of your everyday speech.
4. Write a Spelling List
Remember how in grade school the teacher would make you write down the words you’d misspelled over and over again?
Well, that’s not the only way to learn proper spelling, but it can sure help you to remember it better.
The practice of writing down the proper spelling will help ingrain the memory of that word in different neurons in your brain, leading to longer-term memory improvement.
It also helps to say the word aloud as you’re rewriting the word. This helps with studying English spelling but works just as well if you’re learning a new language, too.
5. Practice Writing
One of the best ways to improve your spelling is to practice writing. You don’t have to be an author or genius to write.
You can simply write about your own life experiences, keep a journal, write poetry, or just write down the random thoughts that come to your mind.
The more you write, the faster you will learn to spell, and the better you will be at communicating (which is a very important skill in life).
6. Make Flashcards
While there are flashcard apps out there designed to make studying easier, when it comes to spelling, it might be best to create your own.
On the front of the card, draw a quick sketch to help you visualize the word, or something you associate the word with. Write the first letter of the word below or next to your picture. On the back, write out the full, correct spelling of the word.
To study, look at the picture, then write down what you think is the correct spelling of that word. Flip the card over to check your answer.
If you’re wrong, repeat the exercise until you get it right.
7. Turn On the Subtitles
Whether you’re watching a foreign film or an old favorite in your own language, enabling the subtitles can help improve your spelling with little effort on your part.
As the words appear on the screen, you’ll hear the actors say them aloud at the same time, which will help you build connections between common sounds and their spellings.
So next time you have a spelling quiz coming up, you might include a movie night as part of your preparations!
Who says studying for a spelling test has to be boring?
Download or create your own word searches, crosswords, or hangman games to switch things up and change the way you look at words.
Have Fun Learning to Spell
Studying the spelling of words doesn’t have to be dull or intimidating. With these tips, you can incorporate studying into your everyday activities and quickly expand your vocabulary.
Whether you’re helping a young student study for a spelling test or hoping to ace your next foreign language quiz, have fun learning to spell and getting curious about words!
What’s one word you always misspell? Share it with us in the comments below!