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Why Spelling is Important in Writing

Why Spelling is Important in Writing

Why Spelling is Important in Writing

  • Monday 10 January 2022

In the 21st Century we’ve become accustomed to texting and emailing as part of our everyday lives. We schedule work meetings using our Google Calendar, manage our social life on our phones, and have Zoom calls with relatives who don’t live nearby. And, during the global pandemic, we’re using technology even more than we did before …


But, what about our children? Unfortunately, as schools closed, and lockdowns became the norm, children were having to rely entirely on technology in order to interact with their friends, rather than a mix of online communication and physically meeting. This shift meant that literally overnight, the spoken word was replaced by the written word. As a result, there was greater emphasis on reading, writing and spelling as these skills are necessary when using technology for communication. Reading, writing and spelling reinforce each other, and spelling helps a child see the patterns in language and to understand how words are formed. Children realise that by following the same rules for spelling words, they can apply those rules when reading or writing.


Spelling affects almost every aspect of our daily communication, from how we understand something, to how we communicate our own thoughts and opinions. It’s crucial to understand the  importance of spelling when it comes to our children’s future, because so many things depend on good communication with clarity. Some schools have implemented compulsory spelling tests in order to teach children how to spell properly, earlier in their education. Some people might argue that this puts too much pressure on children, as the education system may seem to be very hard on young learners already. That being said, it’s worth noting the benefits of spelling tests, and how they might protect your child from the chaotic online world of social media. So, let’s look at why spelling tests are a good thing in the modern age, and how they help your child prepare for the future.


The Impact of Emojis and Conversational Skills

We’ve all replied to a WhatsApp message with the occasional thumbs up, or a smiley face, and I’m sure you also remember the times when you wrote little notes to your friend in class (‘Hi, how are you?’), or staying up after school to write your crush a valentine. It was all these simple, everyday experiences that made growing up such a special, and memorable time. If you were born before mobile phones existed, then you probably know what we're talking about.


For those of us who rarely use social media platforms, it’s hard to imagine what it feels like to constantly have the online buzz around you. To have the ping of notifications on your phone every two minutes, and to feel anxious when you don’t have as many friends on Facebook as someone else; but that’s already heavily reported by the media. In my opinion, what’s lacking in mainstream media is the research on how technology is actually affecting our early learners, the children who have just started school and are beginning to learn to read and write. Those are the young learners we should focus our attention on.


These children are growing up in a time of emojis, and spelling doesn't play as much of a role in that world as it used to. As young adults, we can experience many normal life events; for example, applying for a job, completing a questionnaire and filling in official documentation. Much of the paperwork we need to fill out in our adult lives, involves a basic knowledge of spelling, and grammar.


That’s why the introduction of spelling tests is a great way to keep our children practising, and learning to spell correctly. Tests, as much as they can be tedious, help our brains remember knowledge that is very useful later in life. So, even though your 5-year-old child isn’t going to apply to a graduate programme any time soon, you want to make sure he or she has the  best possible chance of succeeding in their adult years. Spelling is a BIG part of making sure they achieve everything they want.


How Do Children Learn to Spell?

So, that brings us to the question, ‘How do children learn to spell?’. It might seem simple to us now, but as a child, the process of learning to spell is actually incredibly complex, which is why we need to ensure our children have the right resources to help them on their learning journey.


The best way children observe information is within their surroundings. For example, they take  in everything they see and hear. A vibrant environment for your child is a good place to start – you could include posters, books and toys – anything that can give context to a word, or letter. Another great way for children to learn spelling is through memory. Although this really depends on what sort of learner your child is. Some children react well to repetition, and others prefer interactive forms of learning. It’s important to get to know what works best for your child.


If your child responds better to instruction and rules, telling them exactly how it works, step-by-step might also improve their spelling; for example, speech sounds, letters, context, and spelling patterns. All of which are great for helping your child understand why, and when we need different spelling.


Even though nowadays we have auto-correct, and spell-checker programs, software and apps to assist in correcting spelling in our work, it’s still a valuable life skill to teach your child. You might be thinking, is it really necessary when there’s so much online to help them with spelling? The answer is, yes. As much as the online world dictates most of our lives, that doesn’t mean that ‘old school’ skills, and knowledge won’t come into use at some point in their lives. As I mentioned earlier, what happens when your child leaves university and wants to apply for a graduate programme, and they are asked to complete a test as part of the application? A test could involve some written exercises without a computer, so they would have to rely on what they have learnt previously.


It’s vital to remember that phones, laptops, and other forms of technology are not reliable in every situation. Also, there may be times that you may not have access to technology and you might need to spell. That’s why spelling is important in writing.


How YOU Can Help Your Child Become a Spelling Wizard!

Thankfully, there’s LOTS you can do as a parent, or teacher, to help children learn spelling. The main thing is practice …

We all know that kids love to play games, so why not play spelling games with them? You can try some classics like, Hangman, Boggle®, and Scrabble®. There are also lots of spelling apps that you can play on the sofa after dinner, such as Word  Wizard for Kids, or Word Wagon ... there are so many tools to help.


As well as these, Prim-Ed have a fantastic spelling workbook series that provides some wonderful exercises to do with your child to help them improve, and master the power of spelling.



Now that we’ve suggested some of the positive ways to help your child with spelling, here are some common mistakes to look out for:

  1. Using the wrong consonant (e.g. kake, instead of cake)
  2. Leaving an ‘e’ when it should be dropped (e.g. rideing, instead of riding)
  3. Reverse spelling (e.g. suop, instead of soup)
  4. Forgetting rules like (e.g. i before e except after c; recieve, instead of receive)


You can place Post-it® notes around the room to remind your child of spellings, rules, and common mistakes. Anything that helps reinforce the learning process will be of benefit.

All that being said, learning is first and foremost, about enjoyment. We want to make sure spelling is fun and playful, as well as well- informed. But, who says spelling doesn’t need to be fun? Simply watching a movie will get your child excited about learning to spell. A great one is, A Boy Named Charlie Brown, theatrical trailer - YouTube. It’s guaranteed to get your child enthusiastic about their next spelling test!


Hopefully, this has proved that spelling is more important than ever in writing, and that we don’t need to stop using emojis. We can enjoy the benefits of technology, but remain mindful of the consequences it may have on education. Happy Spelling!