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Why I Can’t Spell

I should have titled this post “Why I Can’t Spel Worth Beens”. Finishing off All About Spelling Level 1 with Bruce really pointed out to me all of the spelling rules I do not know. It’s like if you learned how to read, but never learned how to pronounce the “th” sound. Sure, you’d be able to function in society but you would be making crazy mistakes your whole life and never know why.  You would probably feel pretty stupid too.

It is so sad to me that here I am in my 30s, having graduated from Stanford University for Pete’s sake, and yet I am still learning something from a Level 1 spelling book. I have tried my upmost for at least two decades to improve my spelling through rote memorization, and it just doesn’t work. Finally, I just gave up and figured that I would always be stupid about spelling. I am the family joke! My younger sister still likes to tease me about misspelling ‘very’ when I was in high school. (I thought it had two r’s, like ‘berry’.)

Now, I realize that I’m a poor speller because my spelling knowledge is like Swiss cheese. I need to systematically memorize specific spelling rules to plug those holes.  Moving the tiles around on the board along with my six year old is helping hard wire those rules into my brain.  I’m not stupid about spelling; there are just things I never learned for some reason.

Take Key Card #9 for example. “Which letters are often doubled after a single vowel at the end of a one-syllable rule?” The answer is f, l, and s. Sometimes this is called the Floss rule, because floss has all three letters in it and also follows the rule. This is an example of a spelling mistake I make all the time. I am always getting confused with double consonants. I’ve learned to compensate with spell check, and when that’s not available, choosing words that I am certain of spelling.

Hopefully by the end of taking two kids all the way through AAS Level 7, I’ll be a good speller too. After all of these years, there is new hope for me yet!


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