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Phonics Strategies for Learning Spelling


Learning to spell can be difficult for anyone, whether you are a child or an adult who already familiar with the language, or learning it for the first time. The English language is one of the most difficult languages to learn to speak, read, and write.  Often it seems as though there are no set rules, but rather, a random collection of strange sounds. However, phonics provides a method for the learner to grasp the rules of spelling much easier, while at the same time providing other benefits.

Understanding Phonics
It is possible to speak in a specific language without fully understanding how to spell or read the words in that language.  Phonics can make it much easier because it is based on teaching individuals how to spell, read, and write the language as well.  Simply put, when students learn to spell using phonics, they are taught to see the connections between the sounds they are hearing and the letters they are seeing.  Emphasis is placed on sound, which is significantly beneficial for learning to spell words.

Learning to Spell with Phonics
Learning to spell through phonics is arguably easier than some of the other methods because of the connections it allows students to see.  It is vital to understand not only how a word looks and is spelled, but also, how it sounds to understand its form, function, and meaning.  For example, when students are given a list of words to learn, followed by a spelling quiz at the end of the week, they are far less likely to remember. Alternatively, phonics decodes the words, and significantly aids in memory.

Strategies to Use
There are many strategies instructors can use to teach students how to spell using phonics.  For instance, it is important to use visual aids; teachers should always make the sounds of the individual letters when they are reading aloud, and can use flash cards as visual stimuli. Additionally, it makes sense to make sure students understand rules of spelling, such as “i before e except after c,” rather than simply memorizing them.  Finally, it is a great strategy to involve classifying words into similar categories and groups, so that students actually see rules put into action.

Who Benefits from the System
Contrary to popular belief, young children are not the only learners who can benefit from phonics.  In fact, anyone with trouble spelling can use this system to increase understanding. In addition, phonics helps understand the English language in both written and spoken form.  Adults who are having trouble spelling or would simply like to learn English as a second language can benefit from the phonics system. Typically, it is harder for adults to learn the rules of spelling and grammar than children because adults are not constantly surrounded by others who are also learning it. 

Many phonics systems are available that target different age groups and learning categories.  As a result, phonics provide the basis for spelling to make sense, which makes the subject easy to understand.