Teaching students mnemonic spelling devices is a great way to improve spelling.
Do you find yourself saying the old rhyme. . .
a M-I crooked letter
b Crooked letter I
c Crooked letter
d Crooked letter I
e Humpback humpback I
when you spell Mississippi or singing R-E-S-P-E-C-T as you write the word? How many times have you reminded yourself i before e except after c?
These gimmicks are a great way to remember the spelling of tricky words. I’ve compiled a list of mnemonic devices and catchy phrases that I hope you will find helpful to use with your students.
Idea #1 Acronym: Sentences or Phrase Mnemonic Spelling Devices
An acronym is a word formed from the first letters of a name or phrase. Use the first letter of each word in the sentence or phrase to help spell the tricky word.
HOMES can be used to remember the Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior).
Idea #2 – Acrostic
An acrostic is a phrase or sentence where the first letter of each word is the same as the first letter of the word you’re trying to spell. For example, “Auntie Eats Pie Every Day” to remember the word “auntie”
Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants
A Rat In The House May Eat The Ice Cream
General Eisenhower’s Oldest Girl Rode A Pony Home Yesterday
Five Red Indians Eating Nuts Downstairs
Big Elephants Can Add Up Sums Easily
Rhythm Helps Your Two Hips Move
Eat Quickly U (as in you) Are Late
Not Every Cat Eats Sardines (Some Are Really Yummy)
A Rude Girl Undresses; My Eyes Need Taping!
Only Cats’ Eyes Are Narrow
Big Elephants Are Under Trees In Forests Until Light
Idea #3 – Word Association
Word association: This method involves associating the word you’re trying to spell with another word that is easy to remember.
“Ocean” and “sea” can be associated together to remember the word “ocean.”
A psych is someone who studies the mind and behavior, so the word psychology must have the letters ‘psych’ in it.”
Idea #4 – Catchy Phrases
Create a rhyme or song that helps to remember the spelling of a word. For example, “i before e, except after c” to remember when to use the letters “i” and “e” in words.
SIGN IF I CAN’T
Argument or arguement? I lost an ‘e’ in an argument.
When you ascertain a fact, be AS CERTAIN as you possibly can.
Triple compound: oo kk ee
Remember to spell it with three e’s: Picture a lady yelling “e-e-e!” as she walks past the cemetery.
The opposite of compliment is insult (Remember the i.)
A complement enhances something else. (Remember the e.)
Emma faced a dilemma.
Please keep quiet about your diet.
I go really red when my sister sings.
The CIA has special agents.
Remember that a desert is sandy (one s).
Dessert has two s’s in it, like Strawberry Shortcake or Sweet Stuff.
A new environment will iron it out.
You HEAR with your EAR.
IN NO CENTury is murder an innocent crime.
Remember one tea, two sugars.
A sculPTURE is a kind of piCTURE
There was a farmer named Sep and one day his wife saw a rat. She yelled, “Sep! A rat – E!!!”
Slaughter is LAUGHTER with an S at the beginning.
there = here, there, where
Remember how to spell “together” by noting that if you GET HER, you’ll be “together.”
Think of two people with the initials CC and MM sharing accommodation.
It’s important to note that mnemonic devices can be used in combination. Different students might benefit from different types of mnemonic devices.