Mnemonic Spelling Devices

Mnemonic Spelling Devices

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
f Mississippi!

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.

Get a printable copy of these mnemonic devices here.

Mnemonic Devices to Help Students with Spelling
Mnemonic Devices to Help Students with Spelling

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”

Examples:

BECAUSE
Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants

ARITHMETIC
A Rat In The House May Eat The Ice Cream

GEOGRAPHY
General Eisenhower’s Oldest Girl Rode A Pony Home Yesterday

FRIEND
Five Red Indians Eating Nuts Downstairs

BECAUSE
Big Elephants Can Add Up Sums Easily

RHYTHM
Rhythm Helps Your Two Hips Move

EQUAL
Eat Quickly U (as in you) Are Late

NECESSARY
Not Every Cat Eats Sardines (Some Are Really Yummy)

ARGUMENT
A Rude Girl Undresses; My Eyes Need Taping!

OCEAN
Only Cats’ Eyes Are Narrow

BEAUTIFUL
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.

Examples:

“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.

Examples:

affect/effect:
R emember
A ffect
V erb
E ffect
N oun

SIGNIFICANT
SIGN IF I CAN’T

argument
Argument or arguement? I lost an ‘e’ in an argument.

ascertain
When you ascertain a fact, be AS CERTAIN as you possibly can.

bookkeeper
Triple compound: oo kk ee

cemetery
Remember to spell it with three e’s: Picture a lady yelling “e-e-e!” as she walks past the cemetery.

compliment/complement
The opposite of compliment is insult (Remember the i.)
A complement enhances something else. (Remember the e.)

dilemma
Emma faced a dilemma.

quiet
Please keep quiet about your diet.

embarrass
I go really red when my sister sings.

special
The CIA has special agents.

desert/dessert
Remember that a desert is sandy (one s).
Dessert has two s’s in it, like Strawberry Shortcake or Sweet Stuff.

environment
A new environment will iron it out.

hear/here
You HEAR with your EAR.

innocent
IN NO CENTury is murder an innocent crime.

potassium
Remember one tea, two sugars.

sculpture/sculptor
A sculPTURE is a kind of piCTURE

separate
There was a farmer named Sep and one day his wife saw a rat. She yelled, “Sep! A rat – E!!!”

slaughter
Slaughter is LAUGHTER with an S at the beginning.

there
there = here, there, where

together
Remember how to spell “together” by noting that if you GET HER, you’ll be “together.”

accommodation
Think of two people with the initials CC and MM sharing accommodation.

Conclusion

It’s important to note that mnemonic devices can be used in combination. Different students might benefit from different types of mnemonic devices. 

Get a printable copy.

Mnemonic Devices to Help Students with Spelling

Mnemonic Devices to Help Students with Spelling

Gay Miller

 

 

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