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- Suffix Spelling Changes
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An increased awareness of phonetic and structural patterns in words develops spelling consciousness, thereby leading to improved encoding accuracy. Visual learners tend to be better spellers since they remember how words look. Therefore, visual learners are more apt to spell words with suffixes correctly. Patterns become imbedded in visual memory as a reader sees them repeatedly over a period of time. Auditory or kinesthetic learners are more dependent on rules and instruction. They can become good spellers, but it takes more effort.
Rules are worth teaching if the generalization applies to many words and there are few exceptions. At the top of the list of rules meeting these criteria are the suffix spelling change rules. Data supports that these are among the most consistent English spelling patterns.
These rules should be taught one at a time in the order listed. Download the suffix spelling changes rule charts and post each as the rule is introduced. Then provide students with ample drill applying the concepts. Drill cards (Suffix Spelling Changes) or assignments may be tedious, but they are effective. Like multiplication tables, these rules must be memorized, and it is application practice that leads to mastery.
By teaching these rules to your students, you set expectations for spelling accuracy. Since young students are tuned in to phonetic elements of words, these rules can be taught as early as second grade. With older students, some phonics review may be needed.
One of the best ways to ensure that students remember and apply the rules is to add suffixes to spelling words. Do this on practice exercises and on spelling tests. When students get careless making spelling changes, repeating a card jogs their memories and gets them to be more careful.