Spelling Strategy

Are you trying to teach your kids how to spell? Do you know the process to developing a successful spelling strategy?


Understanding what makes someone a great speller is a critical skill. It should not just be luck that the schooling system gets it right, if you understand how the mind spells, you can help anyone spell.

Installing a new spelling strategy is not only a great thing to do for those who have the belief that they are “a bad speller” or “learning disabled,” its also a convincing demonstration of how quick and easy it can be to replace any ineffective strategies. Most people are not even aware that they have a strategy for spelling, let alone that they can exchange it for one that works!

The fact is, if someone has inconsistent or ineffective result with spelling words correctly, it is only because they learned an inconsistent or ineffective spelling process. It is not a learning disability, but a teaching disability! Coaches and teachers using the spelling strategy with amazing results – students test scores go up much faster that they would with other methods. Route memorization of words takes longer and does not get long lasting results anyway.

Compare the ineffective strategy with the effective spelling strategy we teach and see fo yourself how simply, yet profoundly, a shift in strategies can effect every area of life.

Ineffective Spelling Strategy (-K-A-V) result only accurate 50% of the time

  1. Negative K – Begin with bad feeling i.e) embarrassment, defeat or frustration/sens that you wont be able to spell it right
  2. Auditory – Try to sound it out in your head or aloud (based on assumption a word is spelled how it sounds
  3. VC – While sounding it out, attempt to construct a picture of the word piece by piece

Effective Spelling Strategy (Vr-A-K)

  1. Vr – See the word focused in the Visual Remembered quadrant (either on paper or in the mind) and break it down into manageable “bite size” chunks
  2. A – Say it (internally or aloud)
  3. K-Get a feeling of familiarity and association between the sight (spelling) and sound of word; and feel good about your ability to improve and be a great speller!


Steps to Installing an Effective Spelling Strategy

  1. Elicit the persons current spelling strategy (optional) before installing the effective spelling strategy.
  2. If you haven’t already, check if the client is normally reverse organized so that you know where the visual remembered quadrant is for them. You can do this with one question such as, can you get a picture of what you had for breakfast today?”
  3. Give them a word that you know they will have to think about such as, “can you spell ‘restaurant?’” or ask them, “What’s a word you can’t spell?”
  4. When you have hit on a word that’s challenging, write it down in large letters on a piece of paper – and this is a key piece….write each syllable in a different color and separate them with a dot or a space between.
  5. Visual rehears – hold the piece of paper up in the visual remembered quadrant where they can see it and have them move their eyes up to look at it. When they’ve taken a “snapshot” of it have them close their eyes BUT KEEP THEIR EYES UP SEEING THE WORD IN Vr, saying, “Okay, look up at the word and take a snapshot. Take a snapshot and now close your eyes, keeping your eyes up in the same corner. See the word up in that corner…open you eyes again. Take a snapshot. Close your eyes, see the word…”

Repeat this as many times as it takes for them to see the word clearly even after they’ve closed their eyes.

  1. Remove the piece of paper and have them spell the same word. If they still have challenges, repeat stop 4 until they can easily frontwards and backwards. “Now go ahead and spell the word…”
  2. Once they’ve spelled it, have them spell it backwards. This is a significant positive experience for them that serves as a collapse anchor for their original negative anchor since it leaves them with a positive K around spelling.