As a writer I’ve learned –sometimes the hard way–that spelling is important. The gifted students I teach often don’t think spelling is important in the picture of creation, and maybe they’re right on that. Yet, I do try to stress the importance of spelling correctly, especially in the editing process.
As a writer, misspelled words come back to haunt you. I met one writer, whose first book had a major misspelling in the first sentence on the first page. It was an embarassment to be sure. I appreciate my friends who read my work–some of them are real spelling Nazis. If it’s misspelled, they will catch it. Most of my spelling errors are committed because of haste, others occur because I have learned a word incorrectly initially.
As an editor of beginning novelists and book writers, a huge portion of my editing time is spent in catching their spelling errors. That means I must refer to the dictionary often, for though I have a more than adequate vocabulary, I have not memorized the spellings of the million plus words in the English language. As a writer, I have also learned to not rely much at all on spell check.
I just read an article on the American Partisan site about the importance of spelling. You can find that article here: http://www.americanpartisan.com/desk/style_guide/spelling/1.htm The writer points out that bad spelling reflects badly on writer and publisher alike. There are many sites devoted to spelling. One is http://www.yourdictionary.com/library/misspelled.html which lists the top hundred misspelled words.
I’m testing my students on spelling this week. I gave them the test first, we graded it, then they study the words they missed (or guessed at). A couple of days later, we have the same test for real. Those students who attack the task of learning spelling through repetition (I encourage writing a word 10 more times) and through memorization seem to do better than those who rely on phonics. Mnemonics are also helpful to the diligent student determined to improve his or her spelling.
If you want to think more of this matter, go to http://www.zaner-bloser.com/html/SPsupport1.html which is entitled “Five Questions Teachers Ask About Spelling.”