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How to Spell

Learning to spell is a progressive process (just like reading and writing), which typically begins using inventive spelling and gradually progresses to conventionally correct spelling by the end of second grade.

How to Spell a Word

Word Study

Knowing prefixes, suffixes and root words can help a child unlock the meaning of a word.

Grade
Spelling Benchmarks (End of Year)
Kindergarten
Uses inventive spelling; knowledge of
letter-sound relationships to attempt to spell words
1st Grade
Spells previously taught words, sight words and frequently
used irregular words correctly. Uses inventive spelling
to spell untaught words.
2nd Grade
Spells sight words, irregular words and words
that follow phonetic generalizations correctly.
3rd Grade
Spells commonly used words correctly.
Spelling bees typically begin in this grade.
4th Grade
Uses references to spell words correctly, e.g., dictionary.
Look out for those commonly misspelled words.
5th Grade
Uses references to spell words correctly, e.g., dictionary.


Most English words follow a pattern; they often have similar sounds (rhymes) or spellings. However, there are a few exceptions. In fact, there are a handful of words that do not rhyme with another word. We like to refer to these words as standalones. Words That Don't Rhyme The twenty words below do rhyme with [...]

Homophones are words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings. Many children will struggle with using the correct homophone when writing or reading. The three most difficult ones are as follows: Its vs. It's, There vs. They're vs. Their , and Who's vs Whose We created the following homophone worksheets to help [...]

The prefix, multi-, implies many, much or more than two. We created the list of words with the prefix multi- by referencing two dictionaries: Merriam-Webster Children's Dictionary and Merriam-Webster's Intermediate Dictionary. We limited these words to those most appropriate for a child in grades 5 through 8 or ages 10 through 14.

The prefix, mono- and mon-, implies one, single or alone. We created the list of words with the prefix mono- and mon- by referencing two dictionaries: Merriam-Webster Children's Dictionary and Merriam-Webster's Intermediate Dictionary. We limited these words to those most appropriate for a child in grades 5 through 8 or ages 10 through 14.

The prefix, bio-, implies of or related to life or living organisms. We created the list of words with the prefix bio- by referencing two dictionaries: Merriam-Webster Children's Dictionary and Merriam-Webster's Intermediate Dictionary. We limited the bio- words to those most appropriate for a child in grades 5 through 8 or ages 10 through 14.

The long a sound can be spelled several ways. The magic e or final e and the open syllable are the most common ways. In addition, the long a sound can be represented in 2 vowel teams ("ai" and "ay"). Of course, there will be exceptions or odd balls- the irregular vowel team ("ei"). Magic [...]