There are plenty of people who are not good spellers and yet are successful in many other personal and professional aspects. Thanks to Google and Siri, being a poor speller is not as crippling as it once was. That being said, the process of learning to spell is a critical component of literacy and communication. Studying the sounds of letters and elements of a word supports the development of both spelling and reading.
This article from The International Dyslexia Association explains that poor spelling does not come from a visual problem. “One common but mistaken belief is that spelling problems stem from a poor visual memory for the sequences of letters in words. Recent research, however, shows that a general kind of visual memory plays a relatively minor role in learning to spell. Spelling problems, like reading problems, originate with language learning weaknesses. Therefore, spelling reversals of easily confused letters such as b and d, or sequences of letters, such as wnet for went are manifestations of underlying language learning weaknesses rather than of a visually based problem. Most of us know individuals who have excellent visual memories for pictures, color schemes, design elements, mechanical drawings, maps, and landscape features, for example, but who spell poorly. The kind of visual memory necessary for spelling is closely “wired in” to the language processing networks in the brain.”
The Hill methodology teaches spelling in the context of overall language study and provides explicit, sequential, multi-sensory instruction to develop an understanding of sound-symbol relationships. To learn more about Hill methodology, please visit https://www.hillcenter.org/professional-development/hill-methodology/.
Susan Mixon Harrell
Executive Director, The Hill School of Wilmington