Are you a bad speller? Want to know why and how to fix?

If you were like me, the teachers that were teaching me to spell told me to sound out the words. This is actually the wrong sense to use to start your spelling strategy.

Great spellers, read the information off their brain, so spelling is a visual act not a auditory act… At least in the beginning… Learning to spell is similar to learning to read. You need to know what shapes correspond to making the sounds of the word or words you are learning. To do this simply cut up the word into pieces but not along phonetic or syllable lines.

For example:  The word “octopus” could be broken up like this: oct-o-pus

I’m asking you to cut the word up so the breaks don’t make sense like so: o-ct-op-us

The reason I’m asking you to cut it up in such a way is that now when you look at the word you can focus more on the shapes of the letters, whereas before you are concentrating on a pattern your brain already knows or is familiar with.

So to create a spelling strategy in your brain:

  1. look at the letters and then look toward the ceiling to your left and imagine the shapes of the letters.
  2. then look toward you left ear and say the word,
  3. then look down to the left and slap you thigh.

You’ve done one round, of visualizing, creating a sound, and then a feeling. Now repeat it 5-6 more times. If you do this exercise for about 5 words your brain should start getting the hang of the pattern and start accessing spelling words this way… and you will be well on your way to becoming a better speller.

Tracy Joy is an NLP practitioner, author, and speaker in Vancouver, Canada. She is an international business expert in the area of human systems analysis and thinking change. If you have brain questions, send them Tracy and she’ll answer them on this blog. She can be reached through