Is Spelling Even Important Anymore?

Spelling – the beautiful art of transforming speech sound into writing has been part of our lives since the dawn of time. There are words all around us; on the product labels in the supermarket, on the street signs in our local areas and of course, in the subject’s pupils learn in school. But what real impact does one’s ability to spell really have on academic success? 

Exams: No Spell Check Or Autocorrect Allowed

In this modern technological age, many pupils are neglecting their spelling. Thanks to the autocorrect feature on most of our gadgets spelling is falling by the waste side. Pupils are relying so heavily on these features that simply picking up a dictionary has become a laborious task. But the fact is though –strong spelling is a skill they must learn. The National Curriculum places significant importance on spelling punctuation and grammar, this is highlighted in the fact that roughly 15% of the overall marks awarded in GCSE papers are for technical accuracy (SPAG). Though this percentage may seem low, it is worth remembering that the pupils who are awarded the top tier grades (7-9) do not slack on their spelling. Pupils will not have access to the comforts of autocorrect when they are sitting their exams. Spelling is not only important in KS4, in KS3 spelling is a performance depicter embedded into the mark schemes teachers and tutors use to grade assessments. To achieve grades 7-9, pupils are required to spell ‘most’ or ‘all’ words correctly in their work. Spelling cannot be ignored.

 “When our spelling is perfect, it’s invisible. But when it’s flawed, it prompts strong negative associations.”

 – Marilyn vos Savant, Author, Lecturer & Playwright 

Strong Spelling Improves Writing

Writing is verbal communication transformed into written words. Strong spelling enhances the fluency of written communication. Think for instance, about a book you have read. Imagine if the writing was littered with various spelling mistakes that made the words almost indistinguishable. You would have to pause frequently to try and distinguish the words and in that time you’ve lost focus on the actual narrative! How enjoyable would that book be to read? Simply put, it WON’T be. It won’t an enjoyable read because it creates way too much confusion for the reader and quickly becomes hard work. Pupils must remember this when they are writing, consider the effect you want your writing to have on those (teachers, tutors, and examiners) who are reading and marking it. 

Empower Pupils For The Future

Building a strong spelling ability now will only benefit pupils in the future. As they get older they will be required to write professional emails, CVs and apply for work experience and university positions. All these things require a sound grasp on literacy – which spelling is a big part of. This is important for Year 9 pupils in particular because they will be doing work experience next year. When applying for these work experience positions it is important that they present themselves in the best light possible. To most employers, constant misspellings “prompts strong negative associations.” It could be a sign of carelessness and a lack of credibility. It suggests you neglect fine details and do not take pride in your work. Strong spelling, however, shows that you really care about the way you are presenting yourself and communicating with others. Put your best foot forward. Become a strong speller.

-By Taiwo Bali, KLC English Tutor