Correcting Spelling Mistakes

posted in: Spelling | 0

Even the best speller will occasionally spell words incorrectly. The way you respond to mistakes and help children spell a word correctly can be very effective teaching moments.

Teaching Steps

  • Ask the child to accurately decode the word they have actually written. For many students just this step can be sufficient for them to identify the point of error and to make the correction.
  • Ask the child to identify the sounds in the word and to draw a line or a box for each sound.
  • If relevant, have the child identify the different grapheme(s) (letters or letter combinations) that can be used to represent the sounds.
  • Discuss any relevant rules.
  • Fill in the sound boxes with the correct letters.
  • Discuss strategies for remembering any tricky components.
  • Return to the spelling error and have the child make the necessary corrections.

Suffix Errors

  • Ask the child to identify the base word.
  • Ask the child to write the base word.
  • Identify the suffix and the meaning of the suffix.

Discuss any errors that are relevant at this point.

  • Discuss any rules relevant to adding the suffix.
  • Add the suffix onto the base word applying the relevant rules.
  • Return to the spelling error and have the child make the necessary corrections.


  1. Provide as much scaffolding as required. If the spelling error is due to a concept that had not yet been taught, then provide this information and make a note to explicitly teach this concept in a future lesson.
  2. Words spelled incorrectly should be included in the child’s list of spelling words to be learned (or re-included if it is a word that has already been covered).
  3. Use a similar process when children ask how to spell a particular word (i.e., help the child establish if there is a base word and any prefixes or suffixes, identify the sounds in the base word, assist in making connections to particular graphemes used in the word and identify relevant rules, add on prefixes/suffixes applying relevant rules).