How to become a successful speller

Updated: Dec 5, 2020

One of the concerns raised in having a nationally standardised test is that it can create anxiety for young people who struggle with literacy. The problem, however, is that many children slip through the cracks and their difficulties with spelling are not picked up and assisted. NAPLAN can, in fact, identify students who struggle with spelling and hopefully lead schools to develop programs and activities to assist learning.

Isn’t that a good thing?

For the teenagers we work with for whom spelling is somewhat of a challenge – these pointers developed by Philomena Ott are very helpful.


C Capitals

Check you have capitalised the first letter of a sentence and all proper nouns.

O Omission

Read through your work and check you haven’t forgotten a word. Add the correct word.

P Punctuation

Check you have added a full stop at the end of a sentence and that you have inserted quotation marks.

S Spelling

Check your spelling.

Some common features of dyslexic writers

1. Omission: Omit a single letter

occuring for occurring

2. Insertion: Insert a single letter

off for of

3. Substitution: Replace a single letter with another single letter

definate for definite

4. Transposition: Misorder two adjacent letters

lable for label

A single letter is misplaced by more than one position in a word

litgh for light

5. Grapheme substitution: A plausible but incorrect choice of grapheme

their for there

thort for thought

6. Wrong use of a split vowel digraph

gole for goal

If you know a young person who makes these kinds of choices – he or she can be helped.

Please see: Information from ACARA on the adjustments available to young people with disabilities.

Information from ACARA on the adjustments available to young people with disabilities.

Support NAPLAN

Information from the Victorian Education Department on dyslexia

Learning Difficulties and Dyslexia

Information from the Yale Centre for Creativity and Dyslexia

Yale Centre for Creativity and Dyslexia

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