Where is your memory? In your brain certainly. But it also seems to be in your muscles. When you write a very familiar word or even just a string of letters as part of a word, you don't stop and think about the spelling, your hand just does it. You have gained automaticity: that is, you do something without really thinking about it (like changing gear when driving). The great thing about automaticity is that it frees up your conscious attention for dealing with higher-level tasks. In writing this means you can be thinking about how to express your ideas rather than how to spell the words. It's what people who are learning to spell should be striving for.
So how can learners gain this automaticity when it comes to spelling? Handwriting is an important consideration. If students 'print', that is, they write each letter separately and individually, they are missing out on valuable opportunities to get the hand to remember spellings of whole words or common chunks of words (letter strings) such as '-ing' or '-tion'.
Learners from languages that are written from right to left sometimes start to write a letter on the right and work towards the left. So in the common string 'wh', they may start writing 'w' at the top right of it and then when they get to the top left of 'w' they have to skip back to the right ready to write the 'h'. All the flow from one letter to the next is thus lost. This needs to be corrected if at all possible.
In Melvyn Ramsden's Rescuing Spelling, he recommends that children are encouraged to join up their letters or at least write letters that can be joined up (i.e. they have those little tails on them - called ligatures). He suggests they should write the letters in each morpheme together, so their hand learns to automatically make that shape. So when writing '-ing' at the end of a word, the pen shouldn't leave the paper and the 'i' should be dotted last, after the 'g' has been written. He gets his children to say out loud "ing" when they dot the 'i'. Neat! I'm going to try it out with an adult English language learner who has this problem.
Here's a video I just found of Melvyn Ramsden in action:
Interesting, but I found it a bit uncomfortable to watch. What do you think? Are children taught to print or join up their writing when they start learning to write in your country?