Improving spelling - never too late: the Jim Henry Story

Jim Henry's family didn't know he was illiterate and in his early 90's (yes, nineties!) he decided he wanted to learn to read and write. He not only achieved this dream but at 98 the lobster fisherman from Connecticut,USA has just written a book about his life. Read more here:

Wow! Pretty inspiring. And a story worth remembering when you think you're getting too old to sort something out.

Have you always felt that your spelling was not good enough? Is it time to do something about it? Try these tips:

1) Read what you enjoy and are comfortable with.

2) Write just a little bit each day. It doesn't have to be long but try to get it right by using a dictionary. Use a pen, but as you come across any words you're not 100% sure about, write these in pencil. Then check them. Or if you prefer to type, turn the Autocorrect off and type the words you're not sure about in a different colour.

3) Keep a notebook (paper or digital) of words you've looked up. Look through your notebooks sometimes and try to see patterns in spelling.

4) Try to learn why words are spelled as they are. Can you relate them to another word with similar meaning? Or look at to see where the word has come from.

5) Try to learn the spelling of words you need a lot or have big problems with. Use my Look Say Cover Write and Check chart: or try this great program to help you:

6) Explore and follow this blog.

7) Get help from a friend, family member or teacher. But make sure it's not someone who makes you feel bad about your spelling. Perhaps you can help them with something that they're not very good at in return - it makes for a more balanced relationship.

8) Remember if a man in his 90's can learn to read and write from scratch, there's no reason why you can't work on improving your spelling.

The tips above are very general. Much more throughout the blog.

Go for it!



  1. It's spelled 90s, not 90's

  2. to improve your spelling skills:_

    1_Images Before Rules
    2_Avoid Looking at Misspellings
    3_See It, Hear it, Say It
    4_Target Your Specific Weaknesses
    5_FIRST Test, THEN Study
    6_Form Relevant Associations
    7_Time Repetitions Carefully
    8_Stay Motivated

    1. your steps are very useful and i will use them to improve my spelling

    2. thanks for your information

    3. Esraa - I really like your eight ideas. I think I've written on the blog about many of these, but you put it very succinctly. Thank you.
      Number 8 is easier said than done though! Do you have any tips for helping people to stay motivated?

    4. These tips are very good for improving spelling. I hope everyone does so.

    5. thanks Johanna for your concern
      there are 5 ways to stay motivated :_
      1_Connect with your classmates
      2_Discuss what you learn
      3_Chart your progress
      4_Reward yourself
      5_Take time for fun

    6. Your steps are very useful Esraa .
      Thanks alot .

  3. yub ,,well said Esraa :)

  4. Esraa ... the points that you just introduced are important in student's active participation in class so thanks alot .

  5. A very helpful essay .
    Thanks for your efforts .