Spelling

What process do you use to spell the word which names our planet?  Do you hear all the letters?  How do you know there’s an A and how do you know where to place it in the word?  Do you add the A between the E and the R because of a rule you remember? Or do you remember the individual speech sounds for each letter and their exact sequence?  Or do you “picture” or “see” the word in your mind and read off the letters as you see them?

If you can see the letters in your mind’s eye, all in a sequence, you are using a process called visualization: a process that should lead to spelling success.  Visualization allows one to picture a previously seen object; it allows one to experience a previous event without being present.  It is the ability to “see” and know some thing or place, idea or concept of the past, and manipulate it or view from any angle or perspective.  This is unique to humans and is one of the highest order of thinking one can do.

Many children and adults do not visualize well enough to become good spellers.  In few other languages than our own is this skill as important; english does not offer the speller a good match between written and spoken form.  Consider the following words: silo, psychology, cyclone, and cider.  Or, true, do, you, brew, through, zoo, and shoe.  When learning these for the first time, it can be daunting for the child to memorize the rules for them.  There are so many “exceptions to the rule” in our language.   It would be much easier if they could “see” or visualize the word.  If the child really visualizes in his mind’s eye – if he can see the whole word, look at all the letters, see what all the letters look like, see which ones extend higher or lower than the others, and arrange them in order visually – he should have better success in spelling.

This ability of visualization is learned and trainable.  It is one of the goals strived for in optometric vision therapy to help in spelling and many other subjects.

-Source: Optometric Extension Program