Spelling is sometimes difficult in English. There are many more sounds in our language than letters in our alphabet, so it’s no wonder letters have more than one sound. Our spelling woes stem partly from the fact that our language is so rich and varied. Latin, Greek, French, Italian, and other languages have all contributed to ours, and each has its own system of spelling.
In addition, words and pronunciations change over time, resulting in more than one sound for a particular spelling, and vice versa. However, studies have shown that most words in English follow consistent spelling patterns.
Learning to spell properly (especially the words that don’t follow patterns) takes effort. It can be easier if you have a system. The Horn Method, described below, is one system you can use.
When you see a new word, do this:
1. Look at the word.
2. Say the word to yourself.
3. Close your eyes and spell the word to yourself, visualizing each letter.
4. Check your spelling. If incorrect, repeat the first three steps.
5. Write the word.
6. Check your spelling. If incorrect, go back to Step 1. If correct, write the word two more times.