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Why are reading and spelling so different? Some people have no trouble reading but have great difficulty with spelling.

There is no simple correlation between spelling and reading ability. Spelling involves a set of active, conscious processes that are not required for reading. Spelling is a letter-by-letter act and learning to spell is actually thought to be harder than learning to read. However, it is important to remember that writing, spelling, and reading are all inextricably linked together. Reading encourages good spelling and writing. When reading, people use their knowledge of letters, sounds, and context to work out what words say. People who work at increasing their familiarity with spelling patterns are well on their way to developing automatic word recognition. Good spelling and word recognition skills then combine to allow the skilled reader to recognize new words based on their morphemes-the smallest word element that changes a word's meaning-which is the primary way the student expands his or her vocabulary. If the student does not work at good spelling and letter-sound correspondence skills, that student will have trouble recognizing words quickly enough to completely comprehend the text. We want to establish the habit of perfect spelling from the beginning - the habit of taking a mental photograph of the word. Good spellers find recognizing words, and thus reading, easier. Good spellers read a lot. Does that mean that if you are an average-to-poor speller that you cannot read well? No. But it probably means that you have to work somewhat harder at word recognition than a good speller. Working harder does not make reading fun. One of the very best approaches is to have a spelling notebook at your side when you read (or write), to keep track of words you do not know, words you want to know more about, words you have trouble spelling, etc.

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