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  • Writer's pictureGaila Cohen Morrison

Dear Gaila - The Best Spelling Trick Ever

Dear Gaila,

How can I teach my students to spell "crazy English words"? Words that just don't make any sense because they don't follow the rules or just too hard for my 4th grade students?


Spelling English words that don't follow the rules

Dear Hadas,

English is indeed a crazy language. Since so many words are borrowed from different languages, the spelling is often dependent on the source language rules. One trick I often like to use with my students (usually 3rd-5th graders, but also weak older students) is to create a sentence using a word for each letter. For example, to remember the words BECAUSE, I have my students memorize Big Elephants Can't Always Use Small Elevators. Here are a few more good ones:

Best Spelling Trick

Have your students write them down and draw a picture exemplifying the sentence. Now let them create their own sentence as a mnemonic device words that are hard for them to spell. The ones they make up themselves always work best!


Gaila has almost 40 year of experience teaching and runs A.H.A.V.A., a non-profit to promote English literacy. Would you like to ask Gaila a question? Email us at or send us a message. Look out for more Dear Gaila columns

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