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Learn how to spell with the NLP spelling strategy.

Someone recently emailed me, asking about the best way to learn to spell. She sounds like she is form the far East, but is now in America. Here is my reply.


You sound as if you are referring to the NLP spelling strategy.

The thing to do to be able to spell properly, is to remember what the whole word looks like. Do not try to remember the letters individually, but see ALL the letters at the same time. Look at the whole word till you can still see what it looks like with your eyes closed.

Then, with your eyes closed, turn away so you cannot see the word and write or even draw the word on a piece of paper, so that it looks the same as the printed one. Now look back at the word to check if you have got it right.

If it is not right, get rid of the paper, notice how the word should look, turn away again and write it on a fresh piece of paper. Compare again and repeat until you get it right.

Once you can remember it properly, you should be able to write it backwards, ie. starting at the end and writing the letters backwards to the beginning. You can also get a friend to ask you what the third or fifth or any other letter is while you are not looking at the word (and while they are looking at it if it is a difficult one.) With practice, you will soon get words right first time.

Learn each difficult word one at a time from a dictionary or pick words from a printed book. Never use someone else’s writing or typing, as these may have mistakes! Only use properly published books or dictionaries.

If you are learning or improving your English, get someone else- a native English speaker, to read out loud to you and to point at each word as they say it. Get them to read simple children’s stories this way. Your brain will then link the shape of the word to the meaning and you will remember the shape of the word automatically after a while.

This will also make it easier to speed read, as you will not need to say the words to yourself in your mind as you read. Instead, you will just see the shape of the word and silently know its meaning.

Avoid ever guessing at the spelling of a word. Especially avoid trying to work it out from the sound. If you do not know what it should look like, then look it up in a dictionary.

Remember that English is NOT phonetic! if it were, then ‘phonetic’ would be spelled ‘funetik’ or it would be pronounced ‘P-hon-etik’.

From an NLP point of view, you need to use a ‘visual memory strategy’ (remembering what the word looks like) to be able to spell. You cannot rely on an ‘auditory creative strategy’ (working out the spelling from the sound) as it will mislead you.

I hope this helps.


Incidentally, I taught a young school boy how to spell using this strategy within half an hour. I then went on to teach him speed reading and to work with his general confidence and fear of being bullied.

There are a number of other useful NLP strategies for learning, memorising and understanding as well, but the NLP Spelling Strategy is probably the most famous.

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