The NLP Spelling Strategy
April 11th, 2013 by Tony Barlow
When I first started out helping students with NLP it just so happened that the first 3 students I worked with requested help with spelling issues, so I was keen to try out the NLP Spelling Strategy. The parents of these students told me the following:
"He gets a spelling test every week but out of the 10 words he is supposed to learn, when it comes to the test he generally gets 4/10 and is losing confidence"
"My daughter does ok in spelling tests but when it comes to using the words in writing the spellings have a lot of errors again"
"We are practicing the phonics rules but it doesn't seem to be helping"
WHY DO SO MANY STUDENTS STRUGGLE WITH SPELLING?
Our brain is the most powerful super computer on the planet, why on earth would your brain have trouble remembering the spelling of simple words like 'happy' or 'one' or 'two' or 'scissors'.
WHAT MOST POOR SPELLERS DO
When a student comes to me with a spelling problem I always ask them to spell a few words and I watch their eye movements and I ask them what they are thinking to come up with the answers. 9 times out of 10 when a student is having trouble, they are GUESSING FROM THE SOUND OF THE WORD what letters go there. For example I might ask "Can you spell the word scissors for me"? and the student will look to the side (auditory accessing) and SAY the word to themselves, and then they will look up and imagine what that sounds like. Well it sounds like S I Z O R S and that's how they come up with the answer.
WHAT GOOD SPELLERS ALWAYS DO
The NLP Spelling Strategy is something Richard Bandler (Co Founder of NLP) found back in the 70's by modeling spelling bee champions. When I ask a good or great speller to spell a word they just immediately look up and look at the picture of the word in their mind, they remember what the word LOOKS LIKE, they have it recorded as a picture in their mind. Think of any word you already know to spell, (choose any word now) and ask yourself the following questions.
-How do you know how to spell the word ?
-Whats the last letter of the word ?
What happened INSIDE your mind in order to answer the above questions ? I can pretty much guarantee you that the reason you were able to answer the above questions is because you know what the word looks like right ? You have a visual memory of the word. In other words you have a picture of the word in your mind. Good spellers normally visualize a dark color on a light background and the picture is about a meter or closer away from the person. Richard Bandler discovered this back in the 70's and has published the NLP Spelling Strategy in many of his books, but still schools teach the 'phonics' method which in my opinion causes an ineffective mental strategy for most kids.
THE PROBLEM WITH FONIX
I will write another article on this subject as it's one of my pet peeves but he is the basic problem with the phonics approach when it comes to spelling. If a student is having trouble learning the spelling of a word a teacher may say to the student "Sound it Out". So the student SAYS the word to themselves and then guesses from the sound what letters to put there. SOUND familiar ! This is exactly what the students who are having trouble with spelling do. The phonics approach encourages a mental strategy that doesn't work. Why doesn't it work ? because 40% of the words in English don't look like they sound, it simply does not work. As I heard Richard Bandler once say "Sound out the word 'caught' Ka Ug Huh Tu, does that help to know what letters to put there ?, now I want you to sound out a silent 'e', does that sound like an 'e' to you ?"
HOW TO TEACH STUDENTS THE NLP SPELLING STRATEGY
Here is the NLP spelling strategy modeled from spelling B champions when they are learning new words. Its extremely simple. In order to record a word as a picture in your mind you simply need to visualize the word in your mind for a few seconds. After doing this 2-3 times it will stick in your neurology.
- Look at the word on the page
- Look up and picture the word in your mind, large letters that are in a color that is easy to see (black letters on a white background)
- Hold the image in your mind until you can read the letters easily forwards and even backwards just to be sure
That is the basic strategy, I will put a video up for a full demonstration its a little bit difficult to explain in words. I will eventually get around to putting up videos for all the strategies, I promise.
START TURNING AROUND SPELLING ISSUES RIGHT NOW !
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