Spelling Errors With Grade Nine Students English Language Essay


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The main goal of this study was to go beyond the general awareness that spelling is a problem for Grade 9 at Abdel Rahman Aldhakhel School students. Its purpose is to identify more specifically the kinds of spelling difficulties they have.

In addition, the purpose of the study was to determine the most common types of spelling errors made by those students who were in the ninth grades. In addition, the purpose of the study is to determine the main difficulties that face students in spelling. Also, It attempted to determine the causes of the spelling errors with those students and how could we solve them.

This study was limited to data obtained from a spelling test given to students in Abdel- Rahman Aldakhel School C2. There were 45 ninth grade students. They were all male students. Their ages were between 15 to 17 years old.

The data were collected from questionnaires given to different teachers. They were six males and four females.

The result was that most students committed at least one error in this test. The types of errors committed by the largest number of learners were omission, insertions, and substitution. Also, the most type of difficulty for students was silent letters. It was a problem for 38 students of 45 (84.4%). Also, way of writing sound /z/ and ways of writing sound /s/ were a problem for them.

Most of teachers agreed that the spelling errors might affect the students learning process. The researcher tried to find the best strategies that teachers and parents can follow to improve their children's spelling. Also, He mentioned the best activities that teachers can use in classes to reduce spelling errors with those learners. Also, the researcher focused on spelling errors in order to find out the common spelling errors and the best strategies to overcome them.


English as a second language is an easy language to start learning, because it is related to our language "Arabic". That means English and Arabic share some elements. Sometimes the same word (how to say it) like Alcohol. However, you will face some difficulties when you learn it. English is different from Arabic in the way of writing the letters and the way of pronouncing. Many students make more mistakes in spelling. That maybe because the spelling of word may not show the exact pronunciation (way of saying) of it. This is because English words come from many different sources. In addition, sometimes the word is too long to keep it or it is similar to another word. Therefore, that, some students mix them. Spelling errors are the most common type of mistake in the written work of English learners. Spelling is a particular problem because of the differences in the writing systems of Arabic and English. In addition, it is because in English the relationship between sounds and writing are not regular. The researcher focused on spelling errors in order to find out the common spelling errors and the best strategies to overcome them.

Statement of the problem

The students in grade nine at Abdel Rahman Aldakhel School face difficulty in spelling. They make many mistakes in their writings. They committed many mistakes in their exams and in their homework therefore that will affect their learning process. When they write a paragraph or an essay, they feel worry of those spelling mistakes. So, the researcher did this research to find the best ways to overcome those spelling errors and to know the best strategies that teachers and parents can follow to reduce spelling errors with those learners.


This research is very important for many reasons. First, it will determine the different types of spelling errors. Also, it will determine the different kinds of errors. Third, it will help both students and teachers to overcome those spelling errors in the future. In addition, it will help the teacher to choose the best ways to teach spelling for students.

Term of Definitions

1- Transfer refers to the effect of native language on the learning of second language.

2- Overgeneralization is common process in native language and second language in which the students extend the use of a grammatical rule of linguistic item beyond its accepted uses.

3- A communication strategy means to express meanings using the words and grammar.

Addition is the addition of unnecessary letters to a word.

2- Omission is the omission of a letter or letters from a word.

3- Substitution is the substitution of a letter or letters for the correct letters.

4- Inversion is the arranging of the correct letters in the wrong order in a word.

5- Miscellaneous is spelling which in no way resemble the word.

Review of literature

Spelling defined as the learner's ability to write words correctly from memory. Effective writing depends on effective spelling. Understanding learners' spelling difficulties can help teachers support the development of learners' writing.

Good spelling is a goal to the students in his writing. The student who cannot spell has a very difficult time in converting his ideas to others. His thoughts are broken by inability to spell words. The misspelled words will take the mind of the reader away from the meaning of the message. So, spelling is necessary for communication.

Errors made by second language learners are classified into two groups, interlingual and interlingual errors. First, Interlingual errors are those that result from language transfer and caused by the learner's native language. Some researchers hypothesized that errors in the second language are caused by the interference of the student's native language. Such errors reflect the student's inability to separate native language and second language. Other researchers pointed out that students' errors in second language are caused by several things. These include transfer, overgeneralization and communication strategies. Transfer refers to the effect of native language on the learning of second language. In transfer, some patterns are borrowed from native language. In Overgeneralization, patterns may be extended from second language by analogy. Overgeneralization is common process in native language and second language in which the students extend the use of a grammatical rule of linguistic item beyond its accepted uses, generally by making words or structures follow a more regular pattern. A communication strategy means to express meanings using the words and grammar, which are already known. Intralingual errors are those, which result from faulty learning of second language, rather than from language transfer.

Phenix (2001) believes that spelling difficulties with learners can be divided into two groups. First, linguistic, which are related to the nature of the language. Second, personal, which are related to the different stages of development learners go through. Phenix (2001) describes these stages as follows:

First, pre-phonetic, learners use a mixture of pictures, signs, shapes and letters. Second, semi-phonetic, learners use letter names to represent the sounds. Third, phonetic stage, learners use known sounds to write words and they become aware of word boundaries and leave spaces between words. Fourth, visual learners use most letters correctly, if not in the right order; they use vowels in every syllable.

Fifth, mature which means that learners use a full range of strategies to spell words and they are able to make analogies from known spelling patterns; they are able to recognize incorrect spellings.

There are many studies done on spelling errors and the different kinds of errors and different types of difficulties. Snowball did a study on spelling errors and the main kinds of spelling errors. She listed six different kinds of spelling errors. She said that it is not enough to know that the students have misspelled words but she finds it useful to analyze the different types of error students are making and then provide relevance teaching based on that knowledge. She listed some common types of spelling errors based on his study and the best strategies to help them overcome them. The First kind is spelling by sound only like photo, foto. The second kind is not hearing sounds in words like, library, library. Third, confusing about homophones like tow, too, to. Fourth, shaky grasp of suffix and prefix rules like stopt, stopped. Fifth, lack of attention to the order of letters in words like, brid, bird. Finally, knowing to spell, but not to caring like, for some students, the problem is not a lack of spelling skill but confusion about the importance of spelling correctly. Teachers should be careful when dealing with those kinds of errors. She listed some strategies that teachers can follow for overall correction. First, teachers should ask them what ideas they are using when they spell. Then, he should use their answers as a starting point to clear up confusion. Second, when analyzing or correcting spelling mistakes, they should keep in mind the appropriate expectations for the age and experience of the writer. Third, they should be sure to point out the many good strategies that they observe in students spelling. Then, they should encourage their students by using phrases like these, I like the way you try unknown words, I see that you know how to spell many high-frequency words, I see that you are learning how to use common spelling patterns and I notice that you care about your audience and so you have proofread your writing. (Snowball, 1997)

There are four types of spelling errors that learners of English commonly make. These are omissions and it means leaving letters out, substitutions, which means replacing letters with incorrect ones, transpositions, which means reversing the position of letters, and additions /insertion, which means including extra letters.( clements, 1971)

It is very important to teach students the best strategies to learn words and to check spelling of words they have written. Teachers and parents are alike need to incorporate teaching strategies for learning words and strategies for teaching spelling into all curricula.

Sarah Malburg (2009) mentioned some strategies that can parents do to improve their children spelling as the following: Parents can help in teaching spelling to their children. They should sit with their children at home for a fixed amount of time in order to teach or learn spellings of words. In addition, they can put the common words on different items at home. Children will look at the word daily and they will try to establish the relationship of words and their use in daily life. In addition, they can use hide and seek technique for teaching word spellings to their children. They can make the child look at the word, say the word, hide the word with one hand behind the back, then have them write and say the word and then check it. Parents can close the eyes of their children with their hands; tell them to visualize a picture of the word in their heads. They can tell the child to trace the letters in the air with eyes closed. Then, they tell the child to open their eyes and write the word on the paper. In addition, they can tell the child to check the spelling with the word in the book. They also can teach children about group words. Parents should encourage children to make associations of words with similar patterns e.g. other, brother, mother etc. There are some strategies that can teachers do to improve their students spelling as the following. The teacher should teach spelling strategies in the classroom. While teaching, the teacher should say the word slowly and students should listen carefully. Then he should write the word clearly, syllable-by-syllable on the blackboard. Then, he should write the similar sounding words on the blackboard e.g. bead, dead, read, bread etc. The teacher should teach students about listening to the order of sounds in a word. In addition, he should teach students about the derivations of different words from the base word e.g. sign, signal, resign etc. this will help children in the formation of new words by adding prefixes and suffixes. Teacher should teach dictionary skills to his students. He should explain alphabetical order and use different word endings under the base word e.g. bank, banking etc.

من الكتاب

There are six common ways that can teacher follow in teaching spelling for learners and they are called Six Research- Based Techniques. First, careful word selection, you cannot pain a picture without the pain, and you cannot teach spelling without words. So, teachers should be careful when choosing words and they should agree that the words are suitable for their students. Second, using a pretest-study-posttest format, administrating a pretest is an efficient way to individualize spelling. In the pretest, each writer in classroom quickly and easily demonstrates whether or not he or she knows the words or patterns in the week's unit of study.

Third, use a self-correction technique, follow self-correction technique like, Find a partner and take the test, ask your partner to read your words and tell you if there are any words he does not know (how to say). Then, say the words for him, write the word on a piece of paper. when you complete your list, witch roles

Fourth, teach children How to study unknown words. A system technique for learning the correct spelling of words is by using a combination of auditory, visual, kinesthetic and tactile procedures. You have to follow look, say, write technique.

Fifth, use spelling Games: using games in teaching students is a useful way because to attract the students attention. Many students like games and it will be an affective way to teach them by using games. Sixth is word sorting like, using pocket chart.


In order to know the common spelling errors and their causes, the researcher chooses spelling errors as a topic of my research. Then, he started to collect the information from different sources. First, he observed his classes (Grade 9/4 and 9/1) at Abdel-Rahman Al-Dakhel School. The participants were 45 boys. The learners were aged 15-17. The boys were in two classes of 23 and 22. He observed the students while they were writing in class, their writing in the exams and he found some spelling mistakes. In addition, he took four workbooks. Then, he searched about the spelling errors in their writing in their workbooks. Next, he analyzed the results. I searched in the internet about some information that helped me in analyzing the results. In addition, I interviewed some teachers at Abdel-Rahman Al-Dakhel School. I asked them about the common spelling errors and the reasons that make students spell wrong. Finally, I wrote the report.

Data were collected through spelling tests administered to these learners. Also, data were collected through interviewing some English teachers. I choose 10 words.

The learners in each class were given a copy of their ten words to study the day before the test.

This figure shows that most of the teachers agree with that spelling errors may affect students learning process. In addition, some of them said that they agree with that spelling errors affect students learning. Some teachers don't agree with this point. They said that it does not affect students learning.

This figure shows that some teachers were agree with that reading stories or books help students to limit spelling errors. However, some of them were not agree at all with this point. They said that students cannot limit spelling errors by reading stories and books only. They have to follow a plan to solve this problem and there are some steps they can follow to reduce spelling errors.

This figure shows that all the teacher were agree with that teaching way plays a major role to improve students' spelling. So, the teachers should focus more in their teaching ways to reduce spelling errors with students or to improve spelling with those students.

This figure shows that most teachers were agree with this point. They said that improving students' spelling helps them to improve their language.

Most teachers arguer with this point and they said that it is not enough to teach them the phonetics to reduce spelling errors or to improve their spelling. There are some ways that they have to follow to improve their spelling.

Most students committed at least one error in this test. The types of errors committed by the largest number of learners were omission, insertions, and substitution, while errors of transposition were present in the work of smaller proportions of learners. Some students did well in the test and they were seven students. Substitution was the most types of errors that students fell in with 84.4%. In addition, Omission was one of the most types of errors with 84.4%. Some students committed two mistakes in one word, (omission and substitution), like bul instead of pull. So, as the researches approved that substitution and omission are the most common type of errors that Arab learners make.

This figure shows that the most type of difficulty for students was silent letters. It was a problem for 38 students of 45 (84.4%). Most of them wrote nock instead of knock because they spell words by sounds only. In addition, way of writing sound /z/ and ways of writing sound /s/ were a big problem for them. Some students wrote z instead of s like noz. There are other mistakes done by those students like writing b instead of p and that problem because they are not hearing sounds in words. The number of the students who did not make any errors and they did not have difficulties were 15.5% only.


Through these tables, the researcher noticed that the students faces difficulty in spelling and that of course will affect the learning process.

He tried to know the reasons and how can a teacher help students to solve their problems. He think that the reasons are first, the way of teaching because most teachers don't care about spelling and they care only about speaking, so the students can read the word but they can't spell it. The second reason that some students when they learn any new word, they do not try to spell it and they don't practice to write or use it. The third reason is that most students don't read English magazines, books or newspapers which are important to know the words and the spelling of them.

The Fourth reason is that most students can't differentiate between the C and S, C and K. The fifth reason is that most students writes what they hear like writing Z instead of s. The last reason that most words in English have silent syllables like light, know, bought, listen…act.

Recommendations for students:

Students should follow a plan to solve this problem.

Students should use the unit list of words to study the words carefully.

Students should read books and magazines.

Students should practice writing the difficult words at home many times in order to remember the words correctly.

Students should listen to the words carefully and try to differentiate between different sounds of letters.



Recommendations for teachers:

- Teachers should

Recommendations for curriculum designers:


The research showed that some students faced problems in learning second language. They are facing problem in spelling more than verbal skills. The researcher showed the common spelling errors and how the teacher can solve them to improve students. In my opinion, there should be a special class that focuses on reading and writing for improving spelling skills. That will make the teachers care more about spelling. We recommend that Education College should provide teachers with training courses in developing strategies to improve spelling skills. In conclusion, learning language requires many inputs.

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