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Too many people are bad spellers

May 31, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
National media never used to televise the national spelling bee but now it seems to be a pretty big event. This is the last day of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C., where 278 kids were asked to spell incredibly difficult words.

Despite the acclaim for the spelling bee, according to an article in today's USA Today, many of today's kids are horrible spellers because schools don't bother to teach spelling anymore. Kids are also far too used to using texting shortcuts and too apt to rely on spell check, which does little good if they don't know how to spell the word in the first place.

I'm certainly not always a perfect speller, but I did make it to the state spelling bee when I was in the eighth grade. I still experience something akin to physical pain when I see a misspelled word and I see a lot of them online and in the press releases that are sent to me.

An expert quoted in the USA Today article notes that employers judge harshly when they receive a resume or a job application or a report or an e-mail that is riddled with misspellings. I can well believe it. Good spelling and proper use of grammar are still the mark of a highly educated person. Kids who haven't been taught to code-switch between text speak and standard English have been poorly educated.

All teachers need to return to teaching spelling and all kids need to be taught how to spell correctly, not just the kids who are competing in the national spelling bee.


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