I’m not sure about you all, but learning how to spell was a huge obstacle that I had to overcome. I grew up in Mexico, well only until I was about 5 years old, in a small city called Jalisco. Spanish was my first language, the only language I knew of at that age. I don’t remember ever hearing of “English”, up until my arrival in the United States of America. My parents decided that moving to the U.S. would give me (and my non-existent siblings at the time) a better opportunity for a more successful future. My parents immediately enrolled me in school where I met the best teacher, to this day, that I have ever had! Mrs. Mckay was extremely sweet with me since she noticed how out of place I felt. Schools in Mexico aren’t exactly as strict and orderly as they are here in the U.S. Anyways, Mrs. Mckay would spend extra time with me because of the hard time that I was having understanding even the concept of there being a different language than the one I grew up listening to and speaking.
The real struggle did not begin until my later elementary and early middle school years. Although I started school on time, I was still behind other students because of the disadvantage of not being familiar with the English language as a child. I felt frustrated and upset with myself because of the fact that I was always getting told “You need to improve your spelling!” I eventually got to the point where I did not care anymore. I felt that with time I’ll get better at it, so why stress right?
In my seventh year of school (7th grade), I read my first chapter book. It was the first time I actually forced myself to give reading, for fun, a chance. I was hooked! The book was called Velocity by Dean Koontz, one of my top favorite authors. After that I was reading non-stop. The English class I was in at the time required us to read a certain amount of books and take quizzes for them to accumulate points. My teacher kept a chart on the wall and would put a sticker for every 10 points that we would receive. One of the funniest memories I have is classmates asking me to sit next to them at the computers so they would be able to copy the answers as I was doing them (I felt cool to be honest). The same year that I discovered how much fun reading is, I received my first bookworm award. I remember walking up to receive my award and hearing giggles and jokes about the type of award I was receiving but I felt proud of myself which is all that matters.
As time passed I began reading bigger more intellectual books, not just the ones that were assigned for English classes during High School which at the time were the most difficult books that we were forcefully made to read, but books that I myself chose to read. With time I realized how much my vocabulary had expanded and how I was beginning to spell words that I did not think I would ever be able to spell.
When I read, I see words over and over again. Seeing that repetition is what helped me the most with spelling. I mean how can you not know how to spell words that you see over and over and over again? Reading bigger and more difficult books is when I started to notice a difference in my spelling and vocabulary. I was exposed to words that I had never seen before with spelling that made me think I was reading a foreign language. Seeing all this while I read made me learn something that I have always struggled with and not even notice that I had done it.
Reading may seem boring and even torturous to many people, but reading is what helped me accomplish a goal that I have had for myself since I was a child. Reading not only opened up my mind to many new ideas, but it also gave me the courage and confidence to not be scared of people reading my work and commenting on how it was not “good” because of all the spelling errors in it. Spelling is not easy, so if you are having a hard time with it as much as I did, I would recommend picking up a dreadful and boring hobby like reading.