Homophone help



Homophones are words that sound the same. means same. means sound. Common homophones we use in daily life: two, to, too. I often get the question, “why is it spelled that way?” when it relates to a homophone. Sometimes I hear, “why don’t they just spell all those words the same way?”

I have to start this conversation with the fact that our writing system is a way to record meaning, not necessarily sounds. Our oral English language has been used for a lot longer than our written language. Spoken language shift over time. Think of the word, “selfie”. That is a word that did not exist 20 years ago, but became popular in our language with the advent of smart phone and front facing cameras. Eventually Webster’s dictionary decides that it needs to formalize it’s spelling and add it into the written language. You can see how spoke words typically develop long before a written representation exists.

So what’s the deal with homophones? Why do we have to spell them differently if they are said the same? Most homophones start in our speech, but as we talk the context we use allows us to know whether we are talking about items or meaning also. We might as a society revolt against the word and insist everybody uses because it is distinguished from and , but society will continue to use words that are familiar.

So it leaves scribes attempting to figure out how to spell homophones differently because they represent two different items or meanings. Therefore, scribes must look into the history of related words to choose the spelling of words that create meaning on its spelling. One might ask, why it is that there is a unvoiced in . Great question! That marks a connection to the words such as and which both have a in them. It may seem odd to insert an unvoiced letter into any word, but English scribes worked to create morphological connections between words. They wanted to connect the meaning (2, 12, 20) together in the spelling or orthographic representation.

So when you come across a set of homophones, try to consider what their history is. Try to consider what meaning a vowel team or unvoiced letter might have in the spelling. It wasn’t put there to be “weird” or “crazy”. It has a meaning.

Lastly, I will leave you with a resource for finding homophone. It is the homophone dictionary. There are many homophones that we come into contact with daily, but some are more obscure, yet equally valid.

Independence in Checking Your Writing for a Dyslexic Student

How you check your writing

How you check your writing

When a student with dyslexia writes, they use a lot of brain power to get their thoughts onto the page. Most dyslexic students are unable to process their thought, capitals, punctuation and spelling all in one moment as they put pen to paper. Most students have to review each process separately. I like to use the acronym: CHOPS.

C- capitals. Go back to see where capitals need to be? Where are there capitals that don’t belong?

H- handwriting. Is it neat? Are your o’s closed? Are your t’s crossed? Can you make out each letter?

O- out loud. Read your writing out loud to make sure it sounds right.

P- punctuation. Do your sentences have a punctation at the end? Any commas, or quotation marks needed?

S- spelling/sight words. Do all of your words look right? Do you need to look any of them up?

This simple acronym can help your writing become easier to read by others, especially teachers and writing critics.

When to add an -es to word rather than just an s

Add -ed when word ends in s, ss, sh, ch, x, z

When to add -es

What is the rule about when to add an “es” to the end of a word rather than just an “s”? It may be simple when we talk, if we are native English speakers, but when writing why does the “es” happen? The reason it happens is purely for sound.

The -es is added to words that end in s, ss, sh, x, ch, or z. All of these letter sounds have a similar /s/ sound when saying it’s sound making just adding an “s” awkward to say. Therefore, orally we added another syllable when added a plural or verb change so that it is easier to say.






This is an important distinction for spelling. When reading, students seem to read the ‘es’ well, but get tripped up as to when to add the ‘es’ rather than just the ‘s’.  I hope these key words will help your student remember when ‘es’ is needed.

How to choose spelling of -ce or -se at end of a word

how to spell words with "ce" or "se" ending

ce or se spelling?

When spelling words, sometimes it is difficult to know how to use two similar sounding sets of letters, such as “ce” or “se” at the end of a word. Dyslexia makes spelling difficulty, but when there are similar sounding ending happening, it can make spelling even more difficult. Lets look at two ways to choose the “ce” or the “se” ending.

The first area, that I will discuss is sound. Notice that some words that end in “se” are actually said with a /z/ sound, such as nose and surprise. When you are trying to figure out whether these words should end in “se” or “ce”, choose “se”. The reason is that “ce” ending should not have a /z/ sound, they will have a /s/ sound such as pace.

The next contemplation is for words that are similar to each other with the only different is the letter of c or s, such as advise and advice. The rule of thumb for this differentiation is that the word ending in ‘se’ is a verb, while the word ending in ‘ce’ is a noun.

Sometimes the nuance of a small letter with a similar sound can really put a wrench in the spelling. I hope this helps your student make some correct choices when needing to spell some of these advanced words.