How To Teach Spelling To Adults?

Resources and techniques for Teaching Spelling to adults and teaching English as a second language. With links.

How to teach Spelling to adults

Teaching spelling to adults presents some specific challenges . First of all it could be more difficult to keep adults engaged compared to a class of children. Probably the students will have to review  all the previous information they learned on the language, and re elaborate all the wrong notions and habits . Anyways, most adults willing to learn will be humble enough to learn English if you keep them engaged by using the techniques and resources described in the following paragraphs.

Introducing phonics

One of the most crucial things in learning a language, especially spelling, is understanding phonics.  Since spelling is closely related to dictation, phonics and how the word sounds are really very important. The key here is how creative you are when you link the sound with letters and words, check out some of our articles about phonics:

Fun Activities for phonemic awareness

5 Best Ways To Build Phonological & Phonemic Awareness

Rules and patterns

When it comes to teaching spelling to adults, you need to keep reminding them about the rules and patterns. Many adults start learning a second language language from scratch, usually because for communication needs, without taking care of the grammar underneath. Thus, it is a good practice to review the basic rules, such as vowel placements and double letters. It is quite a common issue forgetting the rules in spelling. Check out the following articles explaining both basic and advanced grammar rules:

5 Most Important Spelling Rules to Improve Your Writing Skills

How To Increase Fluency In Reading? 5 Strategies That Will Help

Prepositions words list – What you need to know

More in general check out this list of articles related to English grammar

Choose the right worksheets for your students

Choosing the right worksheets is very important when teaching English spelling, you can craft your own worksheets for each lesson using our free spelling web app,  articles to know how to signup and create a custom printable flashcards file or spelling words table in a snap.

Create pdf word lists and flash cards in 6 easy steps.

Picture /  word association

Many people are gifted with very good visual memorization capabilities ,and learning through images can be highly beneficial for them.
This means that having an associated picture with the word can help a lot. You can use a worksheet created with the SBN app and use a pdf editor to associate to it with pictures to help your adult students learn how to spell.


When teaching an adult, you can be very creative with your analogies. Utilize the words they already know when you make the analogy. It’s great practice so they can learn how to spell the longer words faster. You can use the practice as an icebreaker before class.

Misspelled words

Another fun thing to have is to play and create quizzes with misspelled words. You can have several misspelled words and your adult students will have to identify the correct ones.
After taking a spelling test with the SBN App, misspelled words are listed in the report card, use those words to create tailored words lists for your students so they can fix them and repeat the test.
Find out everything about the Spelling Test app in this article:

How to train for the spelling bee – Online Spelling Tests

Puzzles and brainteasers

Perhaps it’s one of the most popular teaching spelling to adults to date. Having puzzles and brainteasers to learn to spell will make the class as far more enjoyable. Your adult students will welcome the worksheet with the same enthusiasm as the younger ones. Here on Spelling Bee Ninja, we do offer a wide range of free printable word search games , check them out and print the ones that best suit your students’ needs. Also you can play these games directly online using a laptop, a tablet or a mobile phone.

For further Spelling games you might be interested in, please check our dedicated page here:

Organize spelling bees

It is always a cool idea to have your students engaged in fun activities to make the learning process simpler and easier to bear. Organizing a mock up spelling bee in your class could be a lot of fun and instructive at the same time, on this website we have many articles describing how to organize spelling bees, find below some links:

How to successfully organize a spelling bee event

Search Spelling Bee Ninja

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