6th Grade Spelling - Teaching Tips for Problematic Words


student - writing

Two types of 6th grade spelling words are especially problematic for two reasons:
1) Words that are easily confused with other words and

2) Words words with tricky vowel spellings.
We'll look at examples of these words, along with ways to help students learn to spell these words correctly.
Note: These tips work well with problematic words for any upper elementary students or adults.


Many sixth grade spelling words are easily confused with other words that sound or look similar.

Consider these word pairs:
  • accept/except       
  • believe/belief
  • hangar/hanger

In order to learn the correct spellings of these words, students must make an intentional effort to look at the different spellings, look at their different meanings and then practice the proper usage of these words.


To help students master these words, one of the best assignments you can give them is to:
  • Write out brief definitions for each word, including its part of speech, and
  • Write ONE sentence that uses both words.

The student's response would look something like this:
accept - verb,  "to receive something"  
except - preposition, "excluding"

Everyone accepted the award except Mona, who was absent.


For help with incorrect usage of homonyms, such as hangar/hanger, their/they're/there. capital/capitol and many more sets, check out our online spelling game and our list of 50 homonym sets.


Another set of tricky 6th grade spelling words may be those that contain "extra" vowels, vowels that form their own syllable, or vowels that are frequently replaced with incorrect vowels.

Troublesome vowels words include:

ancient coupon disastrous
familiar marriage separate
temperature vacuum vegetable


One of the best ways to learn some of these words is to over-emphasize the problematic vowel when pronouncing the words.

For instance, teach your student to pronounce these words with  FcarrotOUR syllables:  vegetable:  Say  "vej-EH-tuh-buhl"
familiar: Say  "fuh-mil-E-yer"   or  "fuh-mil-I-yer"Encourage your student to mentally use this intentional mispronunciation to help her spell the word correctly until she has it memorized.

Read more tips for building spelling skills with other difficult 
upper elementary words.

Go to main page for 6th grade spelling words

Go to home page for Spelling Words Well


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