Based on one of the lesson plans in Little Lemon: Activities for Developing Motivation and Memory Skills by Betsy B. Lee, Learning Abilities Books, This lesson plan may be reproduced for classroom use only. All other rights are reserved. (Lesson plan Copyright 1997 Betsy B. Lee) Return to Lesson Plans or Catalog from Learning Abilities Books.

Spelling with Memory Cues

List of Words

Age group:

This is for any age; however, younger children need help in selecting relevant, non-ambiguous associations, e. g. see the explanation about how to spell the word, color.


Many people remember how to spell words correctly by using memory cues. Use these activities to teach children in K-5 and upper grades to apply techniques used by memory experts. The basic memory principle in this lesson plan is to associate, or link, something you need to remember to something you already know. It might be a silly association or a logical association. It just needs to be a memorable association.

Learning the basic rules of spelling is highly recommended. This lesson plan is not meant to replace other methods of teaching. However, this works as a great alternative when other methods fail.

We tell children to begin a word at the left. Some children don't want to admit that they don't know left from right. They might need the lesson titled, Right and Left Links.


Rules are good but they don't always work. Some people find it hard to remember the exceptions to the rules.

Regional accents can contribute to spelling difficulties with phonics.

Especially with global travel via the Internet, children discover that standard spelling for some words is different in the USA and the UK.

Spell check on the computer is important but sometimes it doesn't work right (write?). Some of the older children will enjoy My Knew Spelling Checker.

Your Suggestions:

Memory cues to add to this page are requested from anyone who uses the English language. Because this site originates in the USA, spelling in this lesson plan is based on the way words are spelled here unless there are memory cues for both systems.

  1. If a word is spelled differently in the USA and UK, please suggest ways to remember the spelling found in standard dictionaries for each system. Slang words are avoided unless they are in standard dictionaries. However, if these present problems for your students, use the techniques in this lesson plan to help them.

    One Example:
    The color, gray, is spelled this way in America.
    Cue: America starts with an A. Think of A for America.
    The color, grey, is spelled this way in England.
    Cue: England starts with an E. Think of E for England.

    Another Example:
    The word, color, is spelled this way in America or The States.
    The word, colour, is spelled this way in the UK. Add the u in color for the United Kingdom. Avoid refering to America as the USA because UK and USA have u's in them. Cues need to be relevant, non-ambiguous associations.

  2. Send short entries such as the ones in this list.

  3. Send new words or additional suggestions
    for the words which are listed to
    Replace (AT) with the @ sign. This helps cut down on spam.
    Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

    Most of these cues are ones which I remembered from my childhood.
    Thanks to all of the contributors of other memory cues.

List of Words

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