A Free and Cozy Way to Learn Spelling

The Free Cozy Grammar Newsletter with Marie Rackham and Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma

We're delighted to announce that Marie's Free Cozy Spelling Course is once again open for registration. Over the past five weeks, we've been hard at work redesigning and revamping this time-tested course for our new website.

In this month's video, watch Cozy Grammar's producer and director David Mielke describe the features of this comprehensive and popular free course.

Now you may ask whether it's still important to study spelling at all, especially when tools to check spelling seem to be all around us.

It's an excellent question.

Spelling as a Tool of Insight

At Cozy Grammar, our answer is a resounding yes. Knowing the spelling of words is an essential part of mastering language, and not simply because it helps us write words correctly the first time.

Understanding spelling also offers a way to understand words more deeply. This is because learning the principles of spelling can help us to see and hear the different parts of words more clearly.

For example, by paying attention to the spelling of the word principle, we can see that it begins with the same five letters as the word prince.

This observation, in turn, can help us to see that these two words come from the same Latin root: princip, "leader," "one who initiates." 

A prince is meant to take a community forward, just as a principle is meant to take our understanding to new heights.

The Discovery of Confidence

Spelling, in other words, can help unlock the meanings of words and cultivate greater confidence with language. It can lead to the joy of standing on one's own two feet.

This is something Marie believed in passionately. She certainly wasn't opposed to using the latest tools. The Basic Cozy Grammar Course, in fact, grew out of her decision to master the computer. (She tells the story in the preface to the Basic Cozy Grammar Course.)

But she was careful to distinguish between mastering a tool and allowing a tool to master us.

If we can't spell without a spellchecker, we've given up an essential skill and become dependent on a program which may not even always be correct.

But if we understand spelling from the inside, we can make use of a spellchecker without diminishing our own sense of self-confidence.

A Powerful Tip for Spelling

So in the spirit of discovering confidence in oneself, I wanted to share a tip for mastering the spelling of words:

For words you have difficulty spelling, you can make up a story or saying to remember whatever part seems tricky.

For example, we talked about the word principle above. This word is easily confused with the word principal, as in the leader of a school.

To remember the difference, I made up a saying for myself: "a principal should feel like a pal to the students in his or her school."

Now I never get principle and principal confused.

Spelling and Creativity

Making up stories or sayings like these draws on the associative power of language and memory.

Even just trying to think up a story can be enough to help us remember a spelling. It helps the mind look at something with fresh and inquisitive eyes.

More than that, this process can help to stimulate our creativity and to deepen our insights into the meanings of words.

And it can also help us to savor language more deeply, to taste its hidden sweetness.

As Marie used to say, we might even call it . . .

the word "delicious" with Marie in the wind by the waves

We hope you'll find Marie's Free Cozy Spelling Course to be a delicious and insightful exploration of words.

This is our gift to you, in gratitude for the gifts that Marie gave to us.

Thank you for joining us this month. If you happen to know anyone who would be interested in free excerpts and grammar tips from Marie and myself, please feel free to pass along our newsletter.

See you again next month!

Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma



Marie's Language Consultant
The Cozy Grammar Series of Courses