We always see it on the news every year, the annual spelling bee. It’s that time when one child’s ability to spell all those words that we never use is highlighted by the world. And spelling is important, but is it as important as it used to be?
Now, for those of you with grammar or spelling Nazis around you place your 911 call now, because those individuals have just gone into cardiac arrest. But let’s all just admit it. Being the perfect speller or grammar clinician just isn’t as necessary as it used to be.
Okay, I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t teach grammar or spelling. Everyone needs to be able to communicate in writing, but let’s admit it. We all use spellcheck to correct our spelling and grammar. With the exception of one of my friends most of us are actually dependent on it. I am! I was the kid in the class that dreaded spelling tests and those weeks of torture in English class called diagramming sentences. It was awful! It really didn’t make a lot of sense to me, and so I didn’t care. And whenever I went to the board to diagram the sentence well I felt stupid because I couldn’t do it the way I was supposed to. In fact it deterred me from writing for years. I only wrote when I had to. I never would have put together anything like a blog. I just didn’t want to be told how poorly I wrote.
So along comes this thing called spellcheck. It provided those of us who are grammatically and spelling challenged the opportunity to reduce the ridicule we receive when we misspell a word, or when we put together a fragmented sentence. While sometimes it will come up with a wrong answer, as the grammar Nazis will point out, it is an equalizer in the writing world.
So it isn’t as important to be the best speller in the class as it used to be. But I wouldn’t throw it out of the school curriculum just yet. And I'm pretty sure those spelling bees aren't going away any time soon either.
Music to blog by Rockabilly Roustabout Ukulele Style performed by Al Wood