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According to spelling experts, it is very important that the learners of a secondary language should be equipped with the basic words as to be able to communicate effectively in that language. So, in as much as the learners should efficient in the spoken aspects, it is crucial and necessary that the words should be spelt correctly. This is were good spelling habit comes in. To spell means to name correctly in order, the letter that make up a word. However, to many students there are difficulties being encountered in this essential academic activity spelling. This is the focus of this research work. It has been established that really; students commit spelling errors for various reasons ranging from their own carelessness to inappropriate teaching methodology and environmental factors. In Nigeria, teachers should make students understand necessity of good spelling habits. Curriculum designers should designate appropriate time for spelling programme. This research work has therefore looked into the crucial issue of spelling errors. Through the teachers’ answers to the questions and the students’ performance in the test administered, it has been established that the problem of spelling errors actually exist among Nigerian secondary school students. This, no doubt, affects their performance and so, possible remedies have been suggested in this study.




To spell means, to name in order, the letters of a word for instance T-W-O = two spelling is an academic activity. It is a skill which marks the learners with such scholarly qualities as intelligence, cultivated, neat, efficient and conscientious. In any human society, the need for a common language  cannot be over-emphasized. No society can exist comfortably together if the members of such society cannot communicate effectively among themselves. In Nigeria, English language is the lingua – franca (the official language) The language of Government, businesses, education, law, politics religion, mass media and international communication. This is the inevitable situation because Nigerian is a multilingual society with many different ethic groups such as Yoruba  Edo, Igbo, Tiv,  Hausa, and so on. Since it is only in English language that all these groups can communicate, we can realize the indispensable role which English plays in Nigeria.


The purpose of the study is to look into the problem of spelling errors among Nigerian secondary school students and its effects on their general performance in English language. This researcher will also give practical suggestions on what the learners themselves, teachers and curriculum experts could do to raise the standard of English language in Nigeria. This can be achieved by adhering to the suggestions (to be given) on how to inculate correct spelling habits in the students.


This researcher is concerned with spelling errors among Nigeria secondary school students which no doubt affect their general performance in English language. Normally, whenever there is any problems the first thing to do is to try to identify the cause of such a problem and then seek possible remedies to it because “a problem, once identified, is almost solved”.

Many factors are responsible for spelling errors among Nigerian secondary school students which make it difficult for them to resolve independently spelling problems. These factors are as follows:

i.  Complex nature and illogicality of the English language for example – different sounds or tones are given to the same letter or combination as in:- Head/hed/j Bread/bred/.

ii.  Some words of English language are not spelt as pronounced because in English language, there is no sound to letter correspondence. One factor responsible for this is that English words contain prefixes mostly derived from prepositions  in French, latin   and Greek. Thus the poor Nigerian secondary school students who did not study either latin or Greek find themselves in difficult situations.


There are certain problematic questions which revolve around the issue of errors in spelling on which these researcher work is based. These are:

(a)  Is spelling necessary in the teaching and learning of English language?

(b)  What is responsible for poor spelling among Nigerian secondary school student?

(c)  Can poor speller make good grades in their examinations, assignments or tests?

(d)  What method can be adopted in the teaching and learning of spelling in Nigerian secondary school?

(e)  What activities, exercise and teaching aids are useful in achieving success in teaching spelling to student?

(f)  Can spelling errors among students be eradicated?

(g)  What possible remedies can be establish to spelling errors?

Whatever useful answers given for the above questions will no doubt pin – point the root of spelling errors among Nigeria secondary school students.


This research work is based on three selected secondary schools in the Somolu management committee of Lagos State these schools are Angns Memorial Senior High School, Igbobi College, Mainland Senior High School. Altogether one hundred and fifty form five students in these three schools are used at the sample for this research.


Really, it is a personal experience and concern that motivated me to research into the problem of spelling errors among Nigerian secondary school students, I was a secondary school student myself and participated in teaching practice. Judging from the importance of correct spelling and other related issues (like effects of errors in spelling on students’ general performance) there is therefore the justification and necessity to look into the problems which student encounter in spelling English words correctly. The possible remedies which this study will high light will shed light on ways and means of tackling the problem of spelling errors among Nigerian secondary school students. Therefore, the findings of this report will provide useful information to students, teachers, and curriculum planners as well as the whole community since the society is part and parcel of the curriculum process.

To curriculum designers, this report will be a guide on how to plan and effective spelling programme for our secondary school as well as providing a frame work for.

1)  Examining and describing the spelling performance of Nigerian secondary school students.

2)  Discussing the role of readiness and spelling assessing the case of poor students.

3)  Presenting a detailed assessment of the role of spelling rules in an effective spelling programme.

4)  Assessing the importance of good methodology in teaching of spelling in Nigerian secondary school.

The findings of this report will be generally useful to everybody since spelling errors is not a problem of students alone but has a vicious cycle- secondary schools, higher institutions, community and if such a problem is rampant in any educational system the parent get concerned and then lay blames on the teachers and curriculum   planners. The government it self is not spared.


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