Spelling through reading

Dr. Krashen has said often that we learn to spell through reading. Today I had to wait for my wife to go through a medical procedure and had been thinking about spelling issues I was coming up with in Urdu, so I took a volume that laid out the spelling rules in great detail.
As I read it, I realized that I was understanding it very easily b/c I had been reading Urdu now for some time, so the rules applied to matters I dealt with daily. One in item in particular struck me, the hamza. This is a letter that serves as a boundary marker between vowels and the rules of its application are quite complex. But as I reread the rules, I saw in my mind’s eye the language as it is written and knew just what was being addressed in each section.
Earlier, about a decade or more ago, when I had read the information on the writing system, I had approached it from the legacy manner: learn by memory the rules and do so so thoroughly that years later you will remember and be able to apply the rules. The reality was that for the most part I just read the words. It is only recently that I have been writing a lot of Urdu (I’m reducing essays and articles to precis or summaries) and so spelling questions do often come up.
But rereading this section on spelling confirmed for me the correctness of Krashen’s dictum that reading leads to spelling (as well as grammar, syntax, and lexicon acquisition). Then it’s just a matter of clearing up details like the difference between ‘its’ and ‘it’s’.

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