A new children’s TV show aired for the first time last Monday: Wallykazam! I usually spend early evenings trying to lure my daughter away from the telly, but I may well make an exception for this. Here’s why.
According to the Nick Jr. press release:
“Wallykazam! follows the adventures of a troll named Wally and his pet dragon Norville, who live in a magical forest full of giants, goblins, ogres and sprites. In each episode Wally uses a magic stick to make words come to life.
“Wallykazam! is the first Nick Jr. series that embeds a literacy curriculum into a full-length story, introducing skills such as letter and sound identification, rhyming and vocabulary development.”
Hurrah for educational TV programmes for kids. But what’s really interesting is the research Nick Jr. commissioned to mark the launch of the show.
They found that, of the 2,000 adults they surveyed, more than half frequently struggle to spell commonly used words. Among the words Brits find tricky are ‘definite’, ‘embarrassment’, ‘accommodate’ and ‘xylophone’. (I’m not sure ‘xylophone’ really qualifies as ‘commonly used’, but there you go.) Take the test here if you have a spare 10 minutes.
Even more interestingly, 40% of respondents said that they rely on autocorrect technology, 25% have been embarrassed by spelling mistakes at work and 48% admit to judging other people if their spelling is bad.
I’m glad that programmes such as Wallykazam! are helping children to learn to spell. Fingers crossed they’ll grow up to be confident spellers. But what can we do about poor Generation Y, who are clearly struggling?
My tips include the following:
- Know your pitfalls, and know what to do about them. There’s no shame in using autocorrect technology – or even a good old-fashioned dictionary. Just beware that spell checkers have their limits: read our top tips for more on this.
- Don’t be afraid to ask someone if you’re not sure how to spell a certain word. The embarrassment of asking for help is nothing compared with the embarrassment of sending that all-important pitch document to a client which ends up being full of spelling mistakes – and then having to come clean with your team about why you weren’t successful. If you don’t want to ask a colleague, make use of our ask a question tool.
- Engage a professional proofreader. Don’t be afraid to ask us for a quote. The costs of having something proofread are very small compared with the costs of reprinting a document or – even worse – a reputational hit.
In the meantime, I’m off to figure out how to persuade my daughter to trade Peppa Pig for Wallykazam!…