Mnemonic Clue #48

The Problem: 

     This week’s mnemonic clue is an aid for the spelling of two words that are similar rhyme and rhythm.  This clue can assist not just individuals who have learning differences but many people who are not good spellers.  These words are confusing because, for the person who has weak language skills, they are similar in both sound and meaning.   Both words begin with a similar sound, and both words can be associated with music.  The fact that both words have a y as a vowel make the words unusual for individuals who do not have a good understanding of the structure of language.  

 The Mnemonic Clue

     The technique for remembering the spelling of these two words is a sequence.  A sequence is a set of items that are learned together so that if you forget one the other will help you remember.  Note that both words begin with the same three letters – rhy.  This is similar to the spelling of another set of confusables, there, their and they’re.  They all begin with the same three letters the.  To spell the word rhyme, the person begins with rhy and them uses a rhymerhyme time  -- noting that the both words end with the letters: me.  The word rhythm can be remembered by starting with rhy and associating it with music, counting the beats:  1, 2 3; 1, 2, 3.  The second beat in each set of three is an h. 


r   h  y  t  h  m

1  2  3  1  2   3. 


Richard Cooper, Ph.D.