Sometimes literacy learning is counter-intuitive. Research at the University of Coventry shows creating abbreviated spellings for texting strengthens students' phonological awareness. Texting offers daily opportunities to engage spelling by requiring writers to identify and retain the essential letters needed for readers to recognize words such as hmwrk and l8tr. Dr. Clare Wood notes,
"If we are seeing a decline in literacy standards among young children, it is in spite of text messaging, not because of it."
Basically, you need to have a deep understanding of a word's essential elements in order to tweak it. So invention produces better spelling knowledge than drill and memorization. Kindergarten and primary teachers who encourage children to "spell it as it sounds" have known this for decades. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/8468351.stm