In tests like the ones in the Basic Speller the analysis in the right-hand column is usually of more interest and importance than are the ten spellings in the left-hand column. Students should be encouraged to spell the words as best they can when they are called. After all ten words have been called, the students should be given time to do the analysis asked for in the right-hand column. They should be told that if in the course of doing that analysis they should change their mind about how to spell the word, they should cross it out and respell it in the left-hand column. They may occasionally need to have one or more words re-called for them if they do change their minds during the analysis. When words are called, they should be pronounced, then used in a sentence, then pronounced again. It is best to avoid any artificial, “spelling list” pronunciation: Call the word clearly, but as it would be pronounced in normal conversation. This causes many of the unstressed vowels to reduce to a sound like “uh” (the schwa sound). Students may try to get you to repronounce the word less naturally with the vowel more clearly distinguished. Resist their entreaties. It is important that they learn to spell the words as they normally hear them. When coming up with sentences for the words, it is sometimes fun to try to come up with ten sentences that tie together to tell a kind of story.
The spelling of women is odd in that the <o> spells a short sound. The history and rationale of the woman,women pair is discussed in AES, section 14.4.2, on page 228.
The spelling of its can be confused with that of it's. These two words are discussed in Lesson 20 of Book 6 of the BasicSpeller. But the main point is simple: Its belongs to the group of possessives that includes his: “The dog at its dinner” vs. “The boy ate his dinner.” There is no apostrophe in his, and there is no apostrophe in this its. On the other hand, it's belongs to the group of contractions that includes she's: “It's a clown” vs. “She's a clown.” In it's and she's the apostrophes show that there is something left out of each one, namely the in is. There is an apostrophe in she's, and there is one in this it's.