The article considers the spelling norms of the language as values, that reflect the combined social and cultural experience. The role of writing in the social and cultural association of society is noted. The significance of the main principles of Russian spelling is emphasized: phonemic (morphological), phonetic, traditional. When assimilating these principles, students who study writing get an idea of the phonemic and grammatical systems of the language, about word-forming and lexical connections. The article states a clear decrease in the literacy rate of young people, which is associated with general unfavorable trends in the development of the language: with the manifestation of antinormalization in speech, with a decrease in the requirements for the normative design of texts, with insidious and non-cultural influence, with the widespread spread of Internet technologies that replace the independent search for a solution to spelling problems. The decrease in literacy of school graduates is also due to the replacement of the system study of spelling by the installation of algorithms for performing tasks of a single final exam. The article analyzes the results of the dictation and survey conducted with students, on the basis of which it is concluded that there are spelling difficulties traditional for native speakers. At the same time, the authority of spelling norms among representatives of the younger generation is quite high.