Good spelling is necessary for effective written communication. Spelling with ease increases the speed, quantity and quality of children’s writing. Children who spell with ease and accuracy are self-monitoring; they take responsibility for spelling words correctly.
Learning to spell accurately involves children in the development of a process of learning to apply different strategies appropriately. These include identifying misspelt words, using dictionary independently and spelling in context, not just in spelling exercises.
Teaching and Learning
In the Foundation Stage and KS1, spelling will be taught through the Letters and Sounds programme, in years 3 and 4 through the Ruth Miskin Spelling Pack (also phonics based but with an increasing emphasis on patterns and spelling rules) and in years 5 and 6 through the Support for Spelling programme (dfes 2009, available for download from http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/687/1/01109-2009PDF-EN_01.pdf). Throughout the school the supplementary materials for the Letters and Sounds programme (games and investigations) will be used for continuing emphasis on the importance of phonics in accurate spelling.
Teachers recognise the importance of consistency and daily practice (similar to having a mental maths starter) in the effective teaching of spelling. They are committed to regular teaching - EYFS, KS1 daily 15-20 minutes and in KS2 weekly teaching with daily practice.
To encourage independence children will be taught to use dictionaries, thesauruses, word banks and online spell checkers. They will have word books in which to build up a bank of words which they want to spell accurately in their own writing. Children will be given time and encouraged to check their own work and identify their own errors- peer assessment may also be used for this, particularly in KS2.
The teaching of spelling and handwriting will be closely linked so that spelling of common letter strings will be automatic. Children will also be taught to look for common letter strings and patterns in words.
Teachers will use games and investigations to make the teaching of spelling enjoyable and encourage children to play with words. To imbue children with a love of words, they will use and display a wide range of rich vocabulary in their classrooms. Children will be given experience of rhymes and rhyming words.
Each child’s developmental stage will be taken into account in the teaching of spelling and all children’s best attempts at spelling will be valued and built upon. A multi-sensory approach will be adopted for children that require extra support in recognising parts of or whole words. Class and specialist teachers will support children with special educational needs by providing them with differentiated work and, where possible, extra resources.
We aim for children to:
look carefully at words.
understand how the English spelling system works and how our history of language development has influenced spelling.
develop their confidence as competent spellers; the ability to spell correctly is often associated with good self-esteem which affects performance in other areas of the curriculum.
develop and extend their vocabulary through shared, guided and independent spelling activities.
enjoy words and spelling and recognise their value.
Correction of spelling in children’s work will be used to raise their awareness of the importance of accurate spelling in effective communication. Teachers will identify incorrectly spelt words for older children, so that they do not learn 'wrong' spellings and can identify their own errors. In EYFS/KS1 teachers will correct children's spelling according to their 'phase' of development. In KS2 they will correct high frequency words, words that are copied or on display and phonetically plausible words, and aim at 100% correct spelling by the end of Y6 (again each individual child’s stage of development must be taken into account – the aim is to encourage rather than to discourage.) Teachers will write the correct spelling alongside the misspelt version for children to transfer to their spelling books.
Assessment and Monitoring
APP grids can be used for the day to day assessment of children’s spelling in their work. More formal assessment will be done through the Youngs Assessment screening from year 2-year 6 annually at the beginning of the school year. Those children seen to be working at lower than expected levels will be given extra support and a further assessment later in the year to review progress. Progress in spelling will also be assessed through end of KS1 and KS2 SATS and through Optional SATS in years 3, 4 and 5. Consistent teaching of spelling will be monitored through work scrutiny by the Literacy coordinator and Leadership team.
Useful hints and tips from staff to help children to enjoy spelling and to take care with their presentation.
1. Look, Cover, Write, Check
The word is written at the top of a piece of paper. Ask your child to:
Look – Look at the word then say it. Spell the word using letter names not the sounds. Close his/her eyes and spell it. Open his/her eyes and check the spelling. If not the same, start again.
Cover – Fold over the top of the piece of paper so the word is hidden.
Write – Write the word from memory. Dot the i’s. Cross the t’s. Close the o’s. Check his/her writing to see that every letter can be read. Encourage your child to join up an use correct letter formation.
Check – Uncover the word. Check the spelling with the word at the top of the page. Continue with the steps again until he/she has written the word three times correctly.
2. Finger Tracing
The word is written in large, joined up writing and your child traces over the word with his/her finger twice while saying the letters in the word. Use the letter names, a(ay), b(bee), c(cee), not the sounds. The child then writes it twice without looking at the word.
Saying the letters aloud (sometimes called Simultanous Oral Spelling, or SOS)
The child copies the word twice while saying the letters in the word, and then writes it from memory, without copying the word. Use the letter names, a(ay), b(bee), c(cee), not the sounds.
Looking for words within words
You will find it easier to remember a word if you can encourage him/her to look for the words they know inside words they don’t know. You can help your child to think up a sentence that draws attention to it. For example:
You hear with your ear
What a hat
Your child can be helped to remember some spellings by learning spelling rules. Your child’s teacher will be able to advise on the rules your child should be helped to learn, for example
“I before e except after c.”
Aids to memory
Some words are so hard to remember, it is useful to think of special ways of remembering them, Using odd pronunciation:
Saying Wed-nes-day for Wednesday Saying me-rin-gue for meringue
Saying bis-cu-it for biscuit
Saying “big elephants can always understand small elephants” to help spell ‘because’.
Using the sounds in words
If you can spell the word easily by saying the letters sounds, then your child can be encouraged to sound out the word when spelling it. Many three-letter words can be sounded out: e.g. cat, run, big. Be careful not to put ‘u’ after every consonant, e.g. cuh-a-tuh. This may confuse your child.