Thinking about spelling today and ploughing through a lot of older and recent research. Nothing new seems to ever come up in this area. I honestly think there are a few facts and once we know these it is up to us as teachers to just make sure we pass them on and help kids master these spelling codes!

  1. All kids need to learn about words, letters and concepts of print. They all need the main sounds and these must be taught thoroughly and systematically- and in my mind there is no doubt that JOLLY PHONICS achieves this really well! If they know these sounds they can progress onto 2/3/4 letter blends and start to use the digraphs and alternative vowels.
  2. Learning about word families such as “og” and “ack” will help hasten progress.
  3. All kids need to learn the alphabet names and order.
  4. All kids need to learn the spellings of tricky words such as BECAUSE – by saying the letter names because the sounds don’t provide much help with these tricky ones!
  5. Children need access to theme words and to words that have intrinsic interest to them-so they need a notebook or dictionary for these.
  6. And, above all,  we need to USE these words. Children who have regular dictation exercises using taught words seem to learn at a faster rate and certainly retain the word patterns.
  7. There are myriad games and activities to use to help with spelling development and I will include a couple every day on our STAR: STUDENTS AT RISK face-book group for the next week.
  8. The thing is,  we judge people by their spelling- so wrongly! But it happens so we need to get this right and actually teach kids to spell rather than just giving them long lists of words to figure out for themselves.
  9. It is high time teachers had the TIME to teach these skills. Some of the educational time thieves need to be banned so we can get on with making the main thing the main thing!

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