Spelling enables children to become effective writers. The less time and effort that has to be given to spelling, the more thought can be put into the content of the writing. Children often labour under and are side-tracked with the process of spelling. At Leven Valley Primary School we aim to teach children to be confident and accurate and ‘automatic’ spellers from an early age.
Learning to spell is far more than learning lists of words. It is a developing process of learning to apply different strategies and patterns appropriately. The purpose of weekly spelling lists is to involve parents in their children’s learning and to inform them about what is expected of their child in terms of spelling as well as to support the current learning that is taking place at school. Feedback is given to parents as to how their child has got on in spelling tests to encourage this involvement.
The Phases of Spelling Development are:
1) Emergent Spelling/Writing
2) Semi-phonetic Spelling
3) Phonetic Spelling
4) Transitional Spelling - from phonemes to grapheme patterns
5) Independent Spelling
Spelling is taught as the ‘transcriptional’ element of the writing curriculum based on the –programme of study provided in the New Primary Curriculum 2014.
Progression in Spelling
From the outset children are taught to use the process:- ‘Look/Cover/Write/Check’ to learn the visual spelling patterns taught.
‘Spelling Logs’ are used in Years 1-6. Children log words that they are having difficulty with, identified in their own work and learn these independently.
Reception– children participate in discrete phonics sessions; phases 1, 2 and 3. (Letters and Sounds) linked to the Spelling programme of the National Primary Curriculum 2013.)
Year 1 – children participate in discrete phonics sessions; consolidation of phase3, phase 4 and 5. They are also given words to practice each week. The words are based on the spelling pattern for the week and the children are tested on these.
Year 2 – children participate in discrete phonics sessions; phase 6. They are also given words to practice each week. The words are based on the spelling pattern for the week and the children are tested on these.
At Key Stage One they are taught to spell common High Frequency words and specific words related to topics.
Year 3 to Year 6 - weekly spelling lists are sent home. The quantity and nature of the words in the lists is dependent upon the age and ability of the. Spellings are taken from the New Primary Curriculum document spelling patterns and the age-appropriate word lists.
Lesson time is dedicated to spelling where necessary (e.g. Year 3 require more time in school to elicit the patterns in their words) and recapping takes place where children are working below age related expectations (e.g. Year 6 children still struggling with 100 HFW). Although the majority of children will be taught spellings from age-related programmes of study teachers should respond to the spelling ability of the children in their class to ensure progression takes place.
Children in years 1-6 are tested weekly and appropriate teaching and learning strategies put in place.
Teaching Spelling across the Curriculum
Within dedicated English lessons time can be given to learning spellings, eg:-
1) Shared Reading - e.g. selecting examples to make teaching points
2) Shared Writing - Teaching and modelling use of all strategies and resources
3) Guided Group Work - Teaching focused at specific level
4) Independent Work - e.g. Activity resource Sheets, Investigations, Word webs, prefixes/ suffixes, Mnemonics
5) Plenary - e.g. Results of investigations discussed and strategies found to be successful.
The same expectations for correct spelling are made within writing in all Curriculum areas and the Spelling Logs’ are used to support this.