Thank you for taking the time to read the following information about how to access all of the spellings to support and enhance your child’s spelling. For further information about the spelling books (which are only one part of our approach to spelling), please click here.
The trouble with spellings!
Spellings can often look as if they have been learnt as they are recalled correctly; however, we have found over the years and through the research that we have looked into, that repetition is the key to spellings to be committed to the long-term memory. This is short-term and long-term repetition.
Important approaches when practising spellings and a word of warning
¨ It is important that children practise the spellings in context to consolidate their understanding. A child often needs to return again and again to a spelling within sentences, before it is committed to the long term memory.
¨ Where possible, involve discussion of the spellings, talking just as much about why certain mistakes are made in order to understand these and avoid them in the future.
¨ Use the ‘One step forward and two steps back’ approach to learning. If children move too quickly through the spelling books, we often find in school that a number drop off again. When working on the current set, dip back into previously learnt spellings to revise and recheck.
¨ Ensure that spellings are applied correctly within sentences - fun sentences are always a great motivator! Try using as many of the spellings as you can in each sentence to save time. Ask your child to write the sentence fairly quickly; this way, you can see if the words are still correct when the focus is on pace rather than spelling. There is a big difference in school between words in tests and words in writing. Part of the learning spellings process, therefore, does need to focus on correctly applying when the meaning of the whole sentence is the focus, rather than individual spellings.
¨ Keep it varied. Find different ways to remember spellings. For example, you could say them as they sound (veg-E-table) or use mnemonics (Big Elephants Can Always Upset Small Elephants).
¨ Whenever you have a go at creating a spelling without handwriting, make sure that your child always has the opportunity to consolidate by writing it down on paper too.
It is extremely important that your child does not learn spellings beyond their maturity nor their reading or writing ability. We have found that when children learn these words too early, they do not use them and they are forgotten quickly. There is so much value in learning other words instead; you can select ones from your child’s maths, their reading books or their conversations. Write postcards to a friend, neighbour or relative and use this to spot spellings which need practising. Do ask your child’s class teacher if you require any help in finding additional spellings.
Where can I find a variety of ways to rehearse spellings?
Further fun and active tasks can be found on our website by clicking the star below. Where activities are not written ones, these need to be followed by opportunities to write the words and use these within sentences.
Where can I access the lists?
Lists can be accessed through the additional handwriting opportunities by clicking the star below. The rationale for the handwriting practise is the fact that our choice of a continuous cursive script across the school, aids spelling retention and supports a child as they learn the ‘feel’ and ‘flow’ of the word.
Thank you so much for taking the time to find out about our approaches to learning the spellings in the home spelling booklets; the way in which you continue to support your child’s learning is greatly appreciated.