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The teaching of spelling skills is a major part of Literacy teaching, beginning in the Early Years/Foundation Stage. Children follow the teaching of phonics (Letters and Sounds) scheme until they are secure in reading and spelling, with all phonics and most common words. They will progress through to Year 6 where children learn about word origins, the use of prefixes/suffixes and advanced spelling patterns.


Children are first taught to use letter sounds for both reading and early writing skills. From an early age children are encouraged to ‘have a go’ at sounding out words when writing using their phonetic knowledge. For example spelling out c-a-t, b-a-g, m-u-m etc.


This is developed further by the teaching of pairs of letters that make a single sound eg ch, sh, th, ng, ck, qu then long vowel sounds are introduced eg ai, ee, igh, oa, oo.


Finally children are introduced to further pairs of letters that make a single sound:
e.g. (ar) farm, (or) fork, (ur) hurt, (ow) cow, (oi) coin.which enables children to attempt more complex words such as r-ai-n, c-oa-t, sw-ee-t, ch-ai-n and so on.


Spelling Rules
As children’s spelling and writing ability progresses they will be taught common spelling patterns and rules. Eg word endings: -ed, -ing, -ful, plural rules: -s, -es, -ies, prefixes: un- dis- pre- etc. These spelling patterns are reinforced through the weekly spelling homework set in Years 2-6. It is important that children learn not only the words set, but the rule or pattern so that they can apply it to other words in their writing.


High Frequency/Key words
There are many words in the English language which cannot be ‘sounded out’ using letter sounds and these words need to be learned by sight for both reading and spelling, for example: said, here, their, was, because, people. For these words we use the ‘look, say, cover, write, check’ method designed to teach the spellings by repetition. The correct spelling of these words is just as important in Year 6 as in the Early Years, so constant reinforcement takes place in school.


Assessment of spelling
Children’s ability in spelling is monitored through their independent writing. It is common for children to learn spellings well for a test but not be able to recall them when writing unaided. For this reason, spelling rules, sounds, key words etc are repeated regularly throughout their time in school.  


Parental support with the development of spelling is invaluable.
Below are some suggestions for supporting your child’s spelling skills at home:


Encourage your child to learn the high frequency/key words by sight: this is vital for both reading and spelling. You can make this fun by choosing a few words at a time:
• make flashcards to play ‘snap’ with
• build a ‘spelling wall’ with words they have learned on small pieces of paper
• help them find easy ways of remembering tricky spellings, for example by thinking of mnemonics:
                                               ‘Save Animals In Danger’ (said) or
                                                Big Elephants Can’t Always Use Small Exits’ (because) 
• spelling related computer games
• activity books (a wide range available in WHSmith for example)


Support your child with their spelling homework:
It is more effective to spend 5-10mins per night practising spellings than try to do them all in one go the night before a test. Spend time talking about the spelling pattern or rule.


Encourage your child to do independent writing at home:
for example writing letters or keeping a diary. Allow your child to “have a go” at writing sentences using the phonics and high frequency words they are secure with. Ensure you praise what they have achieved and select only 1 or 2 things to improve or practise.As your child develops encourage them to use a dictionary and thesaurus for spelling support and vocabulary extension.


Help your child to pronounce words properly:
This is vitally important to help children attempt to write unfamiliar words. For example many children confuse the sounds f, th, and v when speaking which makes it very difficult for them to spell words containing these sounds correctly: ‘wiv’ for with, ‘nether’ for never, ‘fink’ for think and so on.


It is also important to help children use grammatically correct words and sentences to help develop writing and spelling skills. For example saying ‘I drew a picture’ instead of ‘I drawed a picture’.

Download this file (English Policy 2017.pdf)English Policy[ ]389 kB

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