We choose the spelling words from the revised National Curriculum list. Each year group has their own list of words for every week of the year and their associated rules. Word lists will be given as homework each week and correlate with the list in the Spelling Handbook.
High Frequency Words and Topic Words
In addition to the weekly spelling list, pupils will receive two high frequency words and two topic words to practice for that week. High frequency words are those words that appear most frequently in the English language and it is
important that pupils continue to rehearse and learn these by sight. Topic words are included to emphasise the importance of spelling technical vocabulary accurately.
Pupils will be expected to practice these words at home, as part of their homework routine. Research suggests rote learning strategies are most effective in the memorisation of spelling rules and there are multiple strategies highlighted below. In addition to rote learning strategies, spelling games can be used to rehearse how words are spelled, however these should be used in combination with rote learning strategies.
Effective spelling routines, also look at the meaning, morphology (how a word is made up) and etymology (the origin of words), which we teach every week at school. However, we encourage parents to support pupils in their homework and to have rich discussions around meaning, morphology and etymology that will develop their understanding of how words are spelled.
etymonline.com is an incredibly useful website for exploring the origin of words and parts of words.
Activities to Help Your Child with Spelling
Look, Cover, Say, Write, Check
This variety of the well-known rote learning strategy encourages pupils to pronounce the word, think deeply about the word and how its spelt, practice its formation through tracing in the air and then writing it down provides a high level of focus and intent to spell word accurately.
- Look carefully at the target word, and say it clearly.
- Use your eyes like a camera and take a picture of the word.
- Close your eyes and imagine you can still see the word.
- Say the word again.
- Trace it in the air, with your eyes still closed.
- Open your eyes and write the word.
- Check the spelling. If incorrect, repeat steps and write again.
This activity involves pupils exploring their spelling words in a range of ways in order to improve memory of spelling patterns, increase vocabulary and become more confident in discussing the meaning, structure and origin of words. When grouping words, pupils could choose to consider similar meanings, spelling patterns or origins.
- Sort the words into three or four groups and explain your answer.
- Take a word from each group and write a sentence to show you understand the meaning of the word.
- Can you think of any other words that follow these rules? Add them to your groups. Use a dictionary to help you.
- Some words may come from a word family. By changing the prefixes or suffixes, what other words can be made from the list. E.g. Confidential –
Confident – Confidence.
- Use them in a sentence to show your understanding of the entire word family.
Simultaneous Oral Spelling
Breaking words into their syllables is another way for pupils to chunk words into easier, more memorable parts. This is a strategy we encourage pupils to use in their writing, in order to break down challenging words, but is also a useful rote learning strategy.
- Look carefully at the target word, and say it clearly.
- Say each syllable in the word. (if one syllable world break into initial and final sound e.g. st-op)
- Say the letters in the word twice.
- Write the word down whilst saying the letter.
- Check and correct if necessary.
Although requiring little cognitive effort, if a pupil has every intention of trying to remedy an error and are fully attentive, the repetitive process provides a simple and effective solution to learning a spelling rule. It is particularly useful in overlearning spelling rules that continue to be spelled inaccurately.
- Write each word down 6-8 times before moving on to the next.
- Focus your mind on spelling the word.
- Do not move on until you have spelled it right each time.
Creating memorable acronyms or visual pictures can make challenging words easier to remember.
Pupils could search for mnemonics that have already been made or create their own. It is another strategy that can prove useful, when individual spelling rules are difficult to remember.
An example could be spelling “because” by remembering:
“big elephants can always understand small elephants”
Necessary – One collar, two sleeves.
Mix up the letters of the week’s spellings – can your partner solve the conundrum?
One partner draws one of the week’s spelling words, breaking up the syllables of big words to help them. The partner has to guess the word and write down the correct spelling on a mini whiteboard.
History of Words
Use iPads to research the history of words.
Children use scrabble like tiles to assemble their spelling words.
Children act out words, this will sometimes mean they break words down into their separate syllables, then a partner has to guess the word and write down the answer.
Children read out one of the week’s spellings. They challenge each other to see, how many hidden words they can find within that word in a minute.
Use a Highlighter Pen or a Set of Coloured Pencils
Highlight difficult parts of the word or words within words.
A number of different activities for memorising spellings. You may wish to use these spelling card activities at home to reinforce school work.
Create a Spelling Rich Environment
Display spelling words and posters around the home. You can find a whole host of posters including mnemonics on the Teaching Ideas website.
Use a Tablet or Desktop Computer
Use suitable computer tools to practice spelling. Go to Apps to Aid Spelling for a list of recommended apps.