Sounds & Syllables Spelling Resources

“Spelling mistakes in a letter is like a bug on a white shirt.” 
Faina Ranevskaya


A quick post this week, just to collect my Sounds & Syllables resources into one space for easy download. Some of the resources in this blog post have been shared before, but I’ve tweaked them, correcting any mistakes. Others are new. Click on images to open up PDF versions for the smaller files and links to DropBox downloads for larger ones.

If you find the resources helpful and want to find out more about the Sounds & Syllables approach to spelling, check out my spelling training page and get in touch via the contact form.


Sounds & Syllables Teaching Sequence

I’ve posted this previously, but I’ve tided it up a little (you probably wouldn’t notice the difference).  It’s a simple guide for teachers on how to teach any spelling in English. The Sounds & Syllables sequence works for any spelling for any student of any age and ability. And it works when teaching spelling, when children are practicing spellings or when children are attempting to spell individually.

  1. Say the word clearly in a spelling voice, over pronouncing elisions and shwas and saying consonants clearly and crisply.
  2. Snip the word into its syllables and draw vertical syllable separators. You’ll need one fewer separators than you have syllables
  3. Say each sound in the first syllable as you draw sound buttons, and then say each sound again as you write the spellings above the buttons. Move onto the next syllable until all syllables have been spelled.
  4. target the tricky spellings, which will likely be elisions, schwas, rare graphemes, doubled consonants. But whichever part a student misspells is the tricky part.
  5. Lock in tricky spellings by collecting, comparing and contrasting words with similar spelling features.

Please do read more about the sequence in this blog post.


Sounds & Syllables Bookmarks

The Sounds & Syllables bookmarks are designed to help students with spelling at the point that it matters most of all – when writing independently.   On the front of the bookmark are the first four steps in the Sounds & Syllables spelling sequence. Once more, read the blog post about the sequence. The fifth step isn’t included as it’s a teaching step and not needed when spelling independently.

The fourth step – targeting tricky spellings – will need some external support. How can children target tricky spelling when working independently? How would they even know which bits they got wrong? Like anyone else – look the word up in a dictionary or have someone tell you. Neither of those things might be possible. If not, I usually have children use steps 1 through 3 of the sequence, trying out the spelling in a designated place (a spelling journal or the bottom of the page). They then use their attempt in their writing, and the child can check at a a more convenient time during the editing process, and the teacher can see the attempt made too.

On the reverse of the bookmark, is the Deadly Dozen’. These are personalised spellings with which the student frequently makes errors. Keep the bookmark tucked into their writing book and those spellings that trip them up most will always be at hand.

I shall write a blog post in the near future about spelling when writing independently and using the bookmarks to their best effect.


Sounds & Syllables Spelling Chart

Alphabetic code charts show English spelling clearly and simply. They show students how sounds are represented by spellings in English. They don’t aim to be comprehensive – not every spelling of a sound is represented – but most charts capture the most common 180 to 200 spellings, which account for the vast majority of spellings in English. Every child in key stage 1 and 2 ought to have one. And every parent / carer too. They are a useful reference when deciding upon a spelling and they help to make English spelling a little more transparent.

There are plenty of great alphabetic code charts available to download freely. I’ve often recommended Debbie Hepplewhite’s which you can find here. I don’t claim that mine  add anything new. They just have the same design clean, fuss-free design style as the rest of the resources. And I like things that match.

The chart contains consonant spellings on one side of A4 and vowel spellings on the other. Each sound is accompanied by a simple image used to represent the sound. If you are not sure what an image is supposed to represent, look at the first word in the list beneath it.

The order of the spellings for each sound are in a rough order of frequency with which they appear in written English. This isn’t precise, but as a rule common spellings of a sound are nearer the top of the list.


Key Stage 2 Statutory Spellings

I’ve previously posted both my 1400+ slide presentation of Year 3 /4 spellings broken down the Sounds & Syllables way, and the 1600+ slide year 5/6 vision previously. I’ve since noticed some minor errors, so am attaching  updated versions here. Before downloading these presentation please do read this blog post explains walks you through the finer details of using the presentations.

The presentations are too large to host on this site. To download them please click on the icons below which should take you my DropBox where you can download them.

Year 3 /4 statutory spelling PPT

Year 5 /6 statutory spellings PPT


If you don’t have the correct fonts installed on your computer, the layout of the PowerPoints can be a little erratic, so I’ve also created PDF versions. You lose the ability to edit them, but they will be played out correctly. Again, the files are too large to be hosted on this site, so click the icons below to download them from my Dropbox.

Year 3/4 statutory spellings PDF

Year 5/6 statutory spellings PDF



You may use these resources freely in your school. I ask only two things in return.

  1. Please keep all logos and copyright notices intact. A lot of work goes into creating these.
  2. if you find them useful, please point others to this sit so that they can download them too.



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