“My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.”
A. A. Milne
sounds & syllables
Sound & Syllables teaches children how to spell by building upon what children already know and understand from phonics teaching, the crucial relationship between sounds and spellings. With full national curriculum coverage, spelling lists for every objective across the primary age range, a range of resources to target different aspects of spelling and simple spelling strategies that work, Sounds & Syllables is the only spelling programme you will ever need.
Sounds & Syllables Training
Sounds & Syllables whole-school training takes five hours to deliver and covers:
- an overview of English spelling: how sound, convention, meaning and history all impact upon how we spell words
- an in-depth exploration of how to use the 5 step spelling sequence to best effect
- how to effectively practice spelling, drawing on approaches that explain how English spelling works
- key spelling activities, including a bank of Speed Spelling warm-up techniques
- exploring and understanding patterns in English spelling
The Sounds & Spelling training is the only way to access a whole host of amazing resources (those available freely here are the tip of the iceberg), including:
- Sounds & Syllables spelling curriculum – every spelling pattern broken down and categorised the Sounds & Syllables way
- Sounds & Syllables resources: spelling charts, teaching sequence, bookmarks, spelling cards, spelling ladders and spelling strips
- Sounds & Syllables activities for practicing spelling and pattern finding
- Sounds & Syllables Speed Spelling activity bank
- KS2 statutory spellings PowePoints: every word broken down the Sounds & Syllables way
The Sounds & Syllables Spelling Sequence
At the heart of Sound & Syllables is a simple is a five step sequence that works with children of all ages and all abilities.
Click to download the free Sounds & Syllables sequence.
A simple sequence that children pick up quickly, it works with the English language, teaching children how to break words down with ease. Simply say a word in a clear spelling voice, snip the word into syllables, say and write the sounds in each syllable, target any tricky spellings and lock in spellings through practice and pattern spotting. Before long, children are spelling complex multi-syllable words with confidence.
A year 3 child from Chetwynd Primary Academy using the sequence.
The same five steps are used when teaching spelling, when children practise spelling and, most importantly, when they are writing independently, giving them the confidence and the tools to attempt any spelling. Children use their Sounds & Syllables bookmarks when attempting words during independent writing. And on the book are personalised ‘deadly dozen’ spellings that are frequently misspelled.
Click to download the free Sounds & Syllables bookmarks.
Children who need a little extra support use the Sounds & Syllables cards to help them to build words. The most common 130+ spellings in English are represented with separate colours for vowels and syllables. Children can build words quickly and easily.
Sounds & Syllables spelling Cards are free with training.
Sounds & Syllables Curriculum
Sounds & Syllables spelling covers every objective in the national curriculum. Each objective comes complete with with spelling lists already sorted according to key spelling patterns, and with every word already broken down the Sounds & Syllables way. And every objective also comes with teaching guidance to help you better understand the orthography, phonology, morphology and etymology of each spelling pattern..
All the difficult, time consuming work has been done for you, so that teachers can focus on what matters most – teaching spelling well.
Click to to see larger samples pages of the Sounds & Syllables curriculum.
Year 2: words ending with ‘al’, ‘el’ and ‘il’.
Sounds & Syllables Spelling Strategies
There are no timer fillers in Sounds & Syllables spelling – no word searches, crosswords and the like – only carefully crafted, evidence-based approaches that help children to understand how English spelling works. Each lesson begins with quick-fire Speed Spelling designed to either practice previous spellings, or to target an underlying spelling skill
Click on the images below to see full sized images.
Here, children practice their understanding of the relationship between letters and sounds by counting the number of sounds within words and underlining the spellings that match them.
Here, children practice breaking words into syllables.
And here, children practice previous spellings ending in ‘ous’.
Apart from modelling and practicing using the sequence during spelling lessons, children ‘lock in’ their new spellings by pattern finding, a structured investigative approach to help children to identify and explain patterns in English spelling to better understand how:
- a spelling might be affected by its position within in a word: the spelling of the sound /oi/ is, for example, often spelled ‘oi’ in the middle of words and ‘oy’ at the end;
- a spelling might be affected by its relationship to other spellings or sounds: the spelling of the sound /v/ is, for example, likely to be ‘v’ at the start of w word (van, village, video) or in the middle of a word (invite, over, average) and ‘ve’ at the end of a word (have, love, explosive).
- some spellings indicate meaning: for example, words containing the sound /r/ spelling ‘wr’ often have a meaning of ‘twisting or turning’: for example, wriggle, wrist and wreck;
- affixes follow simple patterns in spelling: for example, that the /e/ sound preceding ‘ous’ is usually spelled ‘I’, and the /sh/ sound is likely to be spelled ‘ci’ or ‘ti’;
- how etymology affects English spelling: words meaning ‘turn’ are, for example, derived from the Latin ‘versus’ and ‘vertere’ and are often spelled with ‘vers’ or ‘vert’.
From the simplest of words to the most complex, Sounds & Syllables spelling provides your children with the tools to become confident, independent spellers.
To find out more about Sounds & Syllables spelling and find free resources, do take a look at these blog posts:
testing spelling: for long term learning
Do you have children who score full marks on their weekly spelling test but then fail to spell those same words correctly a week later? If so, there are ways that you can both deliver, and have children practice for, weekly spelling tests that are more likely to result in long-term retention that will enable children to apply those spellings to their writing.
Testing Spelling will help you to improve both how children practice for their spelling tests, and to test spelling more affectively based upon evidence-informed approaches from research in the cognitive sciences.
Most children practice learning spelling using some variation of the Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check method, which is a less effective method. You will learn how to use our Word Cruncher technique (see the Sound Spellers module) to improve the efficacy of spelling practice.
You will also learn to design and deliver spelling tests that lead to long-term retention. We will examine how learning and forgetting works, and how to use spacing and repetition to maximum effect.
And you will learn how to boost the confidence of weaker spellers and focus their attention on within-word spellings with which they may have struggled. Failing to score well on spelling tests may lead to a lack of motivation which may lead to a lack of practice which again leads to a poor score on the spelling test and the cycle begins again. In traditional spelling tests a child may have made only one error within a word (e.g. ‘beleive’ instead of ‘believe’) and scores a zero. But this child has spelled much of the this word correctly with only a single error. Our uniquely designed spelling tests give credit for what is spelled correctly within a word as well as drawing both the teacher and the child to what needs more practice (in this case, the tricky ‘ie’ spelling of /ee/).