“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 phonic knowledge, ensuring that children can spell even the most complex words by understanding the relationships between spellings and speech sounds. Sound & Syllables uses two core techniques to help children to unlock spelling: Spelling Splitter to break down spellings into manageable chunks; and Spelling Sorter to uncover patterns in sound-based spelling.
Spelling Slpitter shows children how to break down words first into syllables and then into sounds and then draws their attention to tricky elements from simple words to complex multi-syllable words with tricky spelling (picked out here in red):
b e d | r oo m g i | r a ffe gu a | r a n | t ee au | d a | ci ou s
Children learn how to break words down, and how to practice and check spellings, using a sequence of 5 simple steps (click the image below to view the sequence).
Spelling Sorter helps children to unpick long-standing spelling conventions. these direct spellers towards likely spellings, through a structured investigative approach to pattern spotting that helps them to understand how:
- a spelling might be affected by its position within in a word
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).
- a spelling might be affected by its relationship to other spellings or sounds
The spelling of the sound /ur/ is, for example, likely be spelled ‘or’ after ‘w’ as in work, world, worm, word, worse and worth.
Children investigate how sounds have more than one spelling (and that spellings represent more than one sound) and that some choices might be more likely depending on convention using Spelling Sorter activities. For example, children investigate the common spellings of /oy/ to find that it is often spelled ‘oi’ in the middle, and ‘oy’ at the end, of syllables.
Spelling Splitter and Spelling Sorter are also powerful techniques for stronger spellers when investigating morphology (the meaning of word parts) and etymology (the history of words) to uncover how shared spellings often have shared meanings.
For example, the technique can be used to explore common prefixes and suffixes with more adept spellers. Here, the ‘ous’ suffix is investigated to understand that the /ee/ sound before ‘ous’ is usually spelled ‘i’ and that the preceding /sh/ sound is spelled ‘ci’ or ‘ti’. No complex spelling rules (which are usually broken as often as not) need be taught, only the application of sounds and syllables to uncover patterns.
And even-stronger spellers study the syllables ‘vers(e)’ and ‘vert’, from the Latin root ‘vertere’ meaning ‘to turn’, noting the two different spellings but the shared meaning between the words.
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/).