We don’t all learn how to spell the same way

What is the best way to accommodate all the different ways in which children learn how to spell?

The whole point of learning spellings is that when a child comes across a word that she or he does not know, then the child will have a range of tools for working out what the word is, and how the word is pronounced.

Plus of course the other way around: children need to learn how to write down a word that is heard, where the spelling is unlikely to be phonetic.

Thus, at the heart of a book on spellings and pronunciation, there need to be strategies which are then considered through keywords, patterns and rules.

But, even after all that work, there is still more to be done on such topics as letter patterns, spelling rules, suffix endings, homophones, silent letters and short forms.  Where all these can develop from the established knowledge of keywords, patterns and rules, progress will inevitably be a lot faster.

This does not mean that one must engage in a vast array of rule-learning, for strategies should also always come into play.  There is after all nothing wrong with remembering how to spell “could” by using the memory jogger “could old unicorns like doughnuts?”

Or indeed have the word “like” learned through the phrase “large insects keep eating”.

Another strategy is to split words into syllables, (dis / gus / ting always seems a popular multi-syllabic word for some reason – perhaps because when said as syllables the sound of the word itself can come across as unpleasant) or look for compound words (such as rain / bow).

Our publication, Boost Spelling Skills 1, is a book of strategies to improve spelling skills making children more confident readers and writers.

You will find on our website a complete breakdown of the contents of the book which covers over 150 different letter patterns from “th” words through to prefixes, homophones and silent letters.

You can read more about Boost Spelling Skills 1 and the thinking behind it as well as trying some of the activities and worksheets on our website.

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