At Woodmansterne Primary School, we encourage our pupils to think and write creatively, be adventurous with their use of language and to write with clear purpose and for pleasure.
To achieve this, it is essential that our pupils learn to spell accurately. When spelling becomes automatic, more thought and creativity can be put into the exact content of what is written. Pupils can channel their time and energy into the skills of composition, sentence structure and precise word choice. We want our pupils to be equipped with a range of strategies for learning spelling and to be able to apply their strategies when spelling words in their independent writing. Our pupils are able to enjoy exploring and investigating the patterns and contradictions of the English language and we encourage them to take delight in what they discover.
Letter sounds are taught through phonics, phase 1-4. Pupils will also begin to learn tricky words. Emphasise is on using phonics to sound out their words.
Children in Reception are taught letter sounds (grapheme-phoneme correspondences) and how to use them to read and spell. Children are taught to blend sounds to read and to segment to spell. At the same time, they are introduced to words which are not phonically regular (‘tricky words’) and learn that they must be able to recognise these on sight and learn which part of the word is the tricky part. Children are encouraged to see themselves as writers from an early stage and to ‘have a go’ at writing, using the sounds they can hear in a word. Pupils are encouraged to develop a love of reading and through this they will begin to recognise high frequency words.
In its initial stages, successful spelling depends on good phonological awareness: children must have finely tuned listening skills. Practice is provided in a range of contexts: music, dance, PE and story, for example. Children are exposed to rhyme, rhythm and alliteration, attuning their ears to listen carefully to the parts of a word. This stage of phonics begins in Nursery and continues in Reception. Many Nursery children are interested in learning to write their own name and have opportunities daily to see it in print and can use their name card as a prompt for writing it.
Key Stage One/Key Stage Two
Spellings are taught based on the Shakespeare spelling scheme; words are grouped by spelling pattern and rule. Spellings are taught through three 20minute sessions per week:
- Session One: The spelling rule is introduced through identifying the pattern and exceptions.
- Session Two: pupils investigate the spelling further through games, investigations and text marking.
- Session Three: pupils complete dictation sentences to show they are able to apply the spelling rules to as yet untaught words which follow the same rule. This session is used by the teachers to assess pupils understanding of the rules. Year One pupils are expected to write simple sentences, which will develop to longer passages in Upper Key Stage Two.
Spelling Lists are also sent home as part of Home Learning to allow the pupils to consolidate their understanding and practise key words using the read/write/cover/check method and further investigation. We encourage our pupils to spend some time every day learning these spellings.