At Jesse Gray, we teach spelling in a creative and strategic way to enthuse our children and help them to thrive when it comes to this cornerstone of writing. Our children receive well planned and resourced lessons that creatively engage them to think about why words are spelt in certain ways, focusing on etymology as well as rules and exceptions.
In Key Stage 1 our children receive daily phonics lessons that excite and engage the children. We stream the children in Year 1 to ensure that each child is challenged at their bespoke level.
This progresses to weekly spelling lessons in Year 2-6 encouraging children to investigate spelling patterns so that they understand the rules, and exceptions, at a greater level. We play games, host competitions and, in upper Key Stage 2, even challenge the children to come up with their own rules based on the words they are given. This ensures that our children have a deep level of understanding and can select the correct spelling in their own independent work. Our spelling curriculum has been designed so that the rules are revised at timely intervals, a design that we refer to as spaced retrieval.
Weekly spellings are sent home that link to our rules and to the statutory word lists as set out by the DFE, these are then tested weekly as research supports that this is still an effective way to help children to remember spellings.
Within writing lessons, we reinforce our high expectations of spelling through focusing on editing for which the children all have their own special purple polishing pen. Editing and proof reading skills are taught explicitly from Year 1 to 6. We recognise that some children find spelling difficult, we therefore equip them with the skills to identify misspelt words and strategies to correct with speed, including effective dictionary use.
We actively ensure that all our staff are up to date with the best research into spelling and spelling pedagogy. We share best practice and train staff when necessary through CPD delivered by the subject leader. Spelling teaching is moderated across school through planning scrutiny, learning walks and moderating writing; these monitoring procedures ensure that our spelling curriculum is robust and effective.
Spelling is an important aspect of our curriculum as we believe it is a fundamental life skill. Our aim is to support all children to become the best spellers and spell checkers that they can for the rest of their lives.
You can help them by doing the following:
- Spell out words with fridge magnets or letter tiles from word games. Take some letters out and get your child to put the right ones back in the right places.
- Play games with lists of words. Can they put them in alphabetical order using the first letter of a word (e.g. cat, fat, hat, mat and sat)? Or can they do this by the second letter (e.g. bag, beg, big, bog and bug)?
- Give them old newspapers or magazines to play word-finding games for example, get them to highlight or draw a circle round every word that ends with ing, or every word beginning with t. Think up harder versions as your child learns more.
- Draw or cut out pictures of things that have only one letter different (like pen and pin) to help them get used to how different vowels (a,e,i,o,u) work.
- Use a mirror so your child can see how their mouth moves when saying letters that can easily get mixed up when they write them down, like m and w, or p and g.
- Make up games to help your child see the difference between words like tap and tape or hop and hope where the last letter changes the way you say the whole word.
- Get them to play at rearranging letters to make other words (anagrams) out of their name, or other words they know.