Supporting Spelling - Parents' Pack
Click the button above to download the Supporting Spelling Pack for parents.
The Teaching of Spelling
We are continually reviewing the ways in which we teach spelling. Making use of the latest research and detailed analysis of the outcomes for our children, we have decided to make a few changes in our teaching of spelling.
What is working well?
Read, Write Inc.
Every child is participating in a high quality, synthetic phonics lesson using the RWI programme. This programme of study is divided into levels, with each level building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. Children have time to practise and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky’ red words, which are words with unusual spelling patterns or that contain graphemes (written sounds) that have not yet been taught. We know this is working well because the results of our statutory Phonic Screening Checks continue to rise.
Support from home
The support you can give your child at home, whether this be in reading their books at home, completing homework activities or simply in spending time talking together, makes a positive difference to how well your child progresses in school. This time can never be underestimated. We do recognise that your time as a family is precious and want to ensure that what we ask you to do is as effective as possible.
What could we do even better?
Research shows that the traditional spelling test is one of short term memory and does not support children in understanding the principles of spelling. Recent scans of the brain have shown that when children learn spellings for a test they are using a different part of their brain entirely from when they tackle spellings in the context of their writing. Analysing the spelling of our own children has confirmed this. Children who perform well in spelling tests show little or no improvement in their spelling within other writing. Children who find learning spelling lists difficult, not only do not use the spellings correctly in writing but also find the task of learning spelling lists stressful and often feel unnecessary pressure on the day of the test. The pressure on parents to ‘practice’ their children on spelling lists as well as the expectation that every child should read 5 times every week at home and complete other homework activities gave another reason for us to review our practice.
How will we ensure our children become successful at spelling without a test?
The daily work we undertake in phonics will have a greater focus on spelling. To increase the impact of this work, each year group will be learning to spell and to spot a new word each day. This will also be the spelling focus in all of the written work that the children undertake for that week. This will mean that the children will not only be taught how to spell the words, but will be given every opportunity to use and apply these spellings in context. The relationship between spelling and handwriting will also become a focus through phonics lessons and applied in all writing. The physical flow of writing will then be supporting patterns for spelling.
How can you help at home?
To support you in understanding how children develop as successful spellers and how you can best support at home, we have created a Parents’ Pack for Supporting Spelling. The pack gives you a more detailed overview of why, how and what we teach in spelling at Westbury Infant School. Spelling lists that are expected to be known by the end of each Key Stage are included and a bank of ideas for fun activities for how you can practise spelling at home is included. The pack will be available on our school website for you to access throughout the year and make duplicate copies of any word lists/activities you may want. Please let your child’s class teacher know if you cannot access online materials so a paper copy can be made available to you. The focus words for each class will be added to the class blog page at the beginning of each half term for your information. These words will not be ‘tested’ but there will be an expectation that over the course of the half term, all children will make progress in spelling these words correctly within their writing.