Teaching: Spelling

Spelling is an area of learning about which many, many parents are concerned. We are often asked for worksheets on spellings and what can be done to help children understand spelling better. The government has published included spelling guidance in the National Curriculum document.

This will support all the work done in schoo and lhelps parents by explaining:
  • The objectives for spelling
  • Splits the objectives, with spelling examples, into year groups and terms from Year 2 to Year 6
  • A sequence for spelling from Transition to Year 6 with teaching methods explained
At home it is useful for children to develop a conscious interest in spelling by:
1.            Feeling safe about using and writing new words.
2.            Discover how words can be broken down into syllables e.g.
               together = to-get-her; discovery = dis-cov-er-y.
3.            Look at spelling patterns of words.
4.            Think about the start and ending of words especially:
               prefixes e.g. appear - disappear 
               suffixes e.g. short-shorten.
5.            Understand the meaning of words e.g. comfortable, pamphlets.
6.            Try to remember useful spelling strategies.
7.            Enjoy writing for themselves.
8.            Enjoy reading for pleasure - comics are useful to encourage reading!
9.            Using a dictionariy and a thesaurus.
Parents should help their children by:

1. Encouraging them to look carefully at words

2. Using new and different vocabulary in front of children e.g.

  1. at the dinner table discuss menus, places where food comes from, food eaten in different countries e.g. pasta and Italy, food names e.g. spicy, curry, fish fingers, desserts, cheeses, cauliflower, lentils, quiche, spaghetti, champagne etc.
Try to repeat this process in different venues e.g.
  1. Travelling,
  2. Shopping,
  3. Reading notices in the park,
  4. At the swimming pool.

3. Enjoy playing word games with your children

  1. Scrabble
  2. Boggle
  3. Hangman
  4. Word lotto

4. Rearrange letters from his/her name or other known words to make new words.

5. Find words within words, e.g. s/it, b/all, s/end, be/hind, win/dow, sh/out.

6. Do crosswords.

7. Use word books and picture dictionaries

8. learn to spell:

  1. colours
  2. days of week
  3. months of the year                       

9. Help children use memorising techniques e.g.


10. Encourage good reading habits and spare time reading.

  1. If this is reading a comic, a newspaper, make sure that words are sometimes read out loud.
  2. Visits to the library should be organised
  3. Reading aloud from the computer

11. Correct mistakes without criticising. Explain how the word might have been tackled.

12. Use spelling sheets to reinforce spellings

Spellings on colours
Spelling list 1
Spelling list 2
Spelling list 3
Key words spelling
High Frequency words list
Family names
Animals spelling
Toys spelling
Spell your numbers
First and last letter spellings Year 2
Spellings per day for KS1


key words


Spelling and writing are usually learnt together. Painting, colouring and computer games all can reinforce this learning process.
It helps to:
1.       Talk about your child’s writing  
2.       When children start they have not learnt the conventional spellings. They should however be encouraged to try. Encourage them to listen to the complete sounds of the words.
3.       Use their own name and write words starting with same letter as their name
e.g. Susan    says, sees, sand, send,
e.g. Charles   cheese, chum, chirps, chops
4.       Let children help you write lists.
5.       Always remember to praise your child when he works hard and makes attempts at writing and spelling.
6.       Look at words together and point words out when you are out shopping, on television and when you read stories.
7.       Learn songs and rhymes and read books together.
8.       Re-arrange letters from her name or other known words to make new words. e.g. b-at, is like m-at,   s-at,   h-at
10.   Find words within words, e.g. h/it, t/all, b/end, be/hind, win/dow, sh/out, f/arm/yard, car/pet
11.   As you read, talk about ways of how to remember to break up words into easier parts, e.g. Mon/ day, hol/i/day, Car/ni/val.
 As children progress up through school they will be introduced to;
  • improving sight vocabulary
  • word banks of personal words, topic words
  • vowel and consonant sounds / formations
  • syllables, e.g. comfortable, weekday
  • using different word endings in writing, e.g. ing/s/ed
  • spelling common irregular words e.g. was, said, one,
  • come, what
  • words with similar patterns, compound words e.g.
  • some/one, hand/bag
  • collect words and phrases that express shades of meaning.
When your child has a firmer grip on spelling you can still help by:
  • Recommending the use of a dictionary.
  • Praise new words that they have learnt to use correctly.
  • Encourage your child to get the ideas down first when they are writing then check spellings later.
  • Ask “Does that word look right?”   
  • Use the computer or get them to write to people who like to hear from them such as grandparents.
  • Use postcards to encourage children to write as they have less space to write, so are less daunting.
Postcard about new pet
Postcards for you to send
Postcard for school trip
Postcard on Camping trip
There are plenty of pages on Parents in Touch which will help you and your child with many of the idiosyncrasies of the English spelling.
How words are made
Spelling rules
Spelling tips 1 and 2
How to teach spelling
Spelling tips
Spelling rules 2
Spelling rules KS2
Spelling tips and rules
Spelling tips for Year 3
Spelling tips for Year 4
Spelling tips for Year 5
Spelling tips for Year 6
Ideas for teaching spelling
Stimulate spelling in children
Teaching spelling
Using a dictionary
Using a dictionary KS2, no1
Using a thesaurus
Dictionaries and spelling


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