Words within words – an ineffective spelling strategy

Words in words blog post

It is not uncommon for reading interventionists to encounter students who try to use words within words as a spelling strategy. Some teachers may think that helping students remember how to spell a word that they can already spell, e.g., the word ‘hat’, may be useful to teach the word ‘that’. They then teach the […]

Read More

Split digraph, Vowel+e, Bossy e, Silent e, magic e – why and how to teach it

The split digraphs ‘a-e’, ‘e-e’, ‘i-e’, ‘o-e’, ‘u-e’ are very common spellings. They have different names: Silent e, Magic e, Vowel Consonant e, Bossy e, Split digraphs. Many children struggle to read words with these spelling patterns, so we need to teach them explicitly. Why do we have these spelling patterns in English? The ‘e’ […]

Read More

Homophones – what to do about them?

What are homophones? Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings. The word ‘homophone’ has a Greek origin: ‘Homo’ meaning ‘same’ and ‘phone’ meaning ‘sound’. So, the word ‘homophone’ means same-sounding words that have different meanings. Some homophones have the same spellings: for example, the words ‘row’ as in ‘to row a […]

Read More

What’s so great about dictation?

The verb ‘to dictate’ is not one that teachers warm to. This is because we love to foster creativity in our children and to get them to write their own ideas. BUT when teaching children how to read and spell we need to use all the best tools we have to instruct our beginner readers […]

Read More

What is a schwa sound?

What is a schwa sound? And, did you know it is the most common sound in the English language? A schwa sound is a weak vowel sound in an unstressed syllable. Here is an explanation: Most multisyllabic words in English are pronounced with a stress on one syllable. Take the word ‘chicken’ the stress in […]

Read More

READ, SOUND, WRITE, CHECK – a better way to teach spelling

This year I have a number of students in Years 5 and 6 who are fluent readers. Their problem is spelling. Typically they may spell a word with all the correct letters that are in the wrong order, e.g., ‘nitgh’ for ‘night’. Children in Years 5 and 6 in the UK are expected to be […]

Read More

Top tips for teaching phonics

Teach step-by-step You don’t need to teach the whole alphabet to get reading going. Start with just a few letters, and get children to build words from them. Phonic Books starts with ‘s’, ‘a’, ‘t’, ‘i’ and ‘m’. Work with word-building Word-building is the best way to teach reading and spelling. Write letters on cards […]

Read More

Using morphology to teach word structure

Amber Guardians, Workbook, books 1-10

Do you have children who spell the word ‘jumped’ as ‘jumpt’, and ‘wanted’ as ‘wantid’? This is because they are listening to the sounds at the ends of words. After all, we tell them to listen to sounds when they spell. Sometimes, it is very helpful to bring a bit of morphology into the teaching […]

Read More

Should fluent readers be taught phonics?

Some children get the hang of reading easily and become fluent readers. Is there any point in taking them through a structured phonics programme?

Read More

UK schools & organisations wishing to order by invoice, please read the information regarding our new process. Dismiss