Do you struggle with teaching spelling? Have you tried a spelling phonetically program before? I learned about this years ago and I haven’t looked back!
Start with Sounds
Before I start my spelling program, I make sure that students are competent with all (or most) of the single letter sounds. Some letters have 1 sound, some have 3 or 4! Do you know the single letter sounds? Here is a video that I created for parents during the pandemic in 2020.
When working with students on their sounds, you will need to see/hear that they can blend them. For example: CAT – k/a/t. Do you students blend them together or keep saying k/a/t? If you create centres, having a sound station will help students with this skill.
Have you heard of Science of Reading? The Science of Reading is all the research behind how children learn to read. They have a lot to say about reading and it is worth taking the time to either attend a workshop or read the articles. Essentially, the five components, suggested by The National Reading Panel (2020), to build an effective reading program are:
- phonemic awareness,
So where does spelling com into this? A piece of research that came out in the 1980-1990s (I’ll look it up), stated that, “All good readers do not make good spellers, but all good spellers make good readers.” Having had voracious readers in my class who couldn’t spell if their life depended upon it proved this statement for me.
But going back to the Science of Reading, phonemic awareness and phonics are clearly the foundation to helping students read. Did you notice the lack of words like, “memorization” and “sight words”? I was told by well meaning learning assistance teachers to spend time on sight word development. But I didn’t know the proper definition of it. But I digress.
To teach spelling phonetically is to take your list of words and work on them the way you work on phonemic awareness and phonics. Break the word down (segment)!
So, where do you start? What words should you use? I gravitate towards high frequency words but I try to follow the following pattern:
- Consonants & short vowel sounds
- Consonant blends & digraphs
- Long vowel/final e
- Long vowel digraphs
- Other vowel patterns
- Syllable patterns
Read Naturally has a great list of the high frequency words which include a column of words with irregular sounds.
I’m going to end this post here as some of this may be new to you, but I’m going to continue to post a spelling phonetically as I set up my own spelling program for the year. The next post will be on what weekly spelling looks like in the classroom.