Spelling is vital to communicating in school and in public life. It enables children to express themselves creatively and imaginatively, and to communicate with others effectively. The ability to write clearly and with accurate spelling is a very important skill that children need to acquire. It is important to help and encourage children to develop as confident, competent spellers because the ability to spell most words correctly is often closely associated with good self-esteem and affects performance in most other areas of the curriculum. Spelling is a developmental process. Spelling is a visual-motor skill and children will therefore need to develop visual strategies in order to spell correctly. Children need to be encouraged to look carefully at words and be helped to understand how the English spelling system works.
In Years 2-6 we use ‘Read, Write Inc.’ to teach spelling. This is a scheme with proven results that allows spelling to be taught regularly. Rather than learning a list of stand-alone words, the emphasis is placed on the morphology of words – learning the rules of our language. The children learn to apply these rules to groups of words and understand the way English is constructed. The knowledge and understanding of prefixes, suffixes and word classes are key to the English language. Rules and visual prompts are used within the classroom to support the children in their learning in addition to a selection of words to learn at home. Little and often is the best way to learn spellings, and this is the approach that ‘Read, Write Inc.’ has adopted.
Spelling lessons are interactive with the use of online videos and activities, in addition to peer- teaching, and structured teacher-led sessions. The focus at Ridgeway Primary School is on teaching children spelling, and not just testing. There are opportunities throughout each unit for the pupils to apply their learning, and see what they have remembered, along with consolidating tricky words and writing dictation sentences. Our approach towards the teaching spelling is an integral part of our school curriculum.