to access the Spelling Powerpoint.

Spelling is a tool for writing
Virginia Outred and Jane Denny
From David Hornsby lecture 4.6.12
Learning….. from….
• Meaningful to Abstract
• Known to Unknown
• Heart to head (affective domain to cognitive
Recent Brain research shows…
• Brains detect patterns in learning
• Therefore it is more effective to teach
• Pattern by pattern NOT word by word
How can we group words for patterns?
• Visual patterns
• Sound patterns
• Meaning patterns
Why can’t we teach spelling according
to sounds only?
• English spelling is tied to meaning NOT sound
• E.g. sign comes from signal. Therefore the ‘g’
stays when we write sign even though we
don’t say it. To take the g out would change
the derivation of the word meaning.
• This is the strength in English spelling- it helps
us to spell.
Language serves meaning not sound
Our language is more tied to morphemic not
Example: 4 – four, quatre, quatro
All over the world this word has the same
meaning but a different sound.
5 Strategies for Solving words
By Sound
(phonemic strategies)
Words we can sound outusing sound to letter
By Look
(visual strategies)
Words we remember by
seeing them and using them a
By Meaning
(morphemic strategies)
Words where I know the units
of meaning and can combine
By connections
(linking strategies)
Using existing knowledge
about a word to figure out a
new word
By Inquiry
(research strategies)
Using reference materials to
learn more about words
(dictionaries, lists etc)
Example to, too, two
• To- high frequency word, use visual memory
• Too- sound pattern (zoo, moo)
• Two- morphemic knowledge linked to the
meaning of 2. (twin, twice, twenty, between)
5 developmental stages of spelling
Pre communicative
Writing cannot be read by others
Random strings of symbols
No indication of letter-sound correspondence
Semi- phonetic
First attempts at letter-sound correspondence
Initial consonants, one letter representing one word
Sometimes one or two sounds in the word represented
A letter name sometimes used /Some sounds evident
Paying attention to all sounds
Writing can usually be read by others
There may be a match between all essential sounds
Letters used to represent dominant sounds heard
Nasal consonants may be omitted (wet for went)
Past tense represented in various ways (d,t,id)
Visual and morphemic strategies become more important
More aware of common patterns. Can be correct letters but in
wrong sequence. Vowels are heard in every syllable
Not everyone reaches this stage
Teaching Spelling
• We are teachers of spelling all day every day
• Help students to be word watchers in all KLA’s
• Explicit teaching is ‘short, sharp, shiny’
(3-5mins) as part of modelled writing or
shared reading (whole class)
• Expert spellers have excellent visual memory,
poor spellers don’t.
• Teach all 5 strategies K-6. Use language
appropriate to the grade
Teaching Spelling
• Begin with authentic texts- reading and
• Reading and writing of connected texts always
takes priority
• Do not begin with the rule. Rules are not the
known. Explore the words and patterns,
discover the rules.
• Spelling Activities only help students to
contextualise strategies they do not specifically
teach spelling.
• A teacher is needed to make the connection
between strategy and activity
• Strategies need to be taught either before, during
or after the activity
• Can teach in group time- no more than 10
minutes (group according to developmental stage
or need)
Group teaching of spelling
• Sometimes group semi-phonetic, phonetic and transitional
chn on their own and sometimes together.
• Whole class – shared text. Explicit teaching 4-5 mins max. It
must be a mini- lesson when its whole class 2 or 3 mins is
best. Lots of very short mini lessons are valuable. For some
chn it’s revision and practise. For some it’s new and for some
it’s above them.
much more specifically on what the groups need. Identify why
you are using a particular sequence.
Assessing Spelling
• Writing samples
• Dictation- can be a place to assess words you
have taught or a pattern that’s been looked at.
• Test scores don’t reveal developmental stage
of the student
Testing spelling
Pure access to books makes a difference to
children’s scores on tests.
Testing does not improve learning.
Teaching improves learning.
If I don’t test how do I know what a
child can spell?
A child’s independent writing is the best
indication of their spelling.
How can we “use “ parent helpers?
• Parents can write a child’s spelling on the
spelling analysis sheet to assist teachers.
• The teachers then look at this in light of the
area where most of the ticks occur.
What can I do once I know what kind
of speller a child is?
• Semi-phonetic- chn need help to pay
attention to every sound in a word.
“Push and stretch”.
• Phonetic – more visual patterns, more
meaning patterns and more gimmicks
• Transitional – More of the same as the
It’s not the child’s fault.
• Hornsby and Wilson (2011) ‘Teaching Phonics in
Context’ Pearson Education
• Gentry and Gillet (1993) ‘Teaching kids to Spell’
• Peter Westwood (1999) ‘Spelling: Approaches to
teaching and assessment’ ACER press
• Pinnell and Fountas Word Matters
• Teaching Spelling K-6 NSW Dept of Ed Curriculum
Support Directorate 1998(download from Smart
• Rowe and Lomas (1996)‘Systematic Spelling’

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