Not knowing how to spell a word can really slow down the writing composition process. It disrupts the flow of ideas and contributes to the muddling of sequences, often leading to a piece of writing that is difficult for the reader to understand. Learners with a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) tend to struggle with spelling and are often much stronger readers than spellers. There are various ways that their spelling can be supported in class.
Inclusive resources for spelling
- Free spelling resources
- A phonic mat at the appropriate level for the pupil.
- Clear displays in the classroom of frequently used words such as days of the week or months of the year.
- Word mats of topic specific vocabulary with picture clues.
- A phoneme frame for trying out spellings while sounding out phonemes.
- A personal spelling book arranged alphabetically that they can add to.
- A small white board for them to try out a spelling before committing it to paper.
- ACE Spelling Dictionary (see Informing Choices sheet for summary). This is a useful alternative dictionary for KS2 pupils who struggle with spelling, but who are confident at breaking words into syllables and identifying short and long vowel sounds.
- Chambers Spell It Yourself Dictionary - lists related forms of the word next to it, helping the pupil to see connections and use analogy e.g. run, running, runner to develop their spelling.
- Barrington Stoke School Spelling Dictionary - printed on dyslexia-friendly cream paper and shows a phonetically plausible version of the word in red with the correct version next to it in black.
- Oxford Primary Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Dictionary (OUP). The dictionary section makes up half of the book and is clearly laid out showing words related to the root word and highlighting some spelling oddities in Watch Out! boxes.
- DD's Dictionary - an iPad app that groups words alphabetically and allows the user to listen to the word selected to verify it is the one they want. It also shows homophones at the same time.
- Ask Siri - pupil can use this facility on an iPad e.g. Asks aloud 'How do you spell.....?' And then can see it written and with a definition. Useful for pupils with very weak spelling who have no idea where to start looking up a word in a dictionary.
How to teach the spelling of a new word in class
- Use colour to highlight a word within a word, the tricky part of the word (yacht), the root word (sparkly, sparkler, sparkled), suffixes/prefixes (unread, misbehave, leaked) etc and draw pupils' attention to it.
- Help pupils to think of other words that share the same spelling pattern so they can use analogy (dream, cream).
- Break the word into syllables and say each syllable aloud as it is being written (dis-gust-ing).
- Display it on the Words of the Week board.