How We Teach Letter Sounds and Spelling

The children in Years R and 1 are taught Phonics every day. The children learn letter sounds so that they can read and write. We teach Phonics through a daily, systematic programme using ‘Letters and Sounds’.

Children are taught each sound –there are 44 distinct sounds in English- and use this knowledge to read , by blending and to spell, by segmenting.  Once the children are secure in using letter sounds to read and to write the children in Years 2- 6 are then taught to spell using the Read, Write Inc. programme.

Read Write Inc. spelling is taught every day for a short session and explicitly teaches the children how to spell. The children are taught in Year groups and a variety of resources and activities are used within the sessions to engage and to enthuse the children in their learning.

The first session of the week focuses the children on quickly spelling words that the class teacher has identified with the children as tricky spellings and have been the focus of the previous week’s work. These words are then also written in their spelling log which should be brought home to share with parents every day.

The new spelling pattern for the week is then introduced and uses a video taking the children to the ‘Spelling Zone’. The Year Group then engage in a ‘Dots and Dashes’ activity during which they count the sounds they can hear in words and put a dot underneath the letter (grapheme) if it is a single sound or a dash if it is two letters/three letters making one speech sound (a digraph).

  • Session 2 engages the children in a quick recap of the previous learning and then the children engage in a word changing activity. This encourages the children to change a root word either by adding a prefix or a suffix. E.g prod becomes prodding by doubling the letter ‘d’.
  • Session 3 focuses the children on identifying words they need to learn and writing them in their log books in order for them to practise throughout the week both at home and at school. Part of the session is learning to write a sentence once dictated. Children are given time to practise, practise, practise the word out loud, then to hold it in their head and then to write it.
  • Session 4 sees the children working in pairs to  mark each other’s work and earn a point if they have written four words in a row correctly. An activity follows which focuses the children on choosing a correct word from a given set in order to make a sentence, checking it does actually make sense.
  • Session 5 usually the week ends giving the class and partners time to unpick a choice of difficult words and an opportunity to spell them correctly by trying to jump them out of the teacher’s box/basket. These words are either taken from the Red words for Year 2 or the Orange words for Years 3-6, or can be a combination of both, depending on the learning needs of the class.