We have been working hard this year to develop our understanding of spelling rules in Kingfishers. As part of this, we have recognised that we cannot just rely on listening for the sounds we hear in the word to help us spell it. The children have really enjoyed using ‘Word Study’ approaches to sorting and investigating our spellings this year, as it’s made them think about root words first, and this is helping them to make links to lots of other words that we know. I will guide the class to think about spotting patterns between words when they sort them, and notice where changes have needed to be made to the root word before suffixes are added. That often involves the children creating posters of the rules they have uncovered like this one last week on our working wall:
Our working wall will also include key prompts to remind the children of the rules they have discovered through their investigations and they can refer to this all the way through the week as we learn lots about these spellings. We also record any ‘oddballs’ that we find, which are examples of words which break our rules! (or don’t follow the common pattern – annoyingly so!) The children know they just have to learn and remember these spellings. I’m really proud of this part of our English Working Wall: it shows the children taking ownership of finding out why words are spelled in particular ways.
Our weekly spelling list also looks like this:
We always complete this together: we read each word in the list, identify its root word (or linked words if there is not an obvious root word) and then write down any tips which will help us to remember the rules needed to spell these words correctly. For example,
- the ‘se’ crossed out for reversible reminds us that the root word is reverse.
- the rule for words ending in ‘se’ is to add ‘ible’ not ‘able’.
- the tip of 1 syllable reminds us that for one syllable words, you need to double the last letter before adding the vowel suffix ‘er’ – quit + er = quitter not quiter
We also underline any tricky parts of the spellings that we just have to learn and pay close attention to when we are practicing these words at home. I liked Jasmine’s tip that you can remember char -a – cter needs the letter ‘a’ in the middle by seeing the word act inside. An actor would act out a character in a play so remember ‘act’ needs to go inside the rest of the word!
The middle section of the list, which covers revision, is based on the learning the children did when they were in Year 3 and 4. Unfortunately I must concentrate the lesson time we have for spelling on our age-related year group objectives – I only recap the revision learning with short activities through the week – so it is important that the children reteach themselves about this if necessary (use Education City!) and challenge themselves to spell all of these correctly.
Despite the children showing some good understanding of the spelling rules we explore each week in class, their spelling test scores do not always reflect this. The children plan in the days they are going to practice their spellings at home on a Monday morning and it is important that we expect this of the children on the nights that they choose to do this. We are going to start publishing the rules we find out on our blog so that if the children forget these at home, they can remind themselves of the rules on here. We are also going to start recording our weekly spelling test scores in our planners so we can share our progress with you more regularly.
You might be surprised about the level of vocabulary that appears in our spelling lists at times – I know Mrs Hancock was this week! However, we always discuss the meaning of all words we don’t know when we complete this table to help us understand how we can use them in our own writing. It is also important that I challenge the children with vocabulary that they might not know or have been exposed to before, as this has become a significant factor in the raised expectations of the New Curriculum.
As always, if you are ever unsure of what the spelling rules mean, please feel free to come and talk to me after school about them. I will happily help and give advice about strategies you can use. Your support with what we do in school is always valued and I’m looking forward to rearranging today’s parent workshop on spelling and grammar in the next few weeks. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming dates…