Spelling -the full story

Spelling -the full story
For those of us who felt overwhelmed by the original Framework’s long list
of spelling objectives, the promise of fewer objectives in the Renewed
Framework was welcomed. However, it seems to me that another
problem now presents itself – too few objectives! The broad headlines
offer insufficient guidance to teachers, e.g. Year 4
I can
spell in
Year 4
“Use knowledge of phonics, morphology and etymology to spell new and unfamiliar words.”
(n.b. phonemic: syllables (including compound words), long vowel phonemes, unusual
representations of consonant phonemes, e.g. “silent” letters; morphemic: the effect of adding
prefixes and suffixes, inflections, compound words; etymology: the origin/history of words.)
The Overviews of Learning give additional information:
Year 4 spelling is marked by increasing accuracy of high frequency and phonically regular words and the ability to apply a
range of strategies to unfamiliar words. When spelling unfamiliar words with long vowels, children enter Year 4 with
sufficient information to make an accurate choice, and for many fairly common words will correctly decide, on visual
appearance, between two alternatives. They distinguish between the spelling and meaning of common homophones. By
the beginning of Year 4, children have had a lot of practice in reading and spelling verbs with the inflected endings -s, -ing
and -ed and plural nouns. These will need further revision in Year 4 and be extended to include verb stems ending in y, for
example ‘marry’, ‘married’.
The following grid aims to plug that guidance gap and support teachers as they plan focused spelling
learning spelling conventions –so
children can attempt unknown words
which may follow a pattern.
learning spelling strategies – so
“tricky” bits in words can be
memorised and learned.
assessment / application (including proofreading).
Over a unit of work, it is useful to try to build in opportunities for each of these elements.
1. Spelling Conventions
Investigation of patterns in written language
2. Spelling Strategies
A bank of strategies for personal use when
encountering “tricky words”.
 Break up words into syllables
using phonic knowledge & skills
Highlight the tricky bit
doubling consonants
Link new words with old words you can
plurals (see below)
already spell
Use a mnemonic
Change the sound of a word
Find words within words
Over time, alongside tricky words (could be high frequency words or words relevant to a genre or area
of study) and strategies to remember them, children need to investigate the patterns in our language.
The range below is taken from the original Framework and the Spelling Bank publication which is still
a useful resource http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/primary/publications/literacy/63313/
Grammar Principles and Graphic
Year 4
Term 1
Term 2
Term 3
To spell two-syllable words containing double
consonants e.g. bubble, kettle, common
To distinguish between the spelling and meanings
of common homophones, e.g. to/two/too;
To spell regular verb endings s, ed, ing (link to
grammar work on tenses)
To investigate what happens to words ending in f
when suffixes are added;
To spell words with the common endings: -ight,
To explore the occurrence of certain letters, e.g.
“v” and “k” and letter strings, e.g. “wa” (e.g. swat,
water) “wo”(e.g. worship, won) and “ss”,
(goodness, hiss, missile) within words;
Deduce some of the conventions for using them
at the beginnings, middles and endings of words;
To spell words with common letter strings but
different pronunciations, e.g. tough, cough,
through, plough;
To distinguish the two forms: its (possessive, no
apostrophe) and it’s (contracted “It is”) and to use
these accurately in own writing;
Morphemic (affixes and roots)
To recognise and spell the suffixes: -al, -ary, -ic,
-ship, -hood, -ness, -ment;
The ways in which nouns and adjectives, e.g. fix,
simple, solid, drama, dead, can also be made
into verbs by use of the suffixes ate, ify, etc.;
Investigate spelling patterns and generate rules
to govern the patterns;
To recognise and spell the prefixes: al-, etc;
Collect/classify words with common roots, e.g.
advent, invent, prevent – press, pressure,
depress – phone, telephone, microphone etc.;
investigate origins and meanings;
To practise extending and compounding words
through adding parts, e.g. ful, ly, ive, tion, ic, ist
etc. revise and reinforce earlier work (Y3) on
prefixes and suffixes; investigate links between
meaning and spelling;
To recognise and spell the suffixes; -ible, -able, ive, -tion, -sion;
Five Session Spelling – across a two week (10 day) unit of literacy work
Whole class
tricky bits
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