At the start of every year, each class teacher assesses the spelling ability of the children in the class using the Single Word Spelling Test. This is a particularly useful assessment as it not only gives us a spelling age for individuals but it lets us analyse the errors which have been made and make a plan to cover the spelling patterns which need to be taught or revisited.
Parents may from time to time notice that their children are covering a spelling pattern which they have worked on before. This does not mean that they are struggling in spelling, nor does it mean that the class teacher does not know they have already covered this pattern. Children do benefit from opportunities to repeat lessons learned and to consolidate what they know.
In fact, in order for us to assess whether or not a spelling pattern or rule truly has been learned children need to be able to demonstrate their understanding of it in different contexts. This means transferring their knowledge to other tasks, such as story writing, writing newspaper articles, taking notes etc.
Children will be taught a spelling pattern each week and the emphasis is on the pattern, adding prefixes or suffixes to change to route words. In this way children learn more about the origins of our language and how it works. This is most definitely not about learning a set of words to be tested at the end of the week and then forgotten about.
Class teachers will set words for your child to practise their spelling pattern for the week at school and at home. As research indicates that 7 words is the most beneficial for children to work with, all teachers will stick to this amount of words weekly. In some cases, class teachers will issue a choice of words home, containing hot, medium and spicy lists for your child to choose from. This way they can choose their own confidence band and you need not worry that the words are too easy or difficult, as it is the pattern that is important, and we will be able to tell if your child has learned this from looking at whether they have transferred the learning into other work in their jotters.
Both in school and in home-learning we believe that active learning is the best way to help children to consolidate new lessons. We have worked hard in school to prepare ‘spelling menus’ which have lots of different options for you to choose from. These should be fun and active and follow the interests of your child. We know a lot of choice can be problematic for some children and encourage parents to help their children make choices, which we hope will be part of the fun in working with your child at home.
If you have any questions about your child’s spelling, please contact your child’s teacher. Miss Cessford or Mrs Waddell are always happy to help should you have any further comments.