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At Gravel Hill we do not give weekly spelling tests for a number of reasons:
• Getting 100% on a spelling test does not mean a child has mastery over those words. Most children, even those who score well in a test, will misspell the same word in their writing.
• Just because a child can memorise words for a test does not mean they understand the logic or reasoning behind the spelling of words and spelling patterns and rules.
• Pupils need multiple and meaningful exposure to concepts, including the spellings of words, for it to “stick”. Just one time through does not give them multiple or meaningful exposure to the words. Most children need to read the words, write the words, and interact with the words through hands-on spelling activities to really know the word.
What is our approach?
Spelling, as with many other concepts, is part of our daily teaching routine. During lessons, adults will emphasise key vocabulary and follow the process of “say it, spell it, define it” to encourage pupils to use a high level of vocabulary within a meaningful context.
Teachers plan to include the direct teaching of spelling patterns and rules as part of the balanced English curriculum and handwriting sessions give pupils opportunities to practice writing key words.
Playing spelling games and activities such as Scrabble and Boggle ensures pupils regularly use words and develop knowledge of spelling patterns and rules in a way that is relevant and fun.
What can you do at home?
In Key Stage 1, we encourage parents to help children learn to spell a range of high frequency words and to use their phonics knowledge to help them with more tricky words. The expectation is that children will have learnt most of these words by the end of Year 2. You can help by having fun helping your child choose two or three words at a time to learn.
In Key Stage 2, teachers check that the children are using correct spellings in their own writing. At this stage it is appropriate for teachers to point out when certain words are spelt incorrectly, but more importantly, that children recognise for themselves when they have made an error and know a range of strategies for correcting inaccuracies. By this stage children will have a range of spelling strategies that they will have been taught, to draw on. Children will use the strategy which best suits their learning style and works best for them.
For details of spelling games and strategies please click here
For spelling lists for each year group please click on the relevant button: