Spelling at Whiteknights

On this page learn how we help our children with their spelling at Whiteknights.

Why is it important to teach Spelling?

Learning how to spell is a useful lifelong skill. Correct spelling makes a child’s work easier to read and understand, and children themselves take pride in being able to spell words accurately. If children are confident in their ability to spell, they are more likely to use more ambitious vocabulary in their writing rather than avoiding less familiar words simply because they are unable to spell them.

How is spelling taught at Whiteknights?

At Whiteknights, we have been using the Read, Write Inc. Spelling programme to teach spelling from Years 3-6 (this will also include Year 2 from Spring Term 2018). This is an interactive and engaging programme which teaches children the rules and patterns of spelling; there is also a focus on irregular spelling patterns which need to be memorised. Pupils are taught spelling in a daily session of approximately 15 minutes.

To ensure that all children  have a firm foundation for spelling, each year group will begin by learning the previous year’s programme in addition to the current year (for example: Year 4 will be taught the Year 3 and Year 4 spelling programme this year).

How is spelling assessed?

Memorising spelling for a weekly spelling test can be stressful, and often children are unable to apply accurate spelling of these words to their writing. Because spelling is taught and rehearsed daily, children will not be given lists of spellings to learn for a test. Instead, children will have a list of personalised spellings for them to practise each week. Their ability to spell these words accurately will be checked during a weekly ‘Log and Learn’ session. Any spellings that the pupil is not yet confident in will be ‘carried over’ to the next week’s spelling list; when a pupil is confident with the spelling of a word, that word will be replaced by a new word on their spelling list. 

Assessment throughout a unit will be ongoing and children will be logging spellings that they find difficult. More formal assessment of spelling will take place every 6 weeks.

How can I support my child?

Parents can help support their children by regularly practising the words in their child’s spelling list. Pupils will have their words written on a ‘Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check sheet in their Home Learning Diary:

Look: first look at the whole word carefully. If there is one part of the word that is difficult, think about how you will remember it.

Say: say the word as you look at it, using different ways of pronouncing it to make it more memorable.

Cover: cover the word.

Write: write the word from memory, saying the word as you do so.

Check: Have you got it right? If yes, try writing it again and again! If not, try again – look, say, cover, write, check.

Some other useful strategies include:

  • Ask your child whether the word follows a rule, or if it is one of those tricky words (in the scheme they are ‘orange’ words) which doesn’t fit the rules.
  • If it is an ‘orange’ word, ask them if they have thought of a good way of remembering it. Can they point to the letters that are the tricky ones? Can they use a rhyme or mnemonic to help them? Is there a funny way to say the word that helps them remember it?
  • Ask them if the word has a prefix or a suffix. Can they find the root word? Can they explain the rules for adding the prefix or suffix?
  • Check that your child knows what the word means. Ask them to use it in a sentence – this might be spoken rather than written at first, to check that they understand.

Orange words

The National Curriculum outlines word-lists for Years 3 and 4 and Years 5 and 6. The lists are a mixture of words pupils frequently use in their writing and those which they often misspell. Within RWI Spelling, these words are referred to as ‘Orange Words’ and are taught alongside the weekly spelling rule.