As part of our continued drive to raise standards in English, we are placing a large focus on spelling throughout the school. From January 2022, we will be following a programme called No Nonsense Spelling, which will be delivered in Year 2 to Year 6. In Reception and Year 1, children will continue to learn phonics and spelling patterns through their phonics programme.
No Nonsense Spelling focuses on the teaching of spelling, embracing knowledge of spelling conventions – patterns and rules; but integral to the teaching is the opportunity to promote the learning of spellings, including National Curriculum statutory words, common exception words (where phonics does not work because it is spelt in an unusual or uncommon way) and words that children personally find difficult. It is often that children can spell words correctly in their weekly spelling test, but are unable to apply the correct spelling in writing. No Nonsense Spelling focuses on the application of spellings into writing.
How is the programme organised?
The programme has been broken down into half termly plans. The plans follow a model of six spelling sessions across two weeks, except in Year 2 where sessions are daily. Each lesson is approximately 10 to 15 minutes long, but lesson plans are flexible so that the teaching can reflect the extra time needed on a teaching point if required.
The programme has been written broadly following a teaching sequence for spelling, whereby each new concept is taught, practised and then applied and assessed. Frequently there is also a ‘Revise’ session before the teaching session. Teachers may also integrate activities for handwriting so that children acquire the physical memory of the spelling pattern as well as the visual.
Learning at home and in school
Learning needs to happen in school and at home. There is little evidence though, that the traditional practice of learning spelling lists at home and being tested on them (usually on a Monday) is effective. However, there is a high expectation within the National Curriculum 2014 that pupils will learn many increasingly complex words. Within the programme, learning spelling patterns is built into each six-week block. Within the sessions a range of strategies for learning spellings are introduced and practised. This enables pupils to choose the strategies they find most effective for learning different words. Each week the children (Y2-Y6) will bring home a list of 7 spellings which they have been learning in school and we ask that the children learn the spellings and create sentences using the spelling words. This enables the children to practise the spelling rules, understand the meaning of the words and apply them to writing. Throughout the week, children will be quizzed on these words to ensure that the words have transferred from their short term memory to their long term memory, resulting in spelling fluency and accuracy when writing. Classes will have formal weekly spelling tests.
Click here for the Spelling Appendix
With the changes in the curriculum, greater emphasise has now been placed on presentation, the formation of letters and joined handwriting. Where as previously this skill would not have been as important as others, all skills within Writing have equal weighting. This term, we have purchased a new handwriting scheme that can also be accessed at home on tablets. This is a great resource for the children to use to practise these skills. Not only can they practise on their tablets, but there is also the option to print out extra resources so they can work on paper.
We are now part of the Letter-join handwriting scheme and any of our pupils wishing to practise their handwriting at home can now log in to the Letter-join website on iPads and tablets as well as desktop and laptop computers. There you will find the same, easy-to-use handwriting resources as we use at school.
Click here for Read Write Inc Letter Formation