Spelling and Vocabulary Approach & Guidance


The bigger a child’s working vocabulary, the better their educational performance. Good spelling is an essential skill that allows children to communicate their understanding effectively in all curriculum areas. The ability to use a range of spelling strategies builds confidence in writing and equips children for independence in writing. Fostering a love of language enriches children’s whole education. It’s not enough to be able to spell a word, children need to be confident to use it correctly

Aims and objectives:

By adopting a consistent, yet flexible, approach to the teaching of spelling we aim for the children to develop confidence and accuracy in spelling across the curriculum.

We will:

  • Teach children to use a range of effective spelling strategies

  • Encourage creativity and the use of more ambitious vocabulary in their writing

  • Enable children to write independently

  • Enhance proof-reading and editing skills

  • Promote a confident and positive attitude to spelling and using interesting vocabulary

Approaches to teaching and learning spellings

In Red Class children have daily phonics sessions where they are introduced to the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme. During these sessions, children are taught the sounds for individual letters, moving on to digraphs (sounds made with 2 letters e.g. ai) and trigraphs (sounds made with 3 letters e.g. igh). This supports them with segmenting and blending to read and spell words. Children are also taught to read and spell tricky words, which can’t be sounded using their phonics knowledge.

In Orange and Yellow Class, teaching of phonics continues on a daily basis, building on the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme started in Red Class. During phonics sessions, children practise sounds in isolation, spot them in words and continue to build up skills related to segmenting and blending for both reading and spelling. Following on from this, children are taught different spelling patterns that can be used for the sounds they know. These patterns are then practised in different words and the children are taught to spot clues and learn rules which help them to make the right spelling choices. Children will also continue to learn to spell tricky words and high frequency words on a weekly basis. Moving into Year 2, there is continuation of phonics teaching on a daily basis with a greater focus on teaching spelling rules (detailed in the national curriculum) alongside ‘common exception words’.

In Green, Blue and Violet class, weekly spelling activities aim to develop understanding of a single rule taken form the NC requirements for KS2. Word lists are sent home and practised in class using a range of strategies. Spellings are checked in short weekly assessments. In addition the KS2 spellings are used for handwriting practice. The level of correction will depend on the confidence of the child. The teacher may give the correct spelling for the child to copy, identify the incorrect letters for the child to correct, identify the word for the child to correct or indicate a line with a mistake in it for the child to find and correct the mistake.


The school uses a range of intervention programmes to support children who have difficulty with spelling. Children are identified for support by their class teacher and receive 1-1 or small group support with a teacher or LSA.

Spelling Strategies:

The teaching and learning of phonics and the correspondence between letters and their sounds underpins the spelling strategies. In addition we teach children a range of strategies for learning and remembering spellings including:

  • SACAWAC (say and cover and write and check)

  • Identifying syllables to break words into smaller parts

  • Identifying base words e.g. sing, singer, singing

  • Analogy – using words already known to help spell new words e.g. would, should, could

  • Mnemonics

  • Finding words within word

  • Making links between the origin of words and their spellings e.g. bicycle

  • Using word banks and dictionaries

  • Learning different spelling patterns and rules

  • Linking spelling to handwriting and phonics

  • Spelling for context e.g. practice, practise Phonics

Spelling Activities:

All classes will have regular spelling activities tailored to their age and stage of development. These might include:

  • Paired, individual, small group or whole class teaching

  • Whiteboard work

  • Dictionary and thesaurus activities

  • Word games

  • Specific homework

  • Editing and redrafting writing

  • Creating word banks linked to a topic

  • Rhymes and songs

  • Sorting, pairing and matching words

  • Phonics

Correcting Spellings:

Stage 1 Younger children will have key errors corrected in the moment by the teacher or LSA. These may be highlighted in pink and the correct spelling recorded by the child or the adult working with them. Next steps may be given to help the child to apply the correct spelling in context or, to help them to remember the spelling in future.

Stage 2 As the children become more confident, errors will be highlighted in pink and the children will correct them independently, using dictionaries or spelling books.

Stage 3 For fluent writers teachers will indicate the lines that contain spelling mistakes and the children will identify the errors and correct them.

Stage 4 For the most advanced writers, teachers will indicate the number of errors in a piece of writing and ask the children to find and correct them. We appreciate that a page full of corrections can be daunting and demotivating for children. Teachers will typically correct 3-5 errors in a piece of writing depending on the age and stage of development of the child. Teachers will prioritise the correct spelling of high frequency words and common exception words prescribed by the National Curriculum, and specialist vocabulary from other areas of the curriculum such as Science and Geography.

Key words:

In line with the National Curriculum 2014, it is expected that by the end of Key Stage 1 the children should be able to read spell the first 300 high frequency words. Each curriculum area also has specialist vocabulary that children are expected to learn.

Handwriting and Spelling:

Regular practice of letter patterns, and the copying of high frequency words helps develop a good visual memory. By copying and tracing whole words and linking their handwriting practice to the patterns of spelling, children will develop good motor memory.

Help at Home:

The high frequency spellings for each phase are shared with parents. They are also available on the website. Parents can play a big part in encouraging a positive attitude to spelling. Many people find spelling difficult but practice and perseverance really does pay-off. There are some suggestions for fun spelling activities on our website. Let your child’s class teacher know if you catch them using new and interesting words.


Some children will continue to find spelling challenge owing to specific learning difficulties. We will provide a flexible differentiated approach that may include: Assessment of need by school SENDCo Specific SEN interventions e.g. acceleread, Beat Dyslexia LSA support Assessment by external support agencies


Regular monitoring and work scrutiny is undertaken by teachers and leaders. Teachers use spelling tests to track progress, and identify gaps.

Monitoring and Evaluation:

Monitoring of spelling is part of the school’s monitoring cycle.