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Five Top Tips for Teaching Spelling

Helping your pupils to become confident in their spelling is a key part of improving overall literacy at key stage 1 and 2. Recent guidance from the Education Endowment Foundation recommends that spelling be explicitly taught and that extensive practice of written transcription skills should be encouraged to support literacy improvement. But where does this fit teaching spelling into your already busy timetable? And how do you know which strategies will work?

We’ve put together 5 top tips to successfully teach spelling and develop fluent and confident writers

1. Make it fun

Developing fluency and accuracy in spelling requires regular practice. But children will often only engage with a task and want to repeat it if they have a positive experience, if it captures their attention and if they feel motivated to have another go.

With Sumdog Spelling your children will be engaged and motivated to practice spelling with over 29 different games for them to play, virtual coins to earn and items for their shop or garden to buy. Plus! They can receive badges for accuracy, time spent playing and they receive instant feedback on how they’ve performed.


2. Align to teaching topics

It can often be challenging when teaching spelling, to set differentiated spelling practice to a class of mixed-ability pupils, when there are certain word sounds and patterns to cover. However, the EEF recommends that teaching should focus on spellings that are relevant to the topic or genre being studied.

On Sumdog, you can choose from over 13,500 words to create custom word lists based on topics you’re teaching in class or you can choose from pre-made lists that cover certain word patterns and sounds to align with your synthetics phonics teaching. These word lists help reduce your workload as they can be saved and used again by other teachers in your school. You can also select individual pupils to assign spellings to or your whole class.

Learn more about Sumdog Spelling practice

3. Read the words aloud first

It’s important to show pupils how a word is spelled out but what can help children grasp words and how they’re formed is how they sound when spoken.

Each word is read alone, followed by the word being used in a sentence. This method of teaching spelling provides context and understanding of how words should be used, and facilitates the learning of words and letter patterns.

4. Encourage as much spelling practice as possible

Fluency – writing with speed and accuracy, is best achieved when the retrieval skills and thinking behind the writing becomes automated. Once this fluency is achieved, they can then start to think about the content of their writing and get creative.

Sumdog spelling, grammar and punctuation games help pupils to feel fluent in their transcription skills as they type their answers on screen. They can be played in-class as part of your teaching or at home to support extensive practise of key skills including completing sentences, identifying synonyms and antonyms and correctly placing capital letters. There’s 1000s of questions to choose from that adapt to your pupil’s individual level so your class can practise together whilst on their own personalised journey.

5. Give feedback on spelling progress

“A large amount of practice, supported by effective feedback is required to develop fluency.”This is understandable but can be time-consuming and may mean that you can’t spend as much time as you’d like with any pupils who need extra support.

Sumdog’s automated marking shows pupils their results and where corrections are needed immediately after they finish their set of spellings. Plus our reports help you demonstrate pupil progress and impact on their spelling and grammar fluency development to parents and colleagues. 

Interested in a Sumdog Spelling & Grammar subscription?

We've created downloadable and printable word lists to help you see the skills you can cover using Sumdog along with the words within each skill.
Access spelling word lists






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