Spelling can be an exciting exercise if the activities are in line with the child’s development and level of skill. There are five steps that are needed by Grade Three to make certain that children are excited and interested in spelling and presenting their work without mistakes. In this article, I am only presenting general knowledge about three of these steps and will provide the other steps in later blogs.
The first and most basic step is phonological awareness. To explain this simply, I will give an example….. if I was going to have a Prep child make three letter words, I would need to make certain that the child could clap the beats in words (recognise syllables), recognise that two given words rhyme, be able to tell the first and last sound of a word, as well as stretching a word into its individual sounds. If the child can’t tell you the number of syllables in a word they will not be able to know the least number of vowels that will be in the word because each syllable must have at least one vowel. Stretching a word allows the child to cut the word into its individual sounds.The child must be able to say the first and last sound of a word so that they are able to match the letter to that sound and thus, write a word. THIS is why PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS IS SO IMPORTANT. It is the foundation step. If this step isn’t in place… expect to have problems. AND this is only the first step of phonological awareness.
The children need to know some sounds at this stage to make words. I begin the next step once the sounds,a,b,c,f,h,m,n,p,r,s,t and v are known. I continue teaching and consolidating the remaining letters and sounds using the picture cards that match the CD above. To view, go to http://www.letterboxlearntoread.com/products
With early spelling, I prefer the children to use letter cards to make words. I sometimes use flat rocks that are easily purchased from a garden shop.I place small stickers on them and then write the letters on the stickers. I make the vowels one colour and consonants the other. Vertically line up the vowels at the left of the child in this order: i,e,a,o,u . The consonants are placed in a horizontal line across the front of the desk.I only start with a few letters at a time eg. a,b,c,f,h,m,n,p,r,s,t and v. The children then say the word, stretch the word and then make the word with the cards or the rocks. The words made with these letters are bat,cat,fat,hat,mat,nat,pat,rat,sat,tat,and vat. Even if you only complete a few words at a time, that is fantastic. Begin and have some fun.
As the children move along, it is important that they begin to look carefully at the words to see if they look right. This visual step needs to develop alongside the phonetic level of spelling.