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Reading and Spelling Years 2-5

Reading and Spelling

Years 2-5

As children move from year 1 to year 2 they are taught spelling following the National Curriculum programme. We focus on the teaching of spelling which embraces knowledge of spelling conventions – patterns and rules; but integral to the teaching is the opportunity to promote the learning of spellings, including statutory words, common exceptions and personal spellings.

Each daily lesson is approximately 15-20 minutes long but lesson plans are flexible so that the teaching can reflect the teaching time needed on a teaching point if required. The teaching sequence follows the same sequence as letters and Sounds. Handwriting is taught within the programme following the cursive style.

Supporting Resources

Spelling Journals

Journals are used from Year 2-5 so that

• pupils take responsibility for their spelling learning

• pupils refer back to previous learning

• teachers can see how pupils are tackling tricky bits of spelling

• teachers and pupils can discuss spelling with parents and carers


Spelling journals can take many forms and are much more than just a word book. Spelling journals can be used for

• practising strategies

• learning words

• recording rules/conventions/generalisations as an aide-memoire

• word lists of really tricky words (spelling enemies)

• ‘Having a go’ at the point of writing

• ongoing record of statutory words learnt

• investigations

• spelling tests.

Have a go sheets

These are a key component of Strategies at the point of writing. They are introduced in the Year 2 programme and then revisited in Years 3, 4 and 5. Have a go sheets can take several different forms, for example:

• a large sheet of paper on a table that pupils write on when they need to.

• sheets stuck in all pupils’ books that fold out when pupils are writing

• a book placed on the table open at a clean sheet for pupils to use.

• a page in pupils’ spelling journals.

Misspelt words in writing are corrected in line with our school’s spelling marking and feedback policy.

GPC (grapheme- phoneme correspondence) choices chart

 The teaching of spelling complements very much the teaching of phonics. The teachers will draw upon the GPC charts used in our phonics programme to work alongside the teaching of spelling.

Individual whiteboards

These can be used in a variety of ways to support lessons including checking spelling attempts, Quickwrite and Have a go.

Working wall

GPC charts, reminders of common spelling patterns/ conventions and tricky words to remember are sometimes part of a working wall for spelling.

Learning spellings

Children learn to spell words in different ways including using visual aids, mnemonics, using equipment, writing over again.

Learning needs to happen in school and at home. The National Curriculum requires pupils to learn many increasingly complex words so it is important that children are given spellings to learn in school and at home. Within the teaching 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.

Tips for learning spellings at home

 Learning at home needs to be an extension of the practice in school. Consider

• limiting the number of words to five or less a week to ensure success and enable deeper learning

• making sure pupils and parents have access to the range of learning strategies which have been taught in school, to use in home learning. Our school use the interactive Spelling Shed programme. Our Class Dojo and Tapestry platforms are also used to communicate reading and spelling with children and parents.

• assessing spellings in context, for example: learning spellings in a given sentence, generating sentences for each word, assessing through unseen dictated sentences

Spelling learning strategies used in classrooms

  1. Look, Say, Cover, Write and Check

This is probably the most common strategy used to learn spellings. Look: first look at the whole word carefully and if there is one part of the word that is difficult, look at that part in more detail. Say: say the word as you look at it, using different ways of pronouncing it if that will 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, start again – look, say, cover, write, check. 


  1. Trace, copy and replicate (and then check)

This is a similar learning process to ‘look, say, cover, write, check’ but is about developing automaticity and muscle memory. Write the word out on a sheet of paper ensuring that it is spelt correctly and it is large enough to trace over. Trace over the word and say it at the same time. Move next to the word you have just written and write it out as you say it. Turn the page over and write the word as you say it, and then check that you have spelt it correctly. If this is easy, do the same process for two different words at the same time. Once you have written all your words this way and feel confident, miss out the tracing and copying or the tracing alone and just write the words.

  1. Segmentation strategy

        The splitting of a word into its constituent phonemes in the correct order to support spelling.

  1.  Quickwrite


Writing the words linked to the teaching focus with speed and fluency. The aim is

to write as many words as possible within a time constraint. Pupils can write words provided by the teacher or generate their own examples. For example, in two minutes write as many words as possible with the /iː/ phoneme. This can be turned into a variety of competitive games including working in teams and developing relay race approaches. 


  1. Drawing around the word to show the shape


Draw around the words making a clear distinction in size where there are ascenders and descenders. Look carefully at the shape of the word and the letters in each box. Pupils try to write the word making sure they get the same shape.


  1. Drawing an Image around the word


This strategy is all about making a word memorable. It links to meaning in order to try to make the spelling noticeable. This can’t be used as a main method of learning spellings, but it might work on those that are just a little more difficult to remember.


  1. Words without vowels


This strategy is useful where the vowel choices are the challenge in the words. Write the words without the vowels and pupils have to choose the correct grapheme to put in the space. For example, for the word field:   f----ld


  1. Pyramid words


This method of learning words forces you to think of each letter separately. You can then reverse the process so that you end up with a diamond.


Other methods can include:

• Rainbow writing. Using coloured pencils in different ways can help to make parts of words memorable. Pupils can highlight the tricky part s of the word or write the tricky part in a different colour. They can also write each letter in a different colour, or write the word in red, then overlay in orange, yellow and so on.

• Making up memorable ‘silly sentences’ containing the word

• Saying the word in a funny way – for example, pronouncing the ‘silent’ letters in a word

• Clapping and counting to identify the syllables in a word.



Children who need additional support


Not all children will progress at the same pace and some children will require additional support or bespoke teaching to meet their needs. Teachers are continually assessing children and will ensure the provision is accurate for the pupil. Personalised learning may take the form of:

  • Repeating phases 2, 3,4 and 5 of Letters and Sounds in Years 1, 2 or 3.
  • Attending additional planned interventions to consolidate gpc/ spelling patterns
  • Ensuring spellings are manageable to learn at home
  • Quality first teaching sessions to consolidate and reinforce particular spelling weaknesses