How to spell a final ‘ee’

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I asked some teachers what kind of errors their students make and this answer grabbed my attention: Forgetting simple rules – e.g. /ee/ at the end of a word is ‘y’, etc. My first thought was that some students might know words like ‘agree’ or ‘tea’ or monkey’ but lack the language … Read More

two, to, too – and what we can do about them

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Did anyone else have a poster like this in their earliest school experience? I can still remember gazing at it in Mrs. Churchland’s grade 1 classroom but it took me well beyond grade 1 to master the difference between ‘to’ and ‘too’ and to spell ‘two’. Today there are a lot of … Read More

How to teach spelling

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There is a big gap between sending home spelling lists and teaching spelling, but taking the time to close that gap is worth it in so many ways, not least for those students who will otherwise go through life saying “I can’t spell”. This photo, used by permission, was posted on a … Read More

Spelling Game versus Spelling Challenge

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Do you play spelling games in your classroom? If yes, do you use Scrabble tiles or similar? If you’re trying to help your students create a consistent spelling strategy which also supports word reading, be cautious with spelling games. If you’re playing games with letters rather than graphemes, you’re unlikely to make … Read More

Syllables and Spelling

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When you hear ‘syllables’, do you think about how a word appears in a dictionary? Or split across the lines in a book? Or do you think of ‘6 types of syllables’? In That Reading Thing we usually go with the descriptive syllable method with a slight tweak in favour of suffixes … Read More

Spelling with a Dyslexic Adult

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I was working with a severely dyslexic 27-year-old whose huge sight vocabulary put him beyond That Reading Thing lessons for reading but not for spelling. He struggled with the idea of words as collections of sounds because he had spent years developing his own strategies for reading and spelling – often applying … Read More

Dictionary of the British English Spelling System

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If you love etymonline.com for exploring the history of words, here’s another rich resource, a dictionary of British English spelling (one dialect only) arranged by phonemes with their corresponding graphemes (for spelling) and graphemes with their corresponding phonemes (for reading). It’s not a lightweight book and, like etymonline, contains more information than … Read More

Adding the -ly suffix

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This is going to be a short post but it’s accompanied by a four page pdf to get you started. It’s another chance to stress three important things about teaching spelling. 1. You can avoid potentially confusing rules if you have consistent spelling conversations about syllables sounds graphemes endings suffixes 2. Don’t … Read More

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