Archive | Spelling

Look Cover

The Problem with Look-Cover-Write as a Spelling Strategy

Look-Cover-Write (or for many students GUESS) is a spelling strategy commonly used to teach spelling. However, research recently published by Dymock and Nicholson (2017) showed that students who were taught spelling using a rule-based approach had greater transference to spelling new words compared to students who were taught using look-cover-write-check, and this was true for […]

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Do we say ‘t’ in witch?

I often have a discussion with people as to whether or not particular letters are pronounced in a word (e.g., the ‘t’ in witch). I have always argued that we only think we hear the ‘t’ because we know how the word is spelled.  So, for example, if I was to record you saying, “I […]

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Letter Sounds Matter

Which is more important – knowing the name of letters or knowing the sound of the letters? The importance of knowing letter names versus letter sounds in early literacy development has long been debated. Similarly, should we be teaching letter sounds first and then letter names or is the reverse order of more benefit, or […]

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ch or tch??

The rule for determining whether or not to add the ‘t’ before ‘ch’ is: Add ‘t’ before ‘ch’ after a short vowel. For example, the following words all have a short vowel immediately in front of ‘ch’ and therefore require the silent ‘t’ – catch, fetch, stitch, notch, hutch. In contrast the following words either […]

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Using Metalanguage to Teach Spelling

In English, spelling a word requires you to integrate orthography (the correct sequence of letters and combinations of letters) to phonology (sounds in the word) with a knowledge of morphology (word parts that signal meaning and grammar) (Garcia, Abbott, & Berninger, 2010). Metalanguage is language used to describe and analyse languages. Daffern (2011) argues that […]

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