Frequently Asked Questions

My son can’t remember the vowels.
Write the vowels on a strip of cardboard and keep it with the spelling book as a ready reference. Link each vowel to a key picture that begins with the sound (e.g., a-apple, e-egg, i-insect, o-orange, u-umbrella). Each letter can be made to look like this picture. (see Alphabet Sounds).

vowel strip

There are always a few words my daughter has difficulty remembering how to spell. How can I help her?
80% of material we learn is lost in the first 24 hours. However, the more times we practise this material the less this information is lost and the more deeply it is embedded in our long term memory. Therefore, the more opportunities you give your child to practise the word, the more likely it is to be retained in long term memory. Have your child practise the word several times during the day – on the way to school, while you’re cooking tea and just before bedtime. When you

PLEASE DO NOT ASK YOUR CHILD TO SPELL THE WORD (e.g. w-h-i-t-e). Instead, ask your child to tell you the sounds in the word and then to identify the letter(s) which represent each of those sounds and the key word/picture. Example: What are the sounds in ‘white’? (/w/, /ie/, /t/) What makes the /ie/ sound? (magic ‘e’ makes /i/ say /ie/). What is the picture? (kite). Are there any silent letters? (yes – h). Where does it go? (After the ‘w’).

What are the short vowels?
The short vowels are /a/ like in apple, /e/ like in egg, /i/ like in insect, /o/ like in orange and /u/ like in umbrella. The image below provides a strategy for helping students remember these sounds and the key words.
Short Vowel Sounds

We pronounce the word differently to how it is colour coded.
There are accent and regional variations in how particular words are pronounced. If you pronounce the word differently to how it has been coded, discuss this with your child and ask which letter(s) represent the sounds according to your pronunciation. For example, if you pronounce the word ‘dance’ as /d-ar-n-s/ not /d-a-n-s/, then ask your child, “What makes the /ar/ sound?”

How can I help my child learn and apply the different spelling rules?
The Rules Rule book contains all the spelling rules with each rule written on a card. These cards can be used in numerous ways to help your child learn the rules. The book also contains exercises using real and nonsense words to help your child apply the rules.

The Ender Bender cardgame is also a fun way to help your child learn and apply the spelling rules.

In addition, it is beneficial to ask your child to add different suffixes onto the spelling words currently being learned and in doing this discuss and apply the appropriate rules.

Why don’t you teach words with similar spelling patterns together (e.g., house, mouse, amount, sound)?
When students are taught words with similar spelling patterns at the same time they often just rely on remembering the pattern. This enables them to spell these words correctly in the weekly spelling test. However, it does not provide them with a strategy for remembering how to spell these words correctly outside the spelling test situation.