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First Year Teacher Program



Teacher Toolbox


 1.  Print awareness
 2.  The sounds of speech
 3.  Phonemic awareness
 4.  Phonics
 5.  Informal classroom-based assessment
 6.  Fluency
 7.  Vocabulary
 8.  Spelling
 9.  Writing
 10.  Text comprehension

Diary of a First Year Teacher

Module 8  –  Spelling

  |   Pre-test  |  Intro  |  In depth  |  In practice  |  Assignments  |  Post-test  |  

In practice

Video Clip

Spelling Patterns

The Johnson School in Charlottesville, VA, has its own homegrown reading program called RISE (Reading Initiative for Student Excellence).

What should be included in a spelling program?

A spelling program at one grade level has many components, some of the main components that each grade level should introduce are highlighted below.

Beginning in the middle of first grade through third grade, students should be taught letter-sound associations such as:

Second through third graders should be introduced to plurals and past tense, and patterns or rules including:

A teacher's instruction should also include activities in homophones (sea/see), contractions (can not; can't) and compounds (two words that when combined have a different meaning than when they are separate, e.g. cup and cake become cupcake).

How can teachers enhance spelling development in their classroom?

An awareness of spelling development can help teachers plan instruction. For precommunicative and semiphonetic spellers, teachers may teach alphabet knowledge, letter-sound correspondences, the concept of "wordness," and left-to-right directionality. At the phonetic stage, students might be introduced, in the context of writing, to word families, spelling patterns, phonics, and word structures.

Teachers can encourage purposeful writing, such as the writing of messages, lists, plans, signs, letters, stories, songs, and poems.

Teachers can also provide opportunities for frequent writing, which, when integrated with all aspects of the curriculum, should be a natural part of the daily classroom routine. Frequent application of spelling knowledge by students while writing encourages spelling competency.

Teachers can also make use of instructional games since children acquire language, in large part, from their alertness to language around them.

Spelling instruction should be FUN!

Instruction should be clear, but it doesn't have to be dull! Students can become word-pattern detectives, hunting for samples of words and looking for clues to help form their understanding of spelling rules. They can develop knowledge through word sorts and spelling games. The mastering of spelling rules and patterns through fun activities can make learning enjoyable for all!

Excerpted from: Lutz, E. (1986). Invented Spelling and Spelling Development. ERIC Digest. Eric Clearinghouse on Reading and Communication Skills

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First Year Teacher was a pilot project of Reading Rockets, which is service of WETA, Washington D.C.'s flagship public television station. Funding for First Year Teacher was provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs; The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; and The Overbrook Foundation.

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