Spelling builds upon the phonics which children are taught in KS1. From year 2-6 children at St. John's learn to develop their spelling skills using the Read, Write, Inc. Spelling scheme.
Children focus on one spelling pattern, or rule, for a number of sessions and develop their confidence and understanding of the words along the way. Each unit follows the same pattern, allowing the children to focus solely on learning and understanding the spellings rather than learn how to do new activities.
They will not bring home a generic list of spellings to learn each week for a spelling test as research has shown this in not an effective way to embed spelling knowledge. Instead, they will identify their own words to log and learn weekly and have opportunities to test their growing spelling abilities in every lesson.
How are children assessed?
Half-termly practice tests assess children’s spelling progress using the same format as the statutory assessments in England. Online tracking spreadsheets enable us to record and track individual children’s progress and identify units or concepts pupils might need to be retaught.
During the teaching activities each week, a number of assessment opportunities are also planned into the programme. The emphasis is on the importance of learning to spell, rather than being tested on spelling.
Statutory Spelling Lists
The children are taught the words from the statutory list from the National Curriculum. These are called orange words in RWI Spelling. The word-lists for years 3 and 4 and years 5 and 6 are a mixture of words pupils frequently use in their writing and those which they often misspell. Some of the listed words may be thought of as quite challenging, but the 100 words in each list can easily be taught within the four years of key stage 2 alongside other words that teachers consider appropriate.
These activities include dictation, ‘four-in-a-row’ (working with a partner to spell four given words correctly in a row) and ‘dots and dashes’ (identifying the graphemes in words).They also include exercises such as Team Teach, where children test their spelling in small groups; Red and Orange words, which involves revising high-frequency words from the statutory word-lists that are often misspelt; and Special Focus sessions, which tackle topics such as homophones and contractions, which often lead to confusion.