*Exciting changes to our school-wide spelling approach*

At St Joseph’s Fairfield, we are in the process of designing and implementing a comprehensive, school-wide approach to spelling. Spelling will be taught explicitly in a systematic and structured way across the whole school.

At the moment, staff are having professional development with the team at “Learning Matters” to increase our knowledge of the most effective methods for teaching spelling. While we are in this transition phase of further professional learning, you will notice a few changes to the way students will learn to spell. One change is that we will no longer be sending spelling lists home to be learned for weekly testing. Research shows this is largely ineffective for learning to spell, compared to explicit, systematic teaching.

We will keep you up to date with our developing programme, and later in the year we will hold a whanau meeting to more fully explain our approach.

So, what can you do at home? If you wish to support your child with learning to spell, parents should focus on the ‘irregular’ words and high frequency or ‘sight words’. These are often words that don’t follow phonology, so they can’t be spelled by ‘sounding them out. They have to be learned by committing them to memory. We have lists of these irregular and high-frequency words above. It is important to remember that children all learn at different rates and that your child should first be able to read the words, then learn to spell them. We recommend doing only a few words at a time – there are 2 pages above of tips for parents about how to make learning these words fun, not by testing them!