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Ways to Learn Spellings

February '21


Please take a look at all the methods you can use to help learn spellings, not just the first 3.

In our No Nonsense Spelling lesson on Wednesday 18th November (Home Learning section) 3 ways were given to help you learn your spellings.  There are other ways of learning your spellings, too.  Everyone learns differently, so try them all and find out which works best for you.  Here are the first 3 again:


Look; Say; Cover; Write; Check:

Often, the children learn how to spell via Look; Say; Cover; Write; Check,  Repeat until you can write the spelling without the need to look first.


Here are 2 more methods to help with muscle memory, so the spelling becomes automatic:

Trace, copy and replicate (and then check): 

Write the word out on a sheet of paper (using joined up handwriting), ensuring that it is spelt correctly and it is large enough to trace over. Trace over the word and say it at the same time. Move next to the word you have just written and write it out as you say it. Turn the page over and write the word as you say it, and then check that you have spelt it correctly.

If this is easy, do the same process for two different words at the same time. Once you have written all your words this way and feel confident, miss out the tracing and copying, or the tracing alone and just write the words.

Sky writing:

Once you have practiced the spelling a few times, imagine it is written in the air in front of you. Hold your arm out in front of you and using your finger trace over the word, large enough to move across the centre of your body.  You can close your eyes to 'see' the word if it helps.


Here are some more: :-)   Look at the bottom of the page for pictures showing them.


Segmentation strategy

Split the word into its constituent phonemes, in the correct order, to support spelling.



Writing the words linked to the teaching focus with speed and fluency. The aim is to write as many words as possible within a time constraint. Pupils can write words provided by the teacher or generate their own examples. For example, in two minutes write as many words as possible with the /iː/ phoneme. This can be turned into a variety of competitive games including working in teams and developing relay race approaches.


Drawing around the word to show the shape (see below)

Draw around the words making a clear distinction in size where there are ascenders and descenders.  Look carefully at the shape of the word and the letters in each box.  Now try to write the word making sure that you get the same shape.


Drawing pictures around the word (see below)

This strategy is all about making a word memorable.  It links to meaning in order to try to make the spelling noticeable.

You can’t use this method as your main method of learning spellings, but it might work on those that are just a little more difficult to remember.


Words without vowels (see below)

This strategy is useful where the vowel choices are the challenge in the words.  Get an adult to write the words without the vowels and then you have to choose the correct grapheme to put in the space.  See the example, for the word field:


Pyramid words (see below)

This method of learning words forces you to think of each letter separately.  You can then reverse the process so that you end up with a diamond.


Other strategies

Other methods can include:


  • Rainbow writing. Using coloured pencils in different ways can help to make parts of words memorable. You could highlight the tricky part s of the word or write the tricky part in a different colour. You could also write each letter in a different colour, or write the word in red, then overlay in orange, yellow and so on.
  • Making up memorable ‘silly sentences’ containing the word
  • Saying the word in a funny way – for example, pronouncing the ‘silent’ letters in a word
  • Clapping and counting to identify the syllables in a word.