Instruction at all levels is strengthened by systematic and explicit introduction of English sounds as well as the symbols representing them. Written symbols are introduced systematically, starting with simple words containing foundation code only and systematically moving to more complex code/mapping as well as multi-syllable words.
Sound symbols/spelling patterns are taught according to their frequent appearance as well as their position in English words and are hence categorized as –
Common spellings – spelling patterns that occur regularly and frequently in English words categorized according to their sound position in words
spelling patterns in the middle of words/chunks
spelling patterns at the end of words
spelling patterns at the end of a chunk
Rare spellings in high frequency words – some sounds are mapped to print in unusual ways, hence the name ‘rare/uncommon spellings’. These words are not considered ‘undecodable’ but are rather taught according to sound/symbol mapping even if the mapping is unapparent. These rare spellings usually appear in no more than 2- 8 words in English. Learners master these rare/uncommon spellings by introducing them systematically during the Junior Primary years. The following 3 steps enable learners to successfully master these spellings
- Presenting a list of words to learners which are grade appropriate. For example the long ‘a’ spelled ‘eigh’:
- Grade 1: weigh, eight
- Grade 2: Revise weigh and eight. Add neigh and sleigh.
- Grade 3: Revise weigh, eight, neigh and sleigh. Add neighbour and freight.
2. Creating a sentence containing all words. For example
- Grade 1: I weigh the eight horses.
- Grade 2: The eight horses on the sleigh started to neigh because they had to be weighed.
- Grade 3: The eight horses on the freight train started to neigh when the neighbour weighed them on her sleigh.
3. Drawing a picture of the sentence and displaying it in the classroom as an anchor chart.