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Spelling: It's a bit of a jumble out there

Understanding English Spelling By Masha Bell Pegasus Elliott Mackenzie Publishers Ltd pound;12.99

Manual for Testing and Teaching English Spelling By Claire and Juliet Jamieson Whurr Publishers pound;25

The trouble with developing an interest in the English spelling system is that it can trap you in your left brain, leaving you endlessly preoccupied with small sequential processing tasks.

As the author of numerous phonics and spelling courses, I have much personal experience of this particular obsession. Once, while writing some early reading resources, I'd been hunting for "oy" words and found disappointingly few: once you've done boy, coy, joy and toy, and a few odds and ends such as oyster and Rolls-Royce, they're thin on the ground.

Then I spotted one: sloyd. "But what does it mean?" asked my co-author, a well-balanced children's author. "I don't think you'll find it in the working vocabulary of many small children."

Read more in this week's TES reviews pages 3637.

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