Strategies for spelling

Searchlights for Spelling By Chris Buckton and Pie Corbett

Cambridge University Press

Price: pound;4.95 (Pupil's Book) pound;12.95 (Teacher's Book) pound;15.95 (Copymasters) pound;32.95 (Big Books) pound;32.95 (Overhead Transparencies). A set for each year, from Years 2-6

The teacher's books give detailed instructions for each spelling focus, moving from whole-class to pupil activities, review and homework. The big books are the most impressive in the series.

The wipeable pages, for whole class and group work, can be written on by teachers and children. There is a good selection of activities, including use of stories, poems and rhymes, which help children understand how words work in context; and an emphasis on shared activities and discussion.

Oxford Spelling Kit

By Diana Bentley and Dee Reid Oxford University Press

Price: pound;21 (Teacher's Guide)

Pack of six pound;10 (My Spelling Log Book); pound;60 + VAT (Games Box) A set for each year, from Years 3-6

The clear teacher's books give instructions for moving from demonstration to paired work. Once again, the emphasis is on interactive work. There are also individual spelling log books for children, containing exercises linked to the lessons.

The most successful part of the kit will probably be the two boxes of board-games accompanying the books for Years 3 and 4. There are 24 game boards - linked to teaching objectives - in each box, as well as letter and word tiles, playing cards and a very clear instruction book. Busy teachers and teaching assistants will find that these are helpful tools for enjoyable group work on spelling.

Big Book Spelling

By Sue Palmer and Michaela Morgan Ginn amp; Company

Price: pound;29.50 (Big Book).

Years 3-6 pound;14.99 (Teacher's File). Easy Order Pack, pound;190.

Contains Big Book, Teacher's Files and BBC video packs for Years 3 and 4, and Years 5 and 6

This offers a clear, main spelling focus for each two-week period, with shorter follow-up sessions. There is a big book for each year, which uses poems, rhymes and stories as the basis for investigative, shared activities. Teachers will appreciate the detailed, well laid out notes; word banks, and highlighted areas for practice and revision. There is also a good deal of general advice, explanations for teachers, and dictations for checking progress. The books are linked to the BBC video series "Spelling with the Spellits".

Letts Framework Focus: Spelling

By Louis Fidge and Ray Barker

Letts Educational

Price: pound;5 (Pupil's Book)

For Years 7-9

Letts pupil books for Years 7-9 support the National Literacy Strategy in KS3. While lower key in production and traditional in format, the work books offer a range of activities that investigate key areas of spelling knowledge. Teachers would probably have to mediate some of the activities, particularly where pupils have difficulties with reading and spelling.

Online resources:

Starspell 2001

Uses "look-say-cover-write- check" approaches and gives feedback on correct and incorrect answers. Teachers like it because it has useful word lists that are linked to literacy hour spelling targets.



This site is very popular with teachers of children with dyslexia (best with Year 4 onwards). It is good fun, because the games are designed, to some extent, to resemble "real" computer games. On-Line: The Collaborative Learning Project

This project has some great spelling games that you can download for free to create your own games. You'll need Acrobat Reader (which you can easily get from the internet, free of charge) to do it.


Ambleside School: Look-Say-Cover-Write-Check

This is an online game from the award-winning Ambleside school website. The game's fairly basic, but it's free and fun, with a choice of word lists. As a minimum you'll need Macromedia Flash Player 4, which you can download for free from the internet. Olivia Sullivan

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