To create a successful piece of writing, using the correct grammatical structures and punctuation is essential. Students and staff are expected to have high expectation with regards to correct spelling, punctuation and grammar in all lessons. We are passionate about enabling students to write with flair and creativity, judiciously choosing from a bank of unrestricted vocabulary, free from spelling and grammatical restraints.
It is widely assumed that the primary role of letters in English is to represent sounds, and the many ‘exception’ words’ are generally taken to reflect a poorly designed spelling system. In fact, the English spelling system is designed to encode both pronunciation and meaning of words, and as a consequence, English word spellings are constrained by phonology, morphology and etymology.
- J.Bowers and P.Bowers
Why is Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar so important?
This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.
- Gary Provost
At Ashton Community Science College, we firmly believe that good spelling is essential in order for children to communicate effectively, not only in all areas of the curriculum, but also in their everyday lives. We particularly want the children to develop a love of language and the confidence to spell more challenging and ambitious words. In allowing them opportunities to develop a rich and exciting vocabulary, we are enabling them to become effective communicators.
Children in KS3 are taught in a way that builds upon the various spelling initiatives adopted by our local feeder primary schools, such as the ‘Shakespeare and More’ spelling scheme. Developing their knowledge of phonics and spelling rules, students are guided with key spelling strategies to learn the accurate spelling of high frequency words.
As a school, we aim to adopt a consistent approach to the teaching of spelling. In doing so, we aim to:
Taken from the National Curriculum, students have been provided with spelling lists tailored to the wide range of subjects and material that they are exposed to.
These high-frequency words have been grouped into subject related categories in order for us to promote a love of literacy, not only in students’ English lessons, but across the curriculum. In doing so, we are able to teach spellings using an investigative and collaborative approach, focusing on spelling patterns, prefixes and suffixes, as well as knowledge of word origin and root words.
Students are regularly challenged to make connections from these words to the material being taught in their lessons. In line with our view that accurate spelling is the responsibility of all, students will be given weekly subject related homework tasks that build upon the spelling strategies set out below.
We believe these homework challenges will better prepare students for the communicative world that awaits them after their journey with our school family.
Students in Year 7 first complete the Blackwell’s baseline spelling test to determine their spelling age. This is then used to help inform both the appropriate skills needed to develop their reading ability and the choice of reading book used in their accelerated reader sessions.
Accompanying their reading book, students will be provided with home learning vocabulary and spelling sheets for fortnightly learning. These will come in the form of a Spelling Passport in which students will complete a series of homework tasks to help them memorise the appropriate rule and root word for each spelling. They are set weekly quizzes to ensure that this knowledge is being embedded into their everyday lives.
They are encouraged to take inspiration from their current learning, in each subject, in order to relate the spellings to material that is meaningful and relevant to them.
Phonics and the correspondence of letters and sounds underpins all learning of spelling in school. There are other strategies which the children are encouraged to use and which might be useful if you are helping your children at home. These include: -
• Look, say, cover, write, check
• Identifying syllables in words
• Drawing symbols or images to represent the word or spelling rule
• Using root words/word families e.g. smile, smiling, smiled
• Looking for words within words e.g. ear within hear
• Using words already known to spell new words e.g. would, should, could
• Mnemonics e.g. big elephants can always upset small elephants=because
• Learning different spelling rules (e.g. cross out the y and add ies for plurals)
• Linking handwriting and spelling-muscle memory