Pooh said to Piglet: “Its all right Piglet. Spelling is easy once you get started.”
Piglet nodded, “Getting started is the worst bit.”
From The House at Pooh Corner by AA Milne
We only have 26 letters in our alphabet .
How are we going to spell 40+ phonemes with only 26 letters? This, in a nutshell, is the problem of English spelling
Phoneme ----- The smallest unit of sound in a word
Grapheme ---- A letter or sequence of letters that
represents a phoneme.
So, in the word string there are a total of 5 phonemes
s t r i ng
In order to spell, children need to be able to segment a word into its component phonemes and choose a grapheme to represent each phoneme!
Digraph ----- Two letters that make up one phoneme
A consonant digraph contains two consonants.
sh ck th ll
A vowel digraph contains at least one vowel
ai ee ar oy
Trigraph ----- Three letters that make up one phoneme
Split digraph ----- A digraph in which the letters are not adjacent (no longer called "magic e")
The table below shows the complex code which children have to learn in order to read and spell.
|ai||ai, ay, a-e, eigh, ey, ei||rain, day, gate, eight, they, weight|
|ar||ar, a||farm, father|
|igh||igh, ie, y, I-e, I||night, tie, my, like, find|
|ee||ee, ea, y, ie, ey||seed, sea, funny, chief, key|
|oa||oa, ow, oe, o-e||boat, low, toe, bone|
|or||al, our, augh, aw||talk, four, caught, law|
|oo||oo, ue, u-e, ew||boot, blue, rule, blew|
|(y)oo||ue, u-e, ew||statue, cube, few|
|oo||oul, u||could, push|
|ur||ear, or, ir, er||learn, work, firm, term|
|ear||ear, ere, eer||hear, here, beer|
|air||air, ere, ear, are||pair, there, pear, bare|
|oi||oi, oy||coin, boy|
|zh||s||treasure, vision, usual|
Fun ways to help your child to learn their weekly spelling lists
(or any other words they are finding tricky)
A PDF of these ideas can be downloaded at the bottom of this section.