Beginning readers need to learn to recognise letters in written words, say the sounds they represent, then blend the sounds into spoken words. Beginning to spell is the reverse: pulling spoken words apart into sounds and writing the letters/spellings for each sound.
The sounds part of this task (phonemic awareness) is very difficult for many beginners, plus English spelling is famously complex. Many beginners can only get going if work is broken into tiny, carefully-sequenced steps, with long words and tricky spellings initially taken out. Sadly, this often doesn’t happen.
This website aims to help you teach beginners to read and spell words fast and well, so they don’t constantly struggle to get words on and off the page, and can focus on building their fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and written expression.
This site includes resource lists to make it easier for you to find high-quality resources, many of which are part of synthetic phonics programs.
The Spelfabet teaching materials were designed by an Australian Speech Pathologist for parents and education support staff to use to teach sounding out words to low-progress readers and spellers, including learners with language difficulties. They are carefully-sequenced, easy-to-use, affordable, downloadable and reproducible, and should be used with decodable books.
This website includes:
- Video tours of Spelfabet materials: workbooks, games, movable alphabet.
- Freebies: Download free workbook sample pages, picture books, spelling lookup booklet and/or a wordbuilding game.
- Spelling tests: Not sure where to start? Try these video spelling tests.
- Spelling lists: Find free, carefully sequenced spelling lists targeting one new spelling at a time, the many ways each English speech sound is spelt, and the main sounds represented by each spelling pattern.
- Blog: Reviews of resources and teaching strategies, plain English versions of professional/academic information, and the occasional rant or reflection on the way early literacy is taught.
- Consulting: Assessments and goal-setting and programming for struggling readers/spellers, and workshops for schools.