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:

Spelfabet is also on Facebook, and in the process of getting onto Twitter.

6 thoughts on “

  1. peterpan

    What is your view on writing?

    Should a child be taught just print – as they do in a couple of US states, or learn to do half cursive or full cursive?

    My personal view is that a child should be doing full cursive, as this helps a child to develop is written and spelling skills. As for semi cursive only adds another layer of confusion to the English system.

  2. alisonalison Post author

    Hi Peter, I thought I had replied to your message but internet gremlins seem to have eaten it. I am not a handwriting expert, I tend to just work with whatever font the student is being taught. Children are exposed to lots of different fonts in books, and given that my students tend to be a long way behind their peers, my focus is ensuring that their letters are recognisable and readable, and their letter "p" doesn't look like an "r", their letter "r" like a "v" and their letter "n" like an "m", as sometimes happens when children are learning cursive. If nobody has a strong preference I prefer to work with print rather than cursive, because that really focusses their attention on the core business of each letter. All the best, Alison

    1. Mary

      I agree Alison. Using print when the learners are confused with what is a sound also helps. It is much easier to identify the smallest unit of sound in print. Often their handwriting is also very messy as you pointed out.

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