Beginning and struggling readers and spellers need to learn how to pull words apart into sounds, and represent them with letters/spellings, and blend sounds together into words.

The sounds part of this task (phonemic awareness) is difficult for many, and English spelling is famously complex. This website aims to help you teach beginners and strugglers about sounds and spellings using explicit, systematic synthetic phonics, giving them a solid foundation on which to build their fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and written expression.

The Spelfabet materials were designed by an Australian Speech Pathologist for non-experts to use to teach struggling spellers/readers, including students with speech-language and cognitive difficulties, to sound out words. They're carefully-sequenced, easy-to-use, affordable, downloadable and reproducible, and should be used with decodable books.

This site includes resource lists to help you find good resources for teaching encoding and decoding skills, many of which also target vocabulary, fluency and comprehension, plus:

Spelfabet is also on Facebook, and 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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