Spelling for grown-ups 1: /s/ spelt C and /j/ spelt G

17 Replies

Hooray for recent media reports of a greater emphasis on phonics in the draft Australian National Curriculum.

I’m not a fan of some of the other proposed changes, but more and better teaching of phonics and word-building should prevent a great deal of reading/writing failure, especially among disadvantaged students.

Unfortunately, adults – including many teachers – tell me that they were never taught much about how our spelling system works. This makes it hard for them to teach it well.

I’ve therefore started making a series of what I hope are helpful 5-minute videos for adults about major spelling patterns. Here’s the first one:

Once teachers understand our spelling system, and aren’t hamstrung by unhelpful curriculum requirements, they’ll drop unhelpful spelling-teaching approaches like rote-memorisation of high frequency wordlists, silently writing the same word in many different colours, and other activities not focussed on linking a word’s sounds, spellings and meanings.

Teachers will be able to systematically, explicitly and authoritatively teach how speech sounds are represented by spellings, and how many long words are built from meaningful parts with special spellings. This will help many more children learn to spell and read successfully.


17 thoughts on “Spelling for grown-ups 1: /s/ spelt C and /j/ spelt G

  1. Alistair Forge

    Great stuff (from one of those teachers whose teaching would benefit from better knowledge in this area!)

    Allison for PM!

    1. alison Post author

      Hahahahahaha, thanks, Alistair! If every teacher was as interested in spelling as you, I’d probably be looking for a job, but not sure that’s the one! Alison

  2. Cathryn Bjarnesen

    Thank you so much! I was never taught these rules & only have begun to learn these rules as I teach…..

  3. Mary Bracy

    This is wonderful!!! Thank you so much for doing this!!! Where will we find these? On your website or on your YouTube channel? So grateful for all you do!

  4. Marnie

    So succinct and useful! These are the spelling tendencies that we teach in Reading Simplified when students are mostly through their initial code learning. I’m tagging this on Youtube for PD. Thank you!

    P.S. About half of the time, strangers read my last name “Ginsberg” as /jinsberg/. đŸ˜‰ Alas, if only the tendency were more reliable!

    1. alison Post author

      Yes, my friend Gemma is pronounced with a /g/ but at her dad’s funeral the celebrant kept saying Gemma with a /j/. Sigh. Thanks for the lovely feedback!

  5. Christine Welke

    Thank you once again for your insight to enable teachers to help their students understand how our spelling system works. I always appreciate your expertise. I use your sets of words constantly with my students. Thank you.

  6. Gail Artley

    I am a former (now well retired) teacher of children with disabilities. My greatest frustration was trying to ‘get’ my teacher aides to understand the difference between voiced and unvoiced letter sounds, so that they used them correctly with their students who had reading difficulties. Then when I went back to the children, they would be pronouncing unvoiced sounds as voiced again. Aaagh!

  7. Juliet Palethorpe

    Such a great initiative Alison!

    But the missing slash mark after the /s in the blogpost title is doing my pedantic head in!! X


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