Spelling lists

Please note that these lists reflect general Australian pronunciations. Click on one of these boxes to see words sorted…

 

 

 

 

 

Note that words can sometimes be segmented more than one way

  • e.g. buy = bu + y (with bu as in build, buoy) or b + uy (with uy as in guy)
  • waste = w + a + s + te (as in route, torte) or w + a…e + s + t (as in same, take).

My aim has been to have as few categories as possible. If you find something in this system that’s not as compact as it might be, please let me know.

10 thoughts on “Spelling lists

    1. alison Post author

      Hi Patricia, I think the main things to do are be aware of what spellings they know and don’t know, and then systematically work on a sound or spelling pattern at a time, working from short to long words, getting them to say every sound as they write the relevant letter/spelling, so that they have simultaneous sensory feedback from ears and mouth about the sound, and eyes and hand about the letters. They need to learn to habitually stretch out spoken words and listen to their own mouths as they say words, and segment them into sounds, and learn the various ways each sound can be spelt, including the funny/tricky spellings. I use a lot of sorting and lists, because once you have a good list of words with a shared spelling pattern you can eyeball it and see what kinds of words use that pattern, and where in the word it is used/what other spellings it goes with. Then with long words they need to develop a posh “spelling voice” which pronounces words as they are spelt, with stress on every syllable and for irregularly-spelt words, funny pronunciation e.g. “bus-i-ness” ie saying these words the way they are spelt. Hope that’s useful, Alison

      Reply
  1. Claire Duffy

    I have just found your site and it’s wonderful. I want to figure out an approach for a year 7 class. They come from varied backgrounds, and are not bad but not confident, I need something that is methodical and going to work ‘en bloc’. I realise it’s not ideal but there you are. Which of your three approaches to lists do you recommend ?

    Reply
    1. alison Post author

      Thanks for the nice feedback. My site needs a lot of work but I haven’t got a lot of time to do it! Hopefully I’ll get the main things done in the next school holidays. The first two of the three lists are intended for parents/teachers, to let them look up a sound and find all its spellings, or look up a spelling and find all its sounds. If you are looking for lists of lists to use as spelling lists or as the basis of spelling activities like wordsearches, worksheets or crosswords, try the third set of lists, as they are arranged in order from short to long words and from simpler to more complex spellings (though what is more complex than what is a bit arguable). They aren’t a spelling program though, involving a variety of activities. But I guess if you have the target words you can always find/make activities.

      Reply
  2. chris.guy432

    Hi Alison – A teacher was asking about the word negotiate? Is the letter t representing the /sh/ sound. We know many words have ti for /sh/ but in this word we hear the letter i representing /ee/. Wondering if you can shed any light?

    Reply
  3. Amanda Parsons

    Hello! A question re adding the suffix ‘es’ to pluralise words ending in ‘o’ such as ‘echo/echoes’ and ‘hero/heroes’. Is the long vowel sound in the plural form of these words, made from just the ‘o’ or does it change to coming from the ‘oe’? Likewise, when suffixes are added to words containing split diagraphs e.g. ‘dispose/’disposable’ and ‘code/coding’, does the long vowel sound remain from the split digraph in the base word, or does it change to just the ‘o’? I’m thinking the long vowel sound remains linked to the base word, but is this correct? Help!!!

    Reply
    1. alison Post author

      Hi Amanda, I’ve been trying to grapple with this issue myself, and my best answer to it so far is that words have several layers. They have a phonological layer and a morphological layer, and these often both appear in the orthographic layer. So in ‘echo’, you could say that the o changes to oe in the suffixed form (which makes sense at a phonological level) or you could say that the o stays the same and the suffix is “es” (which makes more sense at a morphological level). The same for split digraphs like in dispose/disposable, actually linguists would probably say the stem is “dispos” as that’s what doesn’t change, and we signal the vowel sound with an “e” in the base form and drop it before adding vowel suffixes. I used to be fairly focussed on the phonological level as my clients were mostly real strugglers who weren’t yet dealing with long words, but now I work with a lot more older kids who need to learn about word parts, and am more inclined to tell kids about all the relevant layers. Learning about the sound-letter relationships and also the meaningful word parts, and how these affect a word’s spelling, is all good grist to the remembering-the-spellings mill. Hope that makes sense! All the best, Alison

      Reply

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