At some point during the week parents of children in years 1-4 of primary school will be experiencing the stress of “The weekly spelling test”.
It’s quite common for students of all ages to struggle retaining spellings. I’m aware that the school curriculum requires students to be able to read and spell high frequency words and those related to the key stages. However I despair every time a parent asks, “How can I get my child to recall these 10 words for this week’s spelling test?” To find the sounds taught in year 1-4 click here.
If a child who is struggling spends endless hours feeling stressed and anxious, sitting at the dinner table learning the words by rote or parrot fashion and using the ‘look, say, cover’ techniques etc, as most parents will know, they will often come away from school anxious and upset, when they haven’t gained the result which reflects the amount of time and commitment they have put in to the study.
Personally I disagree with forcing, students who are struggling, to be put through this weekly challenge. Asking a child who is struggling to recall these 10 words it comparative to asking them to draw a picture of the word each week. They are simply being taught how to recall what the word looks like, not how to spell the word and understand how to build the words up. Using CodeBreakers®, I try to explain it as not knowing the component parts of the word. A word such as ‘rain’ may well be recalled as it’s a high frequency word. The student has probably read and seen it lots of times. However ask the student to spell ‘complain’ and the likelihood of them acknowledging and understanding that ‘ai’ says LV /a/ is poor. Add to this the skill/knowledge to be able isolate that sound and transfer the letters into another less familiar word are slim. It’s even less likely the student will know that ‘ai’ will be a pattern choice for spelling LV /a/ mid word.
For this reason, this is why I advocate learning through synthetic phonics. Yes having a spelling ‘test’ but use family words. Teach the LV /a/ (long vowel) sound but focus only on words which include ‘ai’ for that week. Only use letter combinations which the student has been exposed to so far. Make it a cumulative and structured approach.
This way you will build success and a happy and confident student who doesn’t dread the weekly spelling test!
CodeBreakers® works purely on this system of structure, cumulative and synthetic phonics system and has been successful in showing students how to decode and encode words for spelling and reading. Delivering this system in a fun and multi-sensory way, with lots of opportunity for over learning in different bite-sized formats, ensures the information sticks!
Students who use CodeBreakers® have a spelling ‘test’ at the end of every sound. It provides an opportunity to evaluate if they have understood what has been taught and for them to demonstrate their knowledge.
CodeBreakers® can be used at home or is available as a School Edition, to learn more visit