StarSpell 3 Spelling Guide - A Route to Competent Spelling

This Guide aims to demystify how spelling is learned. It shows smart ways to help learners, both using StarSpell and with activities away from the computer. All the practice in the Guide is based on actual classroom experience

A Route to Competent Spelling

The journey to becoming a competent speller starts well before the learner can recognise letters, and continues through a number of specific stages en route to the goal of able independence.

This section tells that story, describing these stages in the sequence in which they typically develop.

Of course, learners coming to StarSpell may already be some way along their journey.

Let's consider ways and means of identifying a learner's starting point:

Finding your starting point: 1

One very straightforward way to identify where a new learner could usefully begin to work in StarSpell is to use the Find Your Level button, visible on the opening screen when in the StarSpell Lists section.

This opens to a display of boxes, each showing a cluster of words relating to a section of the StarSpell Lists. A click takes you there, allowing learners to try out one or two of the lists in that section to establish whether they need more practice at that level, or are ready to begin work at the next level up.

Finding your starting point: 2

There is a second way to way to identify where a new learner could usefully begin to work in StarSpell: use The Spelling Route.

The Spelling Route charts the journey to becoming a competent speller, stage by stage.

It identifies six stages on the route:

1. Discovering Words

2. Preparing for Phonics

3. Early Phonics

4. Further Phonics

5. Beyond Phonics

6. Near-Correct

The Spelling Route describes for each stage not only the type of spelling learners can produce (what learners do when writing), but also what they understand about spelling (what learners know).

So, by observing the kind of spelling (or, for early work, spelling-related activities) that learners currently manage, you can identify the stage they are in.

Then, helpfully, the Spelling Route sets out what they need to work on, to move them on to the next stage (What learners need, in order to move on).

This Guide will fill out the detail of the work suggested by the Spelling Route.


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