An introduction to spelling
In both The Reading Book and The Writing Book, we promote using mini-lessons to teach students the skills they need for reading and writing. One of the important skills to focus on in a literacy programme is spelling.

The overview below is presented in The Writing Book (page 84). Once students have developed their foundation skills for literacy, including phonological awareness skills, they need to learn about phonics, analogy and morphology. In addition, fluent writers will benefit from learning common and useful spelling rules.



English spelling is complex, as words come from four main languages (German, French, Greek and Latin), so it is important to equip students with a range of encoding skills that will support them to spell words accurately. Learning about etymology helps create an excitement about word learning and supports students to understand word classes, spelling, and word origins.

Spelling rules
There are some useful spelling rules to introduce to students that will have an impact on their spelling accuracy. There are always exceptions to rules (approximately 20% of words) but they are still worth teaching, and finding exceptions can be a fun challenge for students. Usually, the exceptions will be due to the etymology of a word.

Useful spelling rule 1: When does the letter c make the phoneme (sound) /k/ and /s/?
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