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Phonics Instruction for Spelling


ELA: Writing ELA: ^Other Elementary School Strategy


Auditory Processing Working Memory Verbal Memory Processing Speed Visual Memory

Phonics Instruction for Spelling

If your student is struggling with spelling and doesn't have a verbal learning disability such as dyslexia

Teach It!

  1. Objective: Phonemic awareness instruction will help early elementary school students show improvements in spelling. (Note, however, that research shows phonemic awareness instruction might not help students with verbal learning disabilities show improvements in spelling.)
  2. Teacher Takeaways: While phonemic awareness instruction, or the teaching of the approximately 41 sound units, or phonemes, in the English language, is essential for reading fluency, phonemic awareness instruction also improves spelling for students without verbal learning disabilities. Teachers can determine who would benefit the most by assessing each student on the six phonemic awareness skills: isolation, identity, categorization, blending, segmentation and deletion.
  3. Direct Instruction: Provide focused and explicit instruction in no more than one or two phonemic awareness skills at a time, appropriate to the age and need. Blending and segmentation will help spelling skills the most. Be sure understand students understand the goal of improved spelling, not for phonemic awareness alone. Teaching is most effective in small groups (two to seven students), rather than individual or whole classroom. Structured phonemic awareness programs typically require 5-18 hours with an average session time of 25 minutes.
  4. Considerations: Students with verbal learning disabilities, including dyslexia, are less likely to show improvements in spelling, though they will in reading. Keep outcomes in mind in determining groupings and setting expectations.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

While phonemic awareness is a core skill for reading fluency, the National Reading Panel 2000 suggests it also helps most students improve their spelling, provided that the student does not have a verbal learning disability. Phonemic awareness instruction can begin as early as kindergarten, and blending and segmenting will be most helpful in improving spelling.