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Year 1 writing and spelling

(26 Posts)
Sleepymumma Sun 25-Sep-16 16:41:50

My DS has just started in year 1. I'm staggered at the amount of homework he has to do! We've spent an hour today ploughing through it all.
The two things he's struggling with it his handwriting and spelling. At times his handwriting is illegible and his spelling hasn't been great.
Has anyone got any tips how I can help him with both? Part of it is that he loses concentration really easily and would much rather be out playing football than doing his homework (can't say I blame him really!)
I try to do it in bite size chunks normally, and follow his lead when it comes to how much we do.

FrancesHaHa Sun 25-Sep-16 16:47:11

Sounds like too much homework to me.
Just had the first homework of the year here - 5 sentences to write and a few number lines.
Dd's spelling and handwriting isn't that great either, but that seems normal to a lot of the rest of the class, and they will get plenty of practice at school.

Sleepymumma Sun 25-Sep-16 16:57:19

I did wonder if we were doing too much. The school has requested we do the following:

Have him read to us every night
He has 10 spellings every week he is tested on every Friday
He gets a maths game to do every week
100 high frequency word spellings he'll be tested on at the end of term
Maths homework
Spelling and grammar homework too

It's impossible to fit it all in as well as his swimming and football lessons and him actually having a childhood and some fun!

FrancesHaHa Sun 25-Sep-16 17:25:08

Personally I find it totally wrong that 5 year olds are having spelling tests, but it seems that's the way things are going. There's children in Dd's class who can't read or write anything much yet, so also seems unfair.

Here school have asked:
-Read every night - tends to be more like every other here ie when she gets her new book (3 times a week). She's usually really tired once been to after school club
-5 words a week to practice in a sentence. No mention yet of spelling test, but no doubt soon to come
-1page maths worksheet.
We tend to do everything but the reading on the weekend, in the morning. If she doesn't want to do it, I don't make her.

Like you, I want her to have more time having fun!

BertPuttocks Sun 25-Sep-16 17:35:16

That sounds like a lot for Yr1.

So far DD has had:

- Reading books (preferably to read each day)
- A project that they get 6 weeks to do. (A choice of activities that can be adapted according to what each child is able to do).

We've been told that they will eventually have spelling tests but nothing yet.

Sleepymumma Sun 25-Sep-16 17:37:15

He has a maths test every Friday too!

I'm not going to stress about it. I just will do what we can.

Doing the spellings today was just really stressful as I couldn't think of ways to help him learn them. We've progressed from 4 letter simple words to 6 and 7 letter words with 2 syllables and don't think the teacher has explained what a syllable is!!!

Sleepymumma Sun 25-Sep-16 17:38:26

A friend of mine who has taught year 1 couldn't believe the amount of work he is getting

zad716 Sun 25-Sep-16 21:07:06

DS had a pretty similar list last year when he was in year 1.

I admit we didn't have to spend too much time at home on it but we would go through (non-written) things like number bonds and spellings when we were out walking or travelling in the car.

junebirthdaygirl Sun 25-Sep-16 21:16:08

Don't really know how the years go age wise there but someone is mentioning age 5. Those spellings are mad. Here in lreland most children start school at 4/5. No spellings in the first year Following year from Christmas they do little cat fat stuff. 6 letter words are muchmuch later.
Could you use magnetic letters so he can put them out quicker and only spell as week goes on.
I'm trying to imagine the big long list in front of a little child to let before next June. Must seem very scary.

Rosti1981 Sun 25-Sep-16 21:22:47

Y1 homework here is nothing like that so far! A worksheet (just practicing writing a letter over and over again or doing a couple of maths puzzles), a sheet with "sound of the week on it" (to practice at home - nothing needs to go back to school). 3 reading books a week but encouraged to read aloud every night which we do anyway.

The worksheets etc take about 10 mins a week. Reading would take a minimum of about 5-10 mins three times a week using school books, but we do a lot more both reading to her and her reading to us (whatever she likes, not ORT apart from the school books).

maizieD Sun 25-Sep-16 21:50:50

Can you give an example of the 10 spellings sent home to learn each week?

It seems like far too much for a Y1 child but let's hope we can try to make it easier for him.

Having to 'learn' to spell 100 HFWs is mad, but let's not worry too much about them at the moment...

waterrat Mon 26-Sep-16 07:09:17

He should be out playing after school not learning spellings !!

hotdog74 Mon 26-Sep-16 07:18:41

My Year 1 DD has so far had a book sent home on Tuesdays and Fridays that she has already read at school. That's it. No spellings/ writing/ maths at all! There was some suggestion that we might eventually get the odd piece of homework to support the curriculum but nothing further. Not sure I would be able to cope with that much - a 5 year old cannot organise themselves!
It was the same in reception, and the book band she is on now is above what would be expected so doesn't seem to be making too much difference. Sounds a bit insane to me :-(

Sleepymumma Mon 26-Sep-16 09:05:34

Off the top of my head he's got the following words to learn...


That's all I can remember.

Oh and when he's writing them down he is supposed to do joined up writing 😩😩😩

Ginmummy1 Mon 26-Sep-16 10:04:12

DD is in Y1 and has been told that, after half term, one per week (on Wednesdays) they will get a reading book, comprehension, spellings for test and a maths game (fortnightly). So far all they’ve had is reading book and the 100 HFW with a general request for us to work through these with our children at an appropriate pace for the child (eg 5 at a time).

It seems surprising to me that all these schools are following the National Curriculum but doing things in such different ways. One friend gets loads of homework (like OPs) yet another school has stopped all homework in Primary, apart from reading. How can such different approaches achieve the same goals?

maizieD Mon 26-Sep-16 19:09:59


Apart from the fact that they are all two syllable words they look a bit random! Do you have any idea how he has been taught to 'learn' spellings?

TheChippendenSpook Mon 26-Sep-16 19:16:11

My year one child has reading every day and a worksheet to do once a week. He has spellings to learn. Today he had his spelling test and his words were : could, all, will, don't and old.

This week he has to learn: could (he couldn't write it today), into, too, as and back. It's crazy!

bangingmyheadoffabrickwall Mon 26-Sep-16 20:51:12

I teach Y1. Our school dictates that children read at least 3 times a week and do ONE PIECE of homework that takes no more than 15 minutes. We alternate it between SPAG, phonics, math and handwriting - never writing a text in the form of a story or informative text.
We have given the 100 HFWs as a means to inform parents of the words they should be able to read and write by the END of Y1 and we don't expect them to know them by the end of the term so I don't see the point in testing them termly. Surely it would be best to give 33 words and say spread these over the next 14-15 weeks ready for a quick quiz at the end!

But the Y1 curriculum is FULL of spelling objectives. It is by far, the most I have ever seen required at aged 5/6 and without being able to do this (amongst other things) children cannot be deemed as 'performing or achieving age-related expectations'. It is what it is unfortunately.

Sleepymumma Tue 27-Sep-16 08:09:11

No maizied, the info coming out of the school is vague. For instance with his spelling and grammar and maths homework books we were just told which pages to complete, not when they needed to be done by.

Sleepymumma Tue 27-Sep-16 08:10:50

With regard to the 100hfw he's got to learn these by Christmas, then will get another 100 to learn by Easter then another 100 to learn by summer.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 27-Sep-16 09:26:13

If it's the HFW list from L&S it can probably be grouped to make it easier. And he can probably manage about 1/3 of them already.

About 1/3 of them are simple VC, CVC words - a, an, at, if, in, it, on, can, dad, had, get, big, him, not, got, up, mum, but. If you are in the north you can include 'put' with this set too.

Then I'd go with the words with ll, ff, ss, zz, ck at the end - off, back, will

Words with the spelling 's' for the sound /z/ - is, has, his,

Words with adjacent consonants - went, from, just help, and,

Words with ch, sh, th, ng, wh - that, this, them, then, with, when

Words where the /o/ sound is spelt with an 'a' - what, was,

Most of that I'd expect most children to be able to do by the end of reception, but may be worth recapping especially is, as, his, was, want, and possibly when. Get him to sound them out when he's writing them down. It will help secure it in his memory.

Then most of the rest can be grouped by sound, looking at the different spellings each sound can make e.g.

/ai/ - they, make, made, day, came
/ee/ - see, he, me, she, we, be, people,
/igh/ - I, time, my, like, I'm,

TBH giving out words by where they exist on the 300 HFW lists is a bloody stupid idea if that's what they're doing. There are things like 'hot' and 'sun' that are going to appear on the third list and can be spelt by most YrR children in their 1st term and things that are best taught together e.g. was, what, want/as, is, has, his/have, live, give will appear split across lists.

And almost all of it would fit into their phase 5 phonics teaching so could be part of the lists they are probably sending home anyway. Grrrr. Why make things harder than they need to be.

APlaceOnTheCouch Tue 27-Sep-16 09:37:01

For the handwriting, you can get pencils that help with grip:

handwriting pencils

I also bought 'fun' handwriting practice books for DS. There's quite a big range eg Star Wars; cartoon characters; dinosaurs.

Check how your DS is forming his letters. My DS started to get into bad habits at school because his teacher said it was fine as long as the letters 'looked' ok. But, actually if they're using the wrong strokes (eg starting in the wrong place) it makes it much more difficult when they are supposed to do joined-up writing.

MagikarpetRide Tue 27-Sep-16 18:11:39

Just came on to ask a similar question!

Dd gets:
3 reading books
1 writing homework
1 maths homework
1 other homework
Spellings (5 more everytime she's tested and gets all the previous right)

We are only a few weeks in and I feel like going on homework strike. We struggle to find the time to do it and I really feel like it's negatively impacting mine and dd's already tough relationship because it's always me having to force her.

She's refused to engage with a spelling test at school too so she's not got new spellings this week, but is upset because other kids have them. She can do all of them perfectly so I'm at a loss as to what to do tbh.

RatOnnaStick Tue 27-Sep-16 18:15:33

Goodness! DS gets reading every night and one homework task a week. Last week it was to make an aerial plan of a house with a key and the week before it was a texture hand. Nothing involving lists of spellings or writing loads or anything else.

maizieD Tue 27-Sep-16 20:53:32


Okay, so this is how I would suggest he 'learns' words like these.
First, take out 'windmill' and 'sunset'. They are (or should be) easy, each being made up of two words with straightforward spellings. Just check if he can see for himself that they are two words joined togethr and that he can spell each of the component words.

For the others, see if he can break them into syllables. Basically spelling is a matter of breaking a word into its sounds and spelling each sound. With multi syllable words it's best to break them into syllables and then work on spelling the sounds in each syllable. If the word has two consonants together in the middle spelling one sound (like in 'carrot) break them after the first vowel sound. So, for carrot the syllables would be ca rrot. This isn't conventional syllabification but we really don't have to worry about that at the moment. Once he's got the syllables he then identifies the sounds in the syllable and spells each sound. The tricky bit is remembering how some of the sounds are spelled. In 'carrot' it's remembering that the /r/ sound is spelled 'rr', the rest of the word is strightforward.

So, the drill would be:

Lookat/read the word and note any tricky sound spellings
Break the word verbally into syllables
Cover the word
Spell each sound in the first syllable, then each sound in the second syllable, saying each sound as you spell it. (this is important as it helps to secure the sound and 'feel' of the word in memory).
Sound out and blend exactly what you have written to make sure all the sounds have been spelled and that the word 'sounds' correct.
Uncover the word and check that all the sound spellings are right.

Ideally practise writing the word while saying the sounds several times (without looking at the original) to help secure it in memory.

Spelling words one syllable at a time breaks the learning into manageable chunks and makes them less daunting.

For words like 'shelter' where the two consonants in the middle spell two sounds split it after the first consonant; 'shelter' splits as 'shel ter'.

This looks more complex than it really is in practice! Working with sounds and sound spellings is always easier than trying to remember the order in which letters come in a word.

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