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is spelling taught in Reception or not?

(105 Posts)
imaginaryfriend Mon 16-Jun-08 17:06:33

I've heard quite a few conflicting views on this and have been very much of the opinion that dd hasn't been taught spelling per se - she has been taught phonetic sounds and the letters to make them etc. But last week she came home and told me they'd learnt to spell 'all' 'are' and 'they'. She went on to say that they frequently do spellings in the class and the teacher 'tests' them on them. But we've never had anything home.

So ... is the idea that they should be able to phonetically correctly spell any word given to them by the end of Reception right or not? Or do they just learn and memorise words?

Sam100 Mon 16-Jun-08 17:21:34

Having just had 2 go thru reception my experience is that they do not stress spelling in reception and let children express themselves in whatever manner they can - usually phonetically. This changes in year 1 when they start to introduce the conventional spelling of the key reception and year 1 words. Our dd (in year 1) has a spelling test every week and they have to learn about 5-6 words each week.

When they are learning their key words in reception e.g. cat, dog, you, he, she etc the teacher will be showing them the word on a big card and pointing at the formation of the word e.g. c-a-t says cat. They also get told how to say and spell tricky words like are, all, they that you cannot sound out phonetically.

Hope that helps a bit - only know some of this cos went in to help for an afternoon and got to see what they were up to. Was quite enlightening!

Hulababy Mon 16-Jun-08 17:25:48

DD didn't have any spelling tests/lists in Reception last year. They started doing short 6-10 word spelling test in Y1. Those who found that level difficult, do less spellings each week.

They did have a word book (still do) at school for independent writing sessions though. If they are unsure how to spell a word they write their version of it on the correct alphabet page of their word book and take it to the teacher. The teacher will then correct it for them in that, and explain the formation briefly to them. I do similar when DD is doing independent written homework at weekends.

The teachers also correct incorrect spellings in their work books.

mrz Mon 16-Jun-08 18:11:07

Most words can be built up using phonics once the basic sounds are taught but words like all, was, said are considered "tricky" in reception and taught separately by pointing out the "tricky" part all the words can be sounded out once you know the rules they are following.

slalomsuki Mon 16-Jun-08 18:17:25

This weeks reception words include

plant, spent, sent, stop and nest amongst others. We have 10 per week and a test on Monday and have had since Christmas

MummyDoIt Mon 16-Jun-08 18:19:19

DS1 has had spellings to learn and has weekly spelling tests. By the end of the year, they are expected to know how to spell the 44 (I think) Reception keywords. We have to help them learn their spellings as part of their homework.

msappropriate Mon 16-Jun-08 18:22:04

Mosty receptions do not do spelling tests. They are taught to recognise and read key words (not the 44 , they have been updated) not spell them.

seeker Mon 16-Jun-08 18:25:17

There is a lot of evidence (and my own dd is a case study for this) that spelling tests are a completely ineffective way of learning spelling. Children can learn the word for the test, but not be able to use it in writing . My dd always got 10/10 for spelling tests, but her written work was - and is -always full of spelling mistakes!

I am horrified at the thougth of spelling tests for reception children anyway!

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 16-Jun-08 18:29:23

Message withdrawn

msappropriate Mon 16-Jun-08 18:33:04

I wonder if it more of a private school thing. I have taught in many receptions in the state sector, including some quite poncy ones and have never come across it. My ds takes so long to write a few letter am sure he would take all morning to write 10 words in a spelling test.

MingMingtheWonderPet Mon 16-Jun-08 18:40:28

Our school does not have spelling tests in Foundation or KS1 for the very reasons that seeker mentions (ie - children learn them for the test, but do not necessarily know them later).
Seems to be working as DS is pretty good at spelling and appears to know what he should know at his age.

Lucycat Mon 16-Jun-08 18:45:57

My dd (just 5) has spelling tests hmm we(the parents) are not happy,and despite voicing our concerns we have got nowhere - she gets about 5/10 and tbh I couldn't care less and fortunately neither does she.

bonkers I tell ee

mrz Mon 16-Jun-08 18:55:10

The new guidance says they should be taught to read and spell the "tricky" words in each phase. No words in Phase 1 in Phase 2 ~ I, no, go, to, into, the Phase 3 ~ was, my, you, her, they, all, are, he, she, me, we, be, Phase 4 words (read only in reception & spell in Y1) said, so, do, have, like, some, come, were, there, little, one

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 16-Jun-08 18:59:51

Message withdrawn

Sanctuary Mon 16-Jun-08 19:03:30

DD is in reception
They have been doing the alphabet and their sounds plus learning words that sound out
Cat mat bed fed etc etc
We have about 45 key words that she has to know by sight
They start spelling tests in year 1

mrz Mon 16-Jun-08 19:18:53

It worries me that so many schools are still teaching the 45 key words 18 months after the DSCF scrapped them shock

Hulababy Mon 16-Jun-08 19:28:28

msappropriate - DD's is a private school. No speling tests/lists to learn until Y1. No homework bar reading till Y1 either.

It does make me feel quite sad that reception children are having spelling tests TBH. Some, even at this stage, are still only just getting to grips with reading, let alone spelling words.

Hulababy Mon 16-Jun-08 19:29:38

Also agree that spelling tests appear to make no difference to how well a hild actually spells when writing independently.

coppertop Mon 16-Jun-08 19:32:49

Ds2 comes home with words that he's written and says that he's had a spelling test. He doesn't bring anything home to learn though. Most of them seem to be grouped by particular sounds but sometimes he has the trickier ones too. He doesn't seem all that bothered by them tbh.

MummyDoIt Mon 16-Jun-08 20:12:33

DS1 gets five spellings a week, not ten. He also has to write a sentence for homework, using the key words so he learns to write them independently of a spelling test. I must admit I was shock at the fact that they were expected to do homework but he is thriving on it. They don't have to do the writing every night, eg if they have a party or swimming or are just plain tired, but if I ever suggest we give it a miss, he complains!

ReallyTired Mon 16-Jun-08 20:21:30

My son did not have any spellings in reception or year 1. However is spelling is improving rapidly.

I think that provided children learn all the alternatives ways to spell letter sounds then they will learn to spell by reading lots of books and experience of life.

Reception should be about playing and developing social skills. Its much easier to teach an older child how to spell.

imaginaryfriend Mon 16-Jun-08 21:27:02

We've never had spellings home to read but dd has told me that in her group work they do get asked to spell words. Maybe that's work that goes into her writing book?

Today she brought home her caterpillar diary they've been making at school. This is her writing in it exactly (some very 'interesting' spellings!):

"We poot katpilus in a pot raffd [after] a fyoo weks the katpilus got bigur
the katpilur chanjis into a cocoon
the katpilus are now byootfll butuflie"

It's almost like a foreign language! I know it's wildly incorrect but I really do love it. Each page has some lovely little pictures too.

The strange thing for me is that dd can read really quite well now and would be able to read all the words she wrote, spelled correctly, but she doesn't recognise that they look so different when she's written them herself. Is that common?

ReallyTired Mon 16-Jun-08 21:35:06

Phonetic spellings like imaginaryfriend are fine. It is possilbe to understand what she has written. It is unfair to describe as a foreign language.

imaginaryfriend dd will learn all the alternative way of spelling sounds and her daughter's spelling will improve.

I think that parents need a little patience and its unreasonable to expect little children to master the English language in three terms of school.

imaginaryfriend Mon 16-Jun-08 21:37:51

RT, I didn't mean it was like a foreign language in a bad way, I meant it was inventive, quite beautiful really.

To be honest I find it extraordinary that anybody ever manages to learn this bloody language. I feel like I'm constantly explaining the 'rules' of it only to say a bit later 'yes, that word doesn't obey the rules' about the tricky ones.

Hulababy Mon 16-Jun-08 21:40:37

I love that emergent spelling, before they learn the real spellings. I have kept some of DD's stuff from last year as it is so sweet. It is in her memory box

I like DD's recent spulling tubes: chwubes grin Fab!

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