Spelling: Teaching Older Students

Background to workshop

Spelling is often identified as an on-going problem for many students and yet little explicit teaching of spelling occurs in the classrooms of older students. This workshop aims to develop teachers confidence in identifying specific spelling problems in older students and develop their capacity to do something practical to help various students.


This workshop is designed for teachers of students in upper primary and secondary schools.


The outline below assumes a minimum of approximately 5 hours (i.e. a full day). However, briefer versions of the workshop are possible with a minimum of two hours recommended. The longer workshop could also be delivered over multiple sessions, e.g. five one-hour workshops.


  • Anticipatory set: initial discussion of spelling errors in student writing
  • A brief history of the English: why English spelling is irregular but not random
  • Putting spelling in context: the layers of language and how they fit together
  • An introduction to different spelling patterns (sound-letter relationships) and how this relates to the Australian Curriculum
  • Diagnosing specific student spelling needs: practical tools and methods
  • Practical ideas for improving student spelling: linking reading and writing; gradual release of responsibility model applied to spelling; a selection of activities and games, for example the Scaffolded Spelling strategy, Vocabulary Wheels, Double Scoop, The Apple and the Bushel, Homophone Solitaire, Words that Grow from Base Words and Word Roots, Latin Jeopardy, Eponyms. Note well: The number of activities modelled will depend on the total time available.
  • Encouraging students to use spell check more effectively: Making the most of the capacities of Word Processing programs
  • Resources: Useful books and websites
  • Conclusion
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