Children in Years 1 and 2 can benefit from our simple teaching strategies.
Formal spelling lessons in Years 1 and 2 are not suitable for this age group. However, simple teaching strategies for letters and sounds can be used. This more relaxed approach to language works within both the New Zealand Junior school programme and Australian school curriculum.
The First Steps To Spelling
The following learning steps are covered in Reading & Spelling Made Simple Book 1, within Steps 1 and 2.
Letter names must be known, plus (in time) their alphabetical order.
Say and trace the A to Z letters while saying the sound of each letter.
Games to link letters and sounds together.
Mix and match alphabet cards; word boxes (choosing plus sequencing regular three-letter words).
Choosing between sounds; e.g. using the shopping list game.
Consolidate short vowel sounds.
Make sure that the children are saying words aloud while listening to the letter SOUNDS when writing. Discourage ‘spelling out letter names.’ This is a highly counter-productive measure. It becomes a difficult habit to break.
Use rhymes and jingles to establish the sound pattern groups of English.
The First 100 Sight Words are particularly important for reading. Most Year 1 and 2 children learn these words within the class reading programme. However, some children need to use the ‘Look . . . Say . . . Trace . . . Cover . . . Write’ method, (originated by Grace Fernald and fully explained in Book 1). Enlist parental home help in mastering these essential 100 Sight Words.
Encouraging a love of reading is your primary aim. Caregivers need to be informed about the school’s developmental approach. If this is not done, many parents will be undoing the excellent work done in our New Zealand junior schools by giving the wrong kind of help. Model share-reading books to groups of your caregivers. Also remind them that learning to read and write correctly takes time, and that pressure on ‘correct spelling’ inhibits progress.