Mr Donnelly’s Little Book of Spells

Word STUDY Standard Spelling Development Spelling is developed through familiarity. The more we are familiar with the word the more recognisable it is and the easier it is to remember. As word and sound familiarity increases students are able to generalise ‘sound rules’, like p says “p”, which in time they are able to apply to the spelling of unfamiliar words. Other ‘rules’ follow. Visual generalisations follow sound generalisations. Visual generalisations include recognition of multiple representations for the same sound, silent letters and double letter patterns. The study of word patterns to this point is often referred to as phonology. Inflectional endings are the next patterns to be incorporated into our spelling schema. These are the rules for adding s, ed and ing. While inflection creates plurality and tense, it often creates confusion when applying conventional syllable knowledge e.g. clapped. To avoid this confusion, inflections should be removed when syllabifying words. From their knowledge of inflectional endings the developing speller becomes aware of affixes. Affixes are made up prefixes and suffixes and either changes the meaning or function of the base words on which they are affixed. Knowledge of the base word will often reveal the correct letter sequencing in medial syllables of challenging words e.g. special to speciality. Studying how words change from a base word is known as morphology. The final stage of spelling awareness is etymology. Etymology is the study of word history. Why is the Egyptian word for king, pharaoh, spelt with a ph? “ph” is a Greek reference indicating that at some stage in the history of Egypt that it was successfully invaded by Greece. English spelling often maintains spelling patterns for historical purposes. Over the years English spelling has been plagued by the notion of exceptions. Exceptions are a short hand way of disregarding irregularities in the phonology. However, far from having a language which is complicated by exceptions we have a beautifully robust language which is incredibly rule bound. Even invented words like “humungous”, blend sound groups from the more familiar words “huge” and “enormous” and maintains the “ous” pattern signifying its use as an adjective. It may be made up but it requires correct spelling. If a word appears not to be rule bound... look harder! The stages of spelling development have been various described as: preliminary, semi-phonetic, phonetic, transitional and independent (First Steps); emergent, letter name/alphabetic, within word pattern, syllables and affixes, derivational (Words Their Way); phonological, visual, morphemic and etymological (Spelling: Improving Student Outcomes). Word STUDY Word STUDY is a description of the stages if spelling development that can be easily used with very young spellers. Word STUDY is an acronym which stands for: well-known words, sounds, tricks, use a rule, derivations and years of age.

Spelling EASY and USEFUL Words
No Excuse Words

Well-known Words


We love it! Sound Charts

Real Words


Real Texts
Other vowel choices, Doubles, Silent letters, Homonyms & Ə D: Delete A: Add R: Rearrange T: Trade

Consonants, a-e-i-o-u (short & long)

Tricky Bits

Orthographic Knowledge


Patterns Meaning

Use when writing

Use a Rule

Use a Rule (+s, +ed, +ing) Inflectional endings: Tense Plurals The Big Five
Recognise (easiest not all) Have a go (show me board) Best Guess (DART) Check (authoritative text) Learn (WACAWAC)

Use when reading Does it have word family?
Base Words Prefixes Suffixes


WOW= Excellence!

W: Willingly O: Often W: Well Duration Frequency Intensity

Years of age!

Share the story of words.

Word Origins

Scope and Sequence: Spelling (Queensland Studies Authority)

Spelling: Improving Student Outcomes CD-Rom (Literacy Professional Development)

Word STUDY Pat Donnelly

Well-known words Sight words Personal words KLA words Phonological knowledge Phonological Sounds Consonants Short & Long vowels Visual knowledge Tricks Other Long vowels (Diphthongs) Silent letters Doubles Homophones Word function knowledge Morphemic knowledge Use a rule Plurals Tense Meaning knowledge Morphemic knowledge Derivations Word level grammar Word history knowledge Etymological knowledge Years of age Word Origins, from history to emerging conventions

Well-Known Words The words you identify as being well-known is unique to you. However, some well-known words are shared by most people at certain stages of spelling awareness. The following represents some of the stages very early learners go through in developing their consciousness of spelling. 1. Word awareness: Words: exist; can be read from left to right; represent a single idea; remain constant; and contain letters. 2. Words as pictures: Highly personally familiar words that represent something as a whole without the need for sounding out e.g. Your name, Mum, Dad, Your friends’ names, McDonalds... 3. High frequency words: Small words used daily in texts like a, the, and, ... 4. Environmental print: Students use authoritative sources for “perfect” spelling by copying labels, words from the board, words on charts and in books. Sounds One way to introduce sounds is through narrative and personification. For example, I like to think of consonants as calm because of their stable nature and vowels as bossy. It is because of their stable nature that consonants are the easiest sounds to recognise. Within the group of consonants those that have a sustained or stretched sound, continuants and nasal continuants, are the easiest to identify precisely because they can be stretched. The /x/ sound, which is a combination of /k/ and /s/ should be introduced through words that have /x/ in the final position. After the stretchable consonants come those that explode. These are also known as plosives. These exploding sounds are also easy to identify because they are easily separated from their surrounding sounds. The final two groups are usually the hardest to distinguish. They are the consonants that whisper and those that blend. The Calm Consonants • Consonants that stretch: f, l, m, n, r, s, v, z, x. • Consonants that explode: b, k (hard c), d, g, j, p, t. • Consonants that whisper: h, w, y (sometimes vowel). • Consonants that blur (consonant digraphs): ch, sh, th, ng (non-distinguishable constituents) • Consonants that blend: bl, br, cr, cl, dr, fl, fr, gl, gr, pl, pr, tr, tw, sc, sk, sm, sn, sp, st, sw, qu (kw) (distinguishable constituents) The area of greatest difficulty, especially for young children with non-standard pronunciation, is the distinction between closely related sounds like /f/ and /v/. The difference between these two sounds is extremely subtle. They form a pair of sounds that can only be distinguished by the degree of vibration they cause the vocal chords in the larynx (throat). In certain cases the sense of touch may augment one’s aural discrimination.

23 Common Australian Pronunciations of Consonants Unvoiced /p/ Voiced /b/ /w/ and /wh/ /th/ (the, thong) /t/ /s/ /sh/ /ch/ /k/ /h/ /r/ /j/ /g/ /ng/ /x/ (ks) /th/ (feather, then) /d/ /z/ /y/ /n/ /l/ Nasal /m/ /qu/ (kw) Other

Bossy Vowels Every syllable needs one! Vowel sounds most often appear sandwiched between two consonant sounds however the vowel links more naturally to the final consonant than the initial one. Sound groups, or syllables, can therefore be broken into their two distinct parts, the onset and the rime. The onset is the initial consonant sound and the rime is everything after the vowel. In short words this pattern will typically be consonant, vowel consonant or CVC. From a single CVC word one can generate lists of words containing the same onset or the same rime. From the rime one is then able to separate the vowel sound from the final consonant. These types of lists are known as analogist or like lists. The study of words with common rimes is the most efficient way to introduces novice spellers to short vowels. The short vowels are /a/ as in bat, /e/ as in bet, /i/ as in bit, /o/ as in pot and /u/ as in but. There are a number of ways of categorising vowels however the following is possibly the easiest way to represent vowels to students.

Common Rimes The introduction of rimes should start with the simplest and move to the more complex. The following has been adapted from the work of David Hornsby. Sounds Short vowel & final consonant Short vowel & final consonant blend Long vowel (bossy e) Long vowel (two vowels walking) Tricks Pretend vowel /y/ /r/ influenced others a /at, /an, /ap, /at /ack, /ash, /ank /ake, /ale, ame /ail, /ain /eat e /et, /ed, /est, /ell I /ill, /ip, /in, /ill, /ick, /ink, /ing /ice, /ide, /ine, o /ot, /op /ock u /ug /uck, /ump, /unk


/ay /aw /ir, /ight /or, /ore

The Four Vowel Groups The four vowel groups are the Rowdy Monkeys which make the short vowel sounds, the Proud Peacocks which say their own name. These are often referred to as long vowels. The group which represent the /r/ influenced vowel sounds and the remaining diphthongs can be classified as Tricky Pirate sounds. Rowdy Monkeys Make monkey noises Proud Peacocks Say their own name Tricky Pirates Make pirate noises

The short vowels a-a-a Cap, mat e-e-e Bed, then i-i-i Bit, mitt o-o-o Tom u-u-u Glum

The long vowels Plate, gain He, reach, key, lady, field ī Pie, high, dry, kind ō Note, boat, snow ū Cute, due, crew ā ē

air ar ir or

The other long vowels Pair, care, oy Oil, boy, ant oo Book, bull Harm ew Moon, drew Dirt, sister, ow Cow, ouch hurt For, paw, talk, auto

The consonants, short vowels and long vowels that say their own name constitute the “Sound” stage of the “Word STUDY” strategy. The Proud Peacocks (vowels that say their own name) follow two fairly stable patterns, namely: • • Bossy ‘e’ makes other vowels say their own name. (plate, gate) When two vowels go walking only one does the talking. (gain, reach, field)

The other long vowel sounds (Tricky Pirates and Woo Hoo the Cuckoo) are a little tricky and fall into the next major strategy when being learnt developmentally. Tricks When it comes to spelling the Identification of sounds will only get you so far. At some point we internalise that words not only have to sound right but they have to look right as well. Young students often include unusual arrangements to represent words but a closer look will reveal that what they have presented is a close visual alternative to the perfect spelling. The writing of visual alternatives is evidence that the speller has generalised that: 1. The letter sound relationship is not a strict one to one correlation; 2. The same sound may be made using different combinations of letters; and 3. Letter combinations may make more than one sound. Here are some of the generalisations that spellers can make: • Bossy ‘e’ softens ‘c’ and ‘g’ e.g. race and bridge. • Bossy ‘e’ keeps final ‘v’ company e.g. gave. • Be careful of vowel gangs e.g. the OR Gang: or, aw, au, al • Be extra careful when consonants hangout in a vowel gang e.g. the Long I Gang: high, fly, bye, buy • Sneaky schwa /@/ has little to say. Davd or Dav@d @=/i/, tigr or tig@r @=e Other Tricks Doubles e.g. little, kitten, common, paddle... Silent letters e.g. ghost, gnome, knife... Homophones (sound the same but spelt differently) e.g. great/grate, their/there, Use a Rule All spellers generate rules. Any generalisation which is applied to an unfamiliar word is essentially a rule. Poor spellers tend to over-generalise and maintain incorrect assumptions longer than others. For example the overuse of “sounding-out” plagues the spelling of many poor spellers long after their peers have moved onto to other, more robust, generalisations. Good spellers, however, test their generalisations and learn the most common rules for use in the future. Keep in mind that it is less effective to learn a rule and then attempt to apply it when the generalisation hasn’t been properly established. Some rules, once discovered, require almost continuous practice. The two main sets of rules revolve around inflectional endings and syllabification.


Bossy E
Makes other vowels say their own name! E.g. bake, Eimeo Softens C and G! E.g. face and page Protects v at the end of words. E.g. have and give

Rules for Inflectional Endings • • • • • • • • • • • • • Inflectional endings change the number (plurality) or tense of the base word /s/ is the most common plural ending For words ending in /ch/, /sh/, /z/, /s/ or /x/ add /es/. For most words ending in /y/ change the /y/ into /i/ and add /es/ For words ending in /y/ but preceded by a vowel just add /s/ e.g. monkeys /ed/ is the most common tense changing suffix for creating past tense For words ending in /e/ drop the /e/ and add /ed/ For small words containing a short vowel and a single final consonant, double the final consonant before add /ed/ e.g. hop, hopped For words ending in /y/ change the /y/ into /i/ and add /ed/ /ing/ creates a variety of tense forms e.g. is running, was running, will be running For words ending in /e/ drop the /e/ and add /ing/ For small words containing a short vowel and a single final consonant, double the final consonant before add /ing/ e.g. hop, hopping Identify base word before syllabifying (watch/watched)

Rules for Syllabification • • • • • • • • • Every syllable has a vowel sound The number of vowel sounds in a word equals the number of syllables e.g. boat (1), re/ject (2), yes/ter/day (3) Consonant blends (nt) and digraphs (ph) are never separated e.g. rant/ing, ge/og/raph/y Compound words are divided between their constituent words Double consonants (not blends and diagraphs) are split e.g. sis/ter, but/ter Syllables separate vowel sounds but not necessarily vowels ge/og in geography Remove inflectional endings before syllabifying (much easier to syllabify especially when /ed/ says /t/ e.g. watched). Short vowels have closed syllables (the vowel sound is closed by a consonant) /ge/ in geography Long vowels have open syllables (the syllable ends after the vowel) /og/ in geography

Other Rules • • • • Limited use rule for past tense words ending in /t/ e.g. crept, slept and /ough/ cough, enough, fought... Adjective, comparative and superlative rule: happy, happier, happiest (y to i rule) /y/ is adjective forming e.g. noise+ y = noisy (drop the e rule) /ly/ is adverb forming, don’t drop /e/ in the in multisyllabic words e.g. appropriately, keep /e/ when /e/ softens /g/ e.g. hugely, but drop /e/ in duly.

Derivations A thorough understanding of inflectional endings creates an awareness of the concept of base words, other suffixes and the existence of prefixes. The study of the way words change in this way is known as morphology. The most common suffixes and prefixes are: • • • • /ion/ noun forming suffix /un/, /dis/, /mis/ opposite forming /er/ and /or/: one who /fu/, /ous/ adjective forming

Years of Age Etymology is the study of word history which simply refers to its age and origin. Probably the most amazing feature of English spelling is how often it maintains a pattern for historical purposes. This feature will often override previous phases by maintaining an unusual combination in order to remain true to the words origins. The word “protein” does not comply with the /i/ before /e/ rule not because it is an exception but because it is French in origin. The “gr8” combinations when text messaging works because of an economy of graphemes. The word “graphemes” uses the /ph/ combination for the /f/ sound which has been brought to us from the Greek. The exploration of words from an etymological perspective has no obvious designated beginning or end. Every word has a history and for some it will reveal the logic of its spelling. It is in this phase that an investigative mind will assist the speller as they meet new and interesting words in their daily lives.

The morphemes that make up words are: affixes (prefixes and suffixes); and root or base forms derived from each words etymology or word history.

Prefixes over after down mis un ante bi circum de inter post pre trans ultra auto dia hypo meter peri tele Suffixes er Anglo-Saxon Origin overshadow, overdrive afterthought, afterburner downstairs, downhill, downtown ill – mistake, misfit, mislead, misplace not – unbelievable Latin Origin before – anteroom, two – bicycle, bifocal around – circumnavigate, circumference down or away – describe, defeat, deport between, - intercity, intermarry, interschool after - postpone before - preschool l across – transfusion, transport beyond – ultralight Greek Origin self/same – autobiography, automobile through, between – diameter, dialogue under, less than – hypodermic, hypotension measure around, about, beyond – perimeter, periscope far – television, telescope Anglo Saxon one who or connected to (n forming) – bowler, diner, remainder comparative adjective – fatter, smaller full of (adj. form)- beautiful, careful state of being (n forming) – childhood (v forming) - playing quality (n forming) – darkness, goodness, preparedness. condition (n forming) – kinship, friendship, leadership. manner of (adv forming) – softly, sweetly (adj. forming) nicely, goodly Latin able to be (adj. forming) – portable state of being (n forming) - patience agent of (n forming) – servant, attendant for ing (adj forming) – resistant, pleasant duty of (n forming) – legate, advocate one who (n forming) – worker, cricketer quality (n forming) – service, justice place of (n forming)- directory, dormitory full of (adj forming)- dangerous, enormous state of action (n forming) dictation Greek one who does (n forming ) – machinist, socialist, realist practice of (n forming) – barbarism, plagiarism, realism.

Roots or Base Forms
Anglo-Saxon roots Latin Roots ago,actus animatus cardo, casus capio, captus caput cedo, cessus centi cito, citatus colo, cultus curro decem dico duco faciio fortis jacio, jectus lego, lectus magnus memor minor milli multus porto rego, rectus rumpo, ruptus scribo sentio, sensus tendo teneo tracho, tractus verto, versus video,visus knife, knock, plot, plough

I act, I do to live, breathe I fall take captive the head I go one hundred I rouse I till I run ten I say I lead I make strong I throw I choose great mindful small a thousand many I carry I rule I break to write I feel I stretch I hold I draw I turn I see a star weight life people to write/draw a thousand a measure sound heat animal

ful hood ing ness ship ly

agent, active animation, animal cadence captive, captivate captain, capital cede, precede century, centimetre, excite cultivate current decimal, decimate diction, predict, dictionary deduce, deduction factory fort, fortify, fortitude reject, inject, eject elect, election magnify, magnitude memory, memorable, memorial minority millimetre, millilitre multitude transport, export, deport regal, regent rupture describe, inscription, script, scribble sensitive tend, tendency, attend tenet, tenable tract, retractable, traction avert, convert, revert video, visible, vision astronomy, astronaut barometer biology, biography democracy graphic, graphite kilogram, kilometre meteorology, metronome phoneme, phonics thermal, thermometer zoo, zoology

Greek Roots
Astrom baros bios demos graphos kilo metron phono therme zoion

Able ance & ence ant ant ate er ice ory ous tion/ion/sion ist ism

Adapted from the 1996 Queensland English Syllabus

Nominalisation Nominalisation is the process of converting verbs, adjectives, modals and conjunctions into nouns. By converting other grammatical units into nouns the author increases the lexical density of the text while reducing the number of clauses per sentence which, in turn, makes the text appear more formal. Nouns from verbs Noun ending Verbs whose noun fits the pattern -ion Depress, victimise, suspect, persuade, include, receive, deceive, satisfy, classify, qualify -ment Disappoint, embarrass, amuse, encourage, judge, announce, develop, require -al Refuse, approve, propose, survive -ance Perform, resist, appear, disappear, assist Miscellaneous Complain, apologise, prove, praise, sleep, heat, blame, experience, forgive, lose Nouns from adjectives Noun ending Adjectives whose noun fits the pattern -ence Absent, adolescent, confident, patient -ity Able, capable, respectable, equal, original, familiar, generous -th Strong, wide, broad, long -ness Deaf, sharp, narrow, cool, nervous, mean, friendly, happy, ready -dom Wise, bored Miscellaneous Honest, fluent, hungry, angry, thirsty, guilty, high, enthusiastic Nouns from conjunctions Noun Causal conjunction Reason, cause, Because, since, therefore, hence result, effect Nouns from modal finites and adjuncts Noun Modals Possibility, chance, Might, could, should, possible, possibly, probably probability, tendency Expectation, requirement, inclination Must, should, ought to, need to, required to, expected to

Adapted from The State of South Australia, Department of Education and Children’s Services 2004 publication: Language and Literacy: classroom application of functional grammar

Emergent Stage Letter Name Stage Simple Words Within Word-Pattern Stage Words Common Syllables & Affixes Stage Difficult Words Derivational Pattern Stage Challenging Words Y1

Word STUDY Code Description Typical Year Levels Spelling Examples

Wellknown words Own name, sight words KindyPrep WOS was










Initial Digraph final Blend Prep - Year 1 T TP TEP tip M MN MIN mine

Short vowel

Long Vowel

Other Silent, vowels flat… Years 2-4 BOTE boat HOPING hopping

Syllable juncture


Prefixes Base words Suffixes morphemes Year 3-6 WOOLEN woollen

Challenging Year 6-10 SOLEM solemn ANACRONOS anachronous
https://www.lear /deliver/content.a sp?pid=50916

Suggested Strategies

https://www. learningplace er/ p?pid=50912 nt.asp?pid=50913 pid=50914 .au/deliver/content.asp?pid=50 915

Words Their Way

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Eimeo Road State School Student name:
Emergent Stage Letter Name Stage Simple Words


Spelling Checklist 2012 Class:
Within Word-Pattern Stage Common Words Syllables & Affixes Stage Difficult Words U1 Inflection D1 Difficult suffix D2 Base Derivational Pattern Stage Challenging Words Y1 Challenging

Word STUDY Code Description

Well-known words Own name, sight words

S1 Initial final

S2 Digraph Blend

S3 Short vowel

S4 Long Vowel Other vowels

T1 Silent, flat…

T2 Syllable juncture




Word STUDY Code

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