Spelling guidelines and conventions

There are several spelling conventions and guidelines that can be applied across many words. You can use this list of guidelines and conventions, and the related examples, to help improve spelling.


In phase 6 of CLLD: Letters and Sounds children acquire more word-specific knowledge. They will still be segmenting words into phonemes to spell them, but they also learn that good spelling involves not only doing this and representing all the phonemes plausibly but also, where necessary, choosing the right grapheme from among several possibilities.

In some cases, word-specific spellings, for example, sea/see, goal/pole/bowl/soul, and zoo/clue/flew/you, have to be learned. It is important to devote time in this phase to learning common words with rare or irregular spellings, for example, they, there, and said. This is important since, as the amount of writing children do increases, without correction they may practise incorrect spellings that are later difficult to put right.

It’s important for children to recognise that all the conventions have some exceptions. Exceptions can usually be dealt with as they arise in children’s reading and writing.