Knowledge of the spelling system

See what children at phase six already know about spelling and what they learn in this phase to develop this further. Teaching focuses on learning words with tricky spellings (e.g. ‘sea’/’see’) and common words with irregular spellings.

Children in phase six still need to acquire more word-specific knowledge. To spell words, they still segment them into phonemes, but they learn that good spelling involves more than this. They learn that representing all the phonemes is not always enough and that, where necessary, they need to choose the right grapheme from several possibilities.

In some cases, word-specific spellings (e.g. ‘sea/see’, ‘goal/pole/bowl/soul’, ‘zoo/ clue/flew/you’) simply have to be learned.

Children at phase six will write an increasing number of common words with rare or irregular spellings (e.g. ‘they’, ‘there’, ‘said’). It is important that they learn these or, without correction, they may get used to the incorrect spellings that are later difficult to correct.

There are spelling conventions or guidelines that generalise across many words and that children need to understand. Where there are exceptions these can usually be dealt with as they arise in children’s reading and writing.