Spelling Strategies for Pre Teens!

January 2019
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We assist and support many students in developing their understandings and skills in spelling. As students progress towards high school the emphasis placed on correct spelling increases. This can be a cause for concern for many parents – and often creates anxiety in apprehensive writers.

Spelling skills and understandings can be taught explicitly – and with the right support, children can make progress quite quickly! Teaching spelling is much more than just simply quizing children in a spelling bee type format! Spelling should be taught in many different contexts including talking, listening, reading and writing. Students need their tutors to explicitly model the use of spelling knowledge and skills in order to be guided to using them independently themselves.

We are currently putting together a customised tutoring program for student ‘H’. ‘H’ is an eleven year old girl going into grade 6. Although she enjoys reading – she is not a confident speller and doesnt enjoy any learning experience that requires her to write more than a paragraph at a time. Her parents believe this is because she has difficulty with spelling. 

We collected a piece of writing from H and also had her complete a cloze passage and written comprehension exercise. As tutors, we use these writing samples to analyse which spelling strategies H has a good handle of and the forms of spelling knowledge that she is able to draw upon. This will assist us in planning our learning experiences for her.

H’s writing samples indicated that for her age and stage she has a strong understanding of base words and uses them to construct new words eg adding –es to the end of words.


She has a large bank of known sight words but lacks confidence in using less common letter patterns. She lacks knowledge of how to use silent letters correctly but is able to recognize misspelt words. She is not yet willing to take risks in drawing upon what she already knows to attempt challenging words.

Where to now?

We will continue to build upon her bank of known words and reinforce the way she can use known words to construct new words. We will assist her in developing specific strategies to tackle challenging words and develop her etymological knowledge.

We will include a modelled and guided proofreading and editing component within each session so that H becomes more confident in self correcting independently.

We look forward to collaborating with her classroom teacher this year so that we can reinforce the spelling patterns and rules that are being explored each week in her literacy sessions.

To have your child best supported in their learning, contact our director today so that we can discuss your child’s current needs, learning style and ways in which we can assist them in making quick progress. 

Written by Sprout Tutoring

Sprout Tutoring is a small, engaging, motivating space in West Geelong created for children to focus on learning without distraction. Sprout Tutoring nurtures learning, growth and development of children aged 4 – 12 years old with customised tuition programs in Literacy and Numeracy.