Spelling Advice for Primary Age Children

Q & A with Lydia Scaltsas - Primary Tutor & Former Teacher

Q: Im worried that my P1/2/3 child makes up spellings. Is this a problem?

Nothing is ever truly a cause for concern as every child learns at their own pace and in their own time. But most of your child’s misspellings should, ideally, seem logical. e.g. Children often misspell the word ‘friend’ as ‘frend’. This makes logical sense and shows the child is employing great problem-solving skills in trying to ‘work out’ which letters appear in the word phonetically.

Some more guidelines:

* In P1/2/3 children may not yet be familiar with the rule: ‘I before except after C.’

* Phonetically decodable words such as ‘cat’ ‘bin’ and ‘ran’ should not be incorrectly spelled (P1 &


* Words incorporating Stages 3-5 Phonics (P2-P3) e.g. ship, rain, cloud, should also be

80% of the way there.

*Suffixes (word endings) such as ‘ed’ ‘ing’ ‘y’ etc., also come later in the syllabus and need not be

100% independent by P3.

Lydia’s Top Tip:

Praise effort rather than outcome! Praise your child for using their problem-solving skills; praise

your child for trying to work independently and for using previously learned knowledge to help

them in their writing.