An overview of phonics and spelling


In learning to be literate in English, early spelling is largely phonics and that, conversely, early phonics is spelling. We will briefly sketch out the place of phonics in the process and acquisition of spelling and explain why it is appropriate to introduce phonics through spelling. We will give examples of how an understanding of children’s spelling development and the various ‘logics’ behind the spellings of words can help teachers to analyse and understand pupils’ misspellings and suggest an approach to teaching spelling which builds on phonics.

The term ‘phonics’ is shorthand for an element of the curriculum which covers teaching and learning the alphabetic system or code-the correspondences between phonemes and graphemes-and the skills of segmentation and blending. It is also used to denote the use of phonemic processes to read and spell.