Spelling for Life: Uncovering the simplicity and science of spelling

$71.99  Paperback
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Lyn Stone Australian author

Spelling for Life
280 pages
ISBN: 9780415856935

A recent survey of 200 teachers asking the question ‘spelling is…?’ resulted in the following adjectives: ‘difficult’, ‘complex’, ‘confusing’, ‘random’, ‘confounding’. Spelling for Life offers lucid, accessible tools which help to reveal that, when explicitly and systematically taught, spelling is scientific, law-abiding and even elegant.

It explains that spelling is the manipulation of symbols according to agreed-upon patterns that produce predictable results. Spelling errors also fall into sets of predictable patterns. Success in spelling is not a product of intelligence. Many people struggle to spell due to coping strategies developed in place of explicit instruction. What gives spelling its ‘complex’ veneer is the fact that different ways of thinking are required at different levels from word to word. Some words can be spelt as they sound, others have to be visually memorised and some rely on knowledge of core rules about word-structure. A lot of words require more than one strand of knowledge. This book makes clear which strand needs to be applied in different situations.

Often pupils who can read and express themselves competently nevertheless find spelling difficult. False assumptions about spelling, such as believing the English language is complex and/or irregular, damage confidence and lead to reluctance to even attempt to spell correctly.

Spelling For Life enables teachers and pupils to:

  • learn what the common spelling coping strategies are
  • gain insights into undoing poor spelling habits
  • work together to notice patterns not only in regular spelling, but also in words which on the surface seem to break the spelling rules
  • practise successful spelling strategies, progressing from simple to complex words rapidly and with confidence.

Using a synthesis of theory, research and teaching experience, the fascinating nature of English spelling is systematically teased out. The examples and exercises offer an encouraging, accessible way to implement the programme of study and strive to reveal the beauty of spelling. Aided by example lessons, progressive assessments, unique tools and extensive practice lists, this highly acclaimed overview of spelling succeeds in developing critical thinking and confidence when reading and spelling. It can be used in conjunction with any established phonics programme.

Table of Contents

  1. Broken Rules and Word Stories
  2. Word Families
  3. Homophones
  4. Mnemonics
  5. Counting Syllables
  6. Affixes
  7. The Spelling Formula
  8. The Difference Between Vowels and Consonants
  9. What Consonants Say
  10. Illegal Letters
  11. The Single Vowels
  12. The Letter ‘y’
  13. Final Silent E, Jobs 1-3
  14. Job 4 of Silent 'E' (a.k.a. ‘consonant plus–le’)
  15. The Wicked Sisters and Other Wacky R’s
  16. The Vowel Generator
  17. Strong and Weak Syllables
  18. Schwa
  19. To Double or not to Double?
  20. Final Silent E and Suffixes
  21. The return of illegal ‘i’
  22. The Suffix Generator
  23. More Fascinating Patterns
  24. Some Delightful Lists


  1. Forgive me, Scotland
  2. The Orders Of Intelligence
  3. The Triangle Game
  4. Why Not just Make Spelling Simpler?




"• ‘I am going to be teaching this to my ESL (English as a Second Language) students.’ • ‘I am looking forward to trying out this programme on my small groups in Special Programs.’ • ‘I love it and think it will work, especially for children in middle years.’ • ‘I am able to use these strategies throughout the whole school (K-6).’ • ‘I have been working with some lower-functioning grade 5 students and my new skills will help me to help them.’ • ‘If these techniques were taught at primary level, there would be a world of terrific spellers. Well done!’ • ‘I have found it particularly useful for year 7 students having difficulty.’ • ‘Very relevant to the work I am doing with students (school age and adult).’ • ‘The Spelling For Life Program has given me tools to help my two teenage sons with dyslexia.’"
- Various, Some comments from teachers, speech and language professionals and educational psychologists who have attended the workshops/bought the text.