Precision Spelling

This is a simple but intense teaching method aimed at helping a child to embed facts such as letter sounds, high frquency words and words containing specific spelling patterns. The method aims to enable a child to recall the targeted facts in order to be able to apply it independently in class.

Because it allows high repetition of the facts to be learnt, it is effective at accelerating progress in word reading, for example, if the following basic principles are followed:


  • specifically targeted facts to learn eg secure recognition of 10 high frequency words or spell 5 topic words;

  • daily 1-1 teaching session for no more than 15 minutes per session;

  • deliver the teaching in the ‘flash card’ method;

  • daily assessment recorded in scores for the child to compete against;

  • programme delivered over fixed period of time, eg 8 weeks and repeated/extended as necessary.


What happens in a single session?

The facts to be learnt are presented one by one on flash cards, eg 5 high frequency words. The child ‘answers to’ the flash cards in turn, eg reads each word. If the child answers incorrectly the educator provides the answer and tells the child to repeat. The card is put in a pile for more practice as the session continues and until the child gets the answer correct automatically.


The one minute test

Towards the end of the session, the child is tested to see, for example, how many words that s/he has been learning, is able to recognise in 1 minute. Other words that the child has been working on in previous weeks are added to the newly learnt words to check for consolidation.


The child’s score is plotted on a graph or shaded as a histogram that covers the 5 day week. The child then has a visual picture of the progress s/he is making and also a focus to beat his/her own score throughout the week.