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Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
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Whole school approaches to differentiated spelling

Marianne Schubert

Four primary schools in Greater Brisbane have taken part in a project to improve students' spelling over the P–7 year levels, and to enhance teachers' pedagogical content knowledge in this area of student learning. Students were grouped according to their spelling proficiency as the basis to provide differentiated instruction. In each group students then received 10 minutes per day of explicit word study targeted to their particular developmental needs. One of the key teaching strategies applied in the trial was the use of word sorts, an exercise in which suitable lists of words are categorised and sorted based on qualities shared by each word. Pre- and post-trial tests showed that the spelling of students in the early and middle primary years improved well above benchmark expectations.

Key Learning Areas


Subject Headings

Ability grouping in education
Primary education
English language teaching