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What words does my child need to learn to spell?
 There are approximately 450 000 words in the English language. If you were to learn to spell 5 words a day, it would take 246 years to learn them all. It is of little use to learn to spell words that you are unlikely to use regularly and therefore have little use for in your writing. A child who is interested in music needs to know how to spell musical terms and names of their favourite instruments or composers and a rugby enthusiast needs to master words like ‘forward, penalty, Crusaders and scrum’ that they are likely to use in their writing.
Words related to the topic the children are learning about in class also need to be learnt. This means that if the child is learning to write a piece of persuasive writing they will need to be able to spell words like: ‘persuade, disagree and conclusion’ and if the topic is sustainability then it is important to know how to spell words such as ‘environment, change and impact’ correctly.
At Waitākiri School we use the Essential Spelling Lists from the New Zealand Council of Educational Research (NZCER) because their lists of words are based on the words children use most often in their writing.  These lists are referred to in documents and resources provided to schools by the Ministry of Education. We have shared these lists with you on our school website.
Good spellers have the ability to spell common words, use knowledge of letters and chunks to assist in spelling new words, know how words are structured and make links to other words, use visual memory to decide if the word looks right and use resources to check words. Research tells us that the measure of a successful speller can be seen in how they approach writing unknown words, rather than how many words they rote learn for the spelling test each week.
Spelling Expectations
After 1 year at school -      Mastery of List 1 words with some List 2 words spelt correctly,
                                                  and can spell from memory their own name and some friend’s
After 2 years at school -    Mastery of List 2 words with some List 3 and 4 words spelt correctly,
                                                  and can spell from memory their surname, siblings names and
                                                  5 or more colours
After 3 years at school -    Mastery of List 3 words with many List 4 words and  some List 3 and 4
                                                 words spelt correctly,
                                                 and can spell from memory their full address including Christchurch
                                                 and New Zealand, numbers to twenty in words and days of the week
At the end of Year 4 -        Mastery of List 4 words and many List 5 - 7 words spelt correctly,
                                                 and can spell from memory the months of the year
At the end of Year 6 -        Mastery of Lists 1 - 7 words and most Commonly Misspelt Words