Stage 1 Phonological awareness to support spelling


Building word recognition and spelling skills through phonological and visual processing. Engaging students with how words and letter combinations sound and look.

Activities to support the strategy

Activity 1

Model how to create a rhyming pair, that is, a pair of words that rhyme, e.g. mouse/house. Draw these two nouns on the board and label them. Students then create their own illustrated rhyming pairs in their workbooks.

Activity 2: picture sorting and word sorting

Picture sorting is a categorisation task that involves grouping pictures for words with similar sound features. Pictures can be sorted by initial consonant sounds (for example, bat, boy; man, moon), consonant blends (for example, black, bloom; crab, crown), digraphs (for example, moth, bath; crunch, chomp), rhyming words (for example, sock, flock) or vowel sounds (for example, sun, gum; sit, pin).

Word sorts are carried out similarly. Students group words based on their grapheme/phoneme correspondences. Word sorts provide opportunities for students to improve fluency and accuracy in identifying recurring patterns and contrasting features within the targeted groups.

Activity 3: talk to yourself chart

Provide students with a “talk to yourself chart”.

Students can use the sentence prompts to learn to spell new words.

Activity 4: constructing rhyme lists

Model the process of constructing a rhyme list using an alphabet strip to systematically tick off letters to generate rhyming words. Invite students to work individually or in pairs to add to the rhyme list. Encourage students to check with a reliable source, such as a simple dictionary, to confirm if the words generated are 'real words'. Compile the words generated into a word bank/word wall/class display/GPC chart/anchor chart for display and future reference. See the example using the rime 'ake' below.

Extension: Time the students to see how many of the words they can write with accuracy from memory. EOn repeat attempts, students can compare their results to track improvement.

Activity 5: letter tiles

Letter tiles or magnetic letters can be useful to provide focus on sounds, letters and words when students are working with text during modelled, guided ad independent reading and writing.

(Programming and Strategies Handbook NSW Department of Education and Communities 1999).


Australian curriculum

ACELA1457: Manipulate sounds in spoken words including phoneme deletion and substitution; recognising words that start with a given sound, end with a given sound, have a given medial sound, rhyme with a given word

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