The free SPELD SA student Word Bank includes 18 vowel sounds and their alternative spellings.

SPELD SA Word Bank

  1. Download the SPELD SA Word Bank
  2. Print out the PDF
  3. Fold the A4 pages in half vertically along the fold.
  4. Check the numbers of the pages are in order and staple along the fold.
  5. Students can cut along the dotted lines on the right of each page to create tabs that make locating the different sounds easier.

Download the SPELD SA Word Bank

Clever Schools and Clever Homes create clever kids—best practice for supporting all students particularly those with learning difficulties.

Our tips include strategies for teachers and parents. They are not mutually exclusive.

If you are already using these good teaching practices at home, tutoring or in a classroom, give yourself a SPELD SA tick. We will provide simple checklists you can use for this shortly.

Clever Byte #1 Glossaries for developing word knowledge
Clever Byte #2 Turn on Speak Selection on your iPads, iPods and iPhones
Clever Byte #2.1 Turn on Select to Speak on your Android device
Clever Byte #3 Create a Strategies Folder
Clever Byte #4 Install Free Natural Reader on your computer
Clever Byte #5
Clever Byte #6 Attentional Problems - Byte 2: Managing distractibility: strategies to help students focus on the task at hand
Clever Byte #7 Attentional Problems - Byte 3: Managing recess and lunchtimes
Clever Byte #8 Attentional Problems - Byte 4: Managing Inflexibility at school
Clever Byte: Teacher's Journal of Professional Knowledge for Bytes 5—8
Clever Byte #9 Keyboard skills and familiarisation
Clever Byte #10 PowerPoint for struggling writers
Clever Byte #11 PowerPoint for oral presentations
Clever Byte #12 Things to know about syllables

Information, programs, games, activities and resources selected by SPELD SA teachers to support the teaching of phonics.

1. Synthetic Phonics Assessment:

These tests were created for the SPELD SA Study to provide teachers with a tool for monitoring their students’ achievement on a term by term basis. The content of the tests relates directly to the progression of skills in the Scope and Sequence Chart.

2. Example Plans

3. Information

4. FAQ

5. Games/Activities

6. Resources

1. Synthetic Phonics Assessment [top]

Year: Reception/Foundation

Synthetic Phonics Scope and Sequence Chart modelled on the Jolly Phonics Program and Supporting Tests for Monitoring Achievement and Spread-sheets for Record-keeping.

These tests were created for the SPELD SA Study to provide teachers with a tool for monitoring their students’ achievement on a term by term basis. The content of the tests relates directly to the progression of skills in the Scope and Sequence Chart.

Reception End of Term 1 Test Materials [top]
Reception End of Term 2 Test Materials [top]
Reception End of Term 3 Test Materials [top]
Reception End of Term 4 Test Materials [top]

Year 1: Supporting Tests for Monitoring Achievement and Spread-sheets for Record-keeping.

These tests were created for the SPELD SA Study to provide teachers with a tool for monitoring their students’ achievement on a term by term basis.

Year 1 End of Term 1 Test Materials [top]
Year 1 End of Term 2 Test Materials [top]
Year 1 End of Term 3 Test Materials [top]
Year 1 End of Term 4 Test Materials [top]

Year 2: Supporting Tests for Monitoring Achievement and Spread-sheets for Record-keeping.

These tests were created for the SPELD SA Study to provide teachers with a tool for monitoring their students’ achievement on a term by term basis.

Year 2 End of Term 1 Test Materials [top]
Year 2 End of Term 2 Test Materials [top]
Year 2 End of Term 3 Test Materials [top]
Year 2 End of Term 4 Test Materials [top]

3. Information [top]

Helpful Hints for Blending [top]

Helpful Hints for Blending - Sue Lloyd, author of Jolly Phonics

If the short vowel does not sound right, try the long one. This works with regular and irregular words eg he, be, me, blind, mind, apron, able, emu, item, o’clock.

If the letter c is followed by the vowels ‘e, i or y’, the sound is usually softened to ‘s’ as in face, dance and Nancy.

If the letter g is followed by the vowels ‘e, i or y’, the sound is usually softened to ‘j’ as in gym, giant and podgy.

When blending a ‘y’ which is not the first letter in the word, first try the short ‘i’ and if that doesn’t work, try the long ‘i’.

Advice on ‘tweaking’ the sounds in a word:
When we blend sounds to make a word, we often have to ‘tweak’ the sounds in order to pronounce the word properly. However, the pronunciations are so close that children are usually able to read the words, especially if they are in their vocabulary. Here are some common examples:

  • as, resist, is etc. – the /s/ sound is more like a light /z/ sound
  • pasta, lemon, attack, packet etc. – in many words a vowel is not always pronounced accurately and makes an /uh/ type of sound. This is known as a schwa. Sometimes it can even sound a bit like a different vowel, as in packet /pacit/. This causes few problems with reading but makes spelling much harder.
  • ink, tank, sunk etc. – the is pronounced /ngk/ - there are few problems for reading and the spelling difficulties can be overcome by teaching the children to write when they hear /ngk/, and learn the odd one that does not follow this advice, such as 'uncle' .
  • sense, sneeze, mouse, cassette, opposite etc. – the on the end gives no sound but the word can be heard after blending the letter sounds that come before the .
  • apple, kennel, devil, royal, cheerful etc. – these all have an /l/ sound at the end. The children cope well for reading but have to remember which alternative to use for spelling.
  • catch, pitch, hutch etc. – the is not pronounced.
  • doctor, collar, - the and have an /er/ sound. Again spelling is more of a problem than reading.
  • salt, alter, walrus etc. – the gives an /or/ sound but the is also pronounced. 
  • bold, told, sold etc. – the is not a /o/ or an /oa/. It is in-between these two sounds and only becomes more difficult when spelling.
  • blue, grew, rude etc. – have an /oo/ sound rather than a /ue/ sound.
  • fast, class, path etc. – children who pronounce these words with an /a/ sound have no problems. Those who pronounce the words with an /ar/ sound can usually ‘tweak’ the pronunciation and cope well with these words, especially when it has been explained to them.

Components for 90-Minute Wave 1 Literacy Blocks throughout Primary Years by Deslea Konza [top]

4. FAQ [top]

When should I use c, k and ck? [top]

I am looking at when to use c, k and ck. I have found the rules on when to use ck and k at the end of words but are there any guidelines on when to use c or k at the beginning of words? - Jan Polkinghorne accredited Jolly Phonics Trainer   The way I do it is to pull out a dictionary, get students to compare the number of pages of words starting with c to those starting with k. the c pages far exceed the k pages so the general rule of thumb is if you don’t know for sure use c not k because it is far more common.   

You can further refine this later if you want but I wouldn’t to begin with. The letter k is substituted for c if /k/ is followed by an e, i, or y. – kin, sketch, kind, keep but there are exceptions like kangaroo. This approach later leads into the use of hard c soft c where c followed by e/i/y makes a ‘s’ sound not a “k” sound.
But for the receptions I would keep it simple. One good activity is to let them search for “k” sound words and keep a list of those beginning with c and those beginning with k.

5. Games / Activities [top]

Bottle Top Letters

Bottle Top Letters are designed for those who are using bottle tops with letters on to build words.

Bottle Top Letters (Instructions) Bottle Top Letters - Print (Letters you can print for your bottle tops) Bottle Top Letters - Sassoon (Letters you can print for your bottle tops) - Jan Polkinghorne accredited Jolly Phonics Trainer

Word Sorts

(Reception and above)

a, e and u in CVC words

k & ck

adding ing

real or rubbish

ee or ea

ou as in mouth

soft c or hard c

ai, a-e and ay

plurals s & es




soft g or hard g






suffix ed sounds like t, d or id


A word sort activity involves sorting words into categories. The student is given a master sheet with category headings and a sheet of words that have several types of contrasting sounds, spelling patterns or meanings. The student cuts out the words and sorts them into the given categories. They then examine the words in each category and create a ‘rule’ or generalisation. For every rule, there are exceptions. Word sort activities call these words “odd bods”. Students should be encouraged to find out why a word does not fit the pattern or generalisation.  


6. Resources [top] 

Word Bank – provides suitable words for blending practice - Created by Sue Lloyd

Question Sentences (Group 1) - Created by Sue Lloyd

Question Sentences (Group 2) - Created by Sue Lloyd

It is important to give the children with reading problems material that they can decode for themselves. Often they feel that books are too hard for them. The above Question Sentences can help to fill the gap. They are sometimes amusing and provide another source of reading practice.

Dictation Sentences 1 - Created by Sue Lloyd [top]

Dictation Sentences 2 - Created by Sue Lloyd

Dictation is one of the most effective ways to teach children to write. Sentences for dictation with tricky words are provided in the links above.

Literature that supports introduction of new sounds - Compiled by Victoria Carlton ICE [top]

The pdf printable chart below uses the letter-sound sequence of the Jolly Phonics program as its basic structure. Decodable reading books from a number of series have been inserted at the point where they will provide practice for previously learned letter-sound associations. PDF Classification of phonic readers by year level  
Key Ring Letters [top] Some schools find it useful to cut these letter sound cards out, punch a hole in the corner and attach them with a split ring ( available at Office Works or similar). This is one way to help stop them being left home.
Print with a duplex printer or make double sided on your photo copier.

Key rings PDF Precursive Sassoon set 1 and 2 - Print set 1 and 2

Key rings PDF Precursive Sassoon Set 3 and 4 - Print set 3 and 4

Key rings PDF Precursive Sassoon set 5 and 6 - Print set 5 and 6

Key rings PDF Precursive Sassoon set 7 - Print set 7

Please note this page is currently being updated. A revised version of the Spelling for Older Students program will soon be available: At this stage revised lessons 1 - 26 have been uploaded. For lessons 27 - 35, please try again in Christmas Holidays.

What is the SOS program?

The SOS Program, created for SPELD SA by Jan Polkinghorne, is a series of Power point presentations containing activities to build basic phonic and spelling knowledge with students from year 5 upwards called SOS. The 35 lessons have been recently revised and are structured with the same sequence of sounds as the Jolly Phonic Program so that they can be readily used with all of our free synthetic phonic resources on our site.

Why do struggling students have difficulty spelling?

Older struggling reader/writers frequently have never been taught to spell by sound. They have mostly relied on memorizing words. Many can see no logic behind English. To help them achieve we need to change their ideas of reading and writing. To help them see that English is a code which takes the sounds we speak and translates them via symbols into marks on a page so others who know the code can change them back into speech. We need to begin again by teaching these students the code, and helping them learn to blend the sounds to read and segment the sounds to write. Old strategies of guessing need to be replaced by blending and segmenting right through a word. There are 42 (44) sounds in English but we only have 26 letters to represent these sounds therefore we have to use combinations of letters (digraphs) to represent some sounds. Once we have learnt the code then we can read and write the majority of words in English—even the long ones.

SOS (Spelling for Older Students) is a way to attempt to teach older students the code in an age appropriate fashion. It is designed to be presented as quickly as possible over six or seven weeks as a concerted effort to remediate reluctant or struggling readers and writers.

With older students, it is important to screen them first to find out what level they're working at and provide activies to address the gaps. If you make the sessions fast and fun, include competitiveness, build in rewards, games and prizes, students will join in. You can use the SPELD SA free synthetic phonic assessment materials to find out which letter sounds they know

The following 26 lessons introduce the sounds s, a, t, i, p, n, (c, k, ck,) e, h, r, m, d, g, o, u, l, f, b, ai, j, oa, ie, ee, or, z, w, ng, nk, oo(book), oo(room), v, and various ways of recording them. 9 new lessons will be loaded on to the website shortly.

These Powerpoints are provided at no cost.

Download First: Operating Instructions

Please click on the links below to save the files you wish to view to your computer. 

Each lesson is in a PowerPoint format, the teaching notes are in a PDF format.


SOS - Set 1: s, a, t, p, i, n

SOS Lesson 1: S s

Lesson 1 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 1

Lesson 1 Handwriting


SOS Lesson 2: A a

Lesson 2 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 2

Lesson 2 Handwriting

Lesson 1 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 3: T t

Lesson 3 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 3

Lesson 3 Handwriting

Lesson 2 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 4: P p

Lesson 4 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 4

Lesson 4 Handwriting

Lesson 3 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 5: I i

Lesson 5 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 5

Lesson 5 Handwriting

Lesson 4 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 6: N n

Lesson 6 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 6

Lesson 6 Handwriting

Lesson 5 Tricky Words revision





SOS Test Week 1


SOS - Set 2: c, k, ck, e, h, r, m, d

SOS Lesson 7: c k ck

Lesson 7 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 7

Lesson 7 Handwriting

Lesson 6 Tricky Words revision 

SOS Lesson 8: E e

Lesson 8 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 8

Lesson 8 Handwriting

Lesson 7 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 9: H h

Lesson 9 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 9

Lesson 9 Handwriting

Lesson 8 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 10: R r

Lesson 10 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 10

Lesson 10 Handwriting

Lesson 9 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 11: M m

Lesson 11 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 11

Lesson 11 Handwriting

Lesson 10 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 12: D d

Lesson 12 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 12

Lesson 12 Handwriting

Lesson 11 Tricky Words revision





SOS Test Week 2


SOS - Set 3: g, o, u, l, f, b

SOS Lesson 13: G g & O o

Lesson 13 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 13

Lesson 13 Handwriting

Lesson 12 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 14: U u

Lesson 14 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 14

Lesson 14 Handwriting

Lesson 13 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 15: L l & F f

Lesson 15 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 15

Lesson 15 Handwriting

Lesson 14 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 16: B b

Lesson 16 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 16

Lesson 16 Handwriting

Lesson 15 Tricky Words revision





SOS Test Week 3


SOS - Set 4: ai, j, oa, ie, ee, or

SOS Lesson 17: ai, ay, a-e

Lesson 17 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 17

Lesson 17 Handwriting

Lesson 16 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 18: J J

Lesson 18 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 18

Lesson 18 Handwriting

Lesson 17 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 19: oa

Lesson 19 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 19

Lesson 19 Handwriting

Lesson 18 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 20: ie

Lesson 20 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 20

Lesson 20 Handwriting

Lesson 19 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 21: ee

Lesson 21 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 21

Lesson 21 Handwriting

Lesson 20 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 22: or, aw

Lesson 22 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 22

Lesson 22 Handwriting

Lesson 21 Tricky Words revision





SOS Test Week 4


SOS - Set 5: z, w, ng, nk, oo(book), oo(room), v

SOS Lesson 23: Z z & W w

Lesson 23 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 23

Lesson 23 Handwriting

Lesson 22 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 24: ng & nk

Lesson 24 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 24

Lesson 24 Handwriting

Lesson 23 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 25: oo(book), oo(room)

Lesson 25 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 25

Lesson 25 Handwriting

Lesson 24 Tricky Words revision

SOS Lesson 26: V v

Lesson 26 instructions

Worksheet Lesson 26

Lesson 26 Handwriting

Lesson 25 Tricky Words revision





SOS Test Week 5


You are able to purchase a disk with 30 lessons made in Easiteach (PC only) for $10 plus postage. Place your order by contacting our office on 8431 1655 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The disc also holds a copy of the PowerPoint version.





Jolly Readers

Much has been said in government and in the media about the need to improve literacy skills but a workable solution remains elusive. In order to improve global reading results, we need to focus on teaching reading skills explicitly. This includes the teaching of pre-literacy skills, such as rhyme, vocabulary, visual matching, and language comprehension. As these skills are developing and we begin to introduce reading skills, we need to maintain an emphasis on vocabulary, and explicitly teach word decoding skills and reading comprehension skills through example and practice.

Research tells us that for most people with reading difficulties the underlying problem is a phonological deficit, a difficulty working with the sounds in words. The brain is malleable and particularly so in young children. We need to engage junior primary students in a powerful program, such as Jolly Phonics, that teaches them about the sounds in words and their relationship to letters. These are the foundation skills for reading. An introductory literacy program will be most effective if complemented by a phonics-based reading program.

One of the major barriers to the teaching of phonics is the adoption of reading levels by Australian schools. Levelled books are classified in different ways depending on the system. Criteria include degree of difficulty based on semantic difficulty and the complexity of the sentences. What this means is that a book with a levelled vocabulary can have mixed text in it with all kinds of spellings as long as they are within the level. As a result, students may find some books easy at a particular level and others too hard. These systems include a testing regime to determine when children are ready to proceed to the next level. Well known systems include the Lexile Framework for Reading, Reading Recovery and Guided Reading. The PM Benchmarking kit enjoys widespread use in South Australia.

The Fitzroy ReadersMy concern is that reading levels have been adopted by schools because they offer a convenient structure for a whole school reading program. Books classified according to a particular system can be grouped into ‘the red box, the blue box etc’ and the testing regime used to guide students through the levels. In many schools, there are expectations in terms of level for each grade. For example, students should be at Level 23 by the end of Grade 2. Because reading skills are not taught explicitly and systematically through these systems, students can find themselves at the same level for a whole year. This can have detrimental effects on their motivation and self esteem. The systems that level books now have a strong commercial base and schools prefer to buy books that fit into the levelling system they are using.

A few years ago, I visited a junior primary school and asked if they would show me how the reading levels work. The reading levels coordinator showed me the manual with the tests the students are given. As I looked at level 1 with words like “painting’ and “climbing”, I commented that the words seemed hard for a beginning reader. “They don’t have to read the words,” I was told, “they look at the pictures. It’s a form of reading.” This approach to ‘reading’, I believe, is responsible for the strategy used by many junior primary students who are not automatic readers, what I call, the ‘look and guess’ approach. They look at the picture and guess the word based on key letters. Using this strategy in one of the tests I use, “book” has been read variously as “ball” and “bird”. You see all the pictures start with the same letter! And then there’s the little boy who said to me as we progressed from test items with pictures to items without, “I can’t read that, there aren’t any pictures.”

Choosing the right books
To ensure that beginning readers enjoy success, it is important to explicitly teach them phonic skills. These are the foundation skills of independent reading as theybug club provide students with the ability to decode words they have not seen before. Teaching starts with the sounds of the letters of the alphabet.
Phonically controlled books
Phonically controlled books have titles like The Pet Hen and The Owl and the Clown and follow two guidelines:
1) They are written with a phonic rule in mind, eg, short e and use mostly words that follow that rule eg, The pet hen got the vet wet.
You won’t find words like ‘cough’ and ‘Guy’ thrown in with ‘cat’ and ‘fat’. When reading phonically controlled books, you show the child the new words, teach them the new phonic rule and the student can read the book independently.
2) Other words used are either words the student learnt in earlier books or new words that the author lists in the front or back pages of the book. Only a few are introduced in each book.

PhonicallyFitzroy readers-controlled books are classified by difficulty, too, but the classification is based on the difficulty of the phonic rule introduced in the book. One of the best known series of phonically controlled books is the Fitzroy Readers, now available in hard copy and on CD.

Regrettably, phonically controlled books are being relegated to the scrap heap because they don’t fit the system. As a result, children who need to be taught using the building blocks of reading (phonics) are failing. How many children might this be? Let’s look at the statistics.

Assuming a normal bell curve, the IQs of 25% of students are below average. The majority of these children need explicit skills teaching to learn to read. When you add to this the 3-10% of children with an average IQ and dyslexia, we are now talking about 30% of children and this still doesn’t include children in neither of the above categories who might have a language disorder, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder or Auditory Processing Disorder.

If we are serious about improving reading skills, we need to spend time providing explicit skills teaching. The value of running records is ignored if they are used to decide on promotion to the next reading level rather than for their primary purpose which is to find out where the student is having difficulty and what they need to be taught to progress.

That a minimum of 40 minutes/day be spent in junior primary classes on the explicit teaching of phonics, spelling rules and handwriting skills. At the beginning, this should be supported by the use of phonically-controlled books. Once students’ reading skills take off, then they can move to levelled books with confidence and achieve success.

Reference: Overcoming Dyslexia for Dummies by Tracey Wood, MEd
Angela Weeks -  Published in speld(sa) Spring 2007 Newsletter
Further Reading

Ending the Reading Wars: Reading Acquisition From Novice to Expert by Anne Castles, Kathleen Rastle, and Kate Nation,

Teaching decoding by Louisa Moats

How Spelling Supports Reading And Why It Is More Regular and Predictable Than You May Think by Louisa Moats

Whole-Language High Jinks: How to Tell When “Scientifically-Based Reading Instruction” Isn’t By Louisa Moats Foreword by Chester E. Finn, Jr., and Martin A. Davis, Jr

Levelled books for guided reading by Alison Clarke

Putting research into practice for teaching beginning readers: One school’s move to implement evidence based instruction by Principal, Steven Capp, BWPS

How to teach reading

Why SA schools must invest in decodable readers

Whole Language Lives On: The Illusion of Balanced Reading Instruction

This link outlines the literacy progression in the Australian Curriculum and emphasizes the need for students to apply knowledge with decodable texts

This  links outlines the skills of developing fluency using decodable texts and then moving onto what we would term levelled readers once decoding is firm.

Can I use decodable readers with PM readers



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