August 2019

books that teach letters photo

Books that Teach Letters and Sounds

Books that  teach letters and sounds are great for reinforcing knowledge. When you help your learners appreciate and love books from an early age, it accelerates their understanding of the topic you have discussed. People store their thoughts in books and so when we read books, we are taking in stored knowledge. When children begin to read either the letters of the English Alphabet or blending two and three letter… Read More »Books that Teach Letters and Sounds

This Week on Diction Avenue

How would you feel if your five year old comes home to spell and pronounce some words for you? What if this same child were able to face TV cameras and lights to make that same presentation? No doubt you will feel really proud of her and will want everyone to see what an intelligent daughter you have. Diction Avenue was really entertaining yesterday as Elisa Azu of Agape bundles… Read More »This Week on Diction Avenue

ICCOM Searches for Speechmasters

Individuals with a flair for public speaking in Nigeria now have the opportunity to be crowned Speechmasters. The Institute of Certified Communicators(ICCOM), producers of Diction Avenue, the longest running English language based educational programme on Nigerian Television, the Speechmasters Court and GrillandRead have come together to bring to you, a first of its kind National Speaking Competition tagged the ICCOM Speechmasters  National Contest. The Speechmasters Contest is open to pupils,… Read More »ICCOM Searches for Speechmasters

Letter sounds picture

How to Teach Letter Sounds

Letter sounds are used for reading and speaking. These letters are often represented by special symbols. In this article, we will learn how to teach these letter sounds. How to Teach Letter Sounds As we have already learnt, the English alphabet is made up of 26 letters. The letters are used for Spelling and writing. The English language is also different from our Nigerian languages because while in our native… Read More »How to Teach Letter Sounds

Please upload your video entry

Please upload your video entry below. Note: Your video entry should be in mp4 format. File upload limit is 45MB. Your video entry should not be more than two minutes (junior category) or three minutes (senior category) Ensure that the background of the video is a solid colour with no advertisement whatsoever. Ensure that your dress does not contain any advertisement whatsoever. If your video entry contains any advertisement whatsoever,… Read More »Please upload your video entry

Diction Avenue: Pupil’s Presentation Aug 14

It was the turn of Little Lights School Ipaja and Duke Hall School Alagbado to make presentations on Diction Avenue. The duo of Christopher and Mercy put up a brilliant performance as they wowed the viewers. While Christopher talked about the sound for letter J, Mercy took us down the reading lane. As usual, Abigail Anaba anchored the show. Download and watch the pupils presentation below or watch the full… Read More »Diction Avenue: Pupil’s Presentation Aug 14

Photos News: ICCOM TalkShop at Owerri

The Institute of Certified Communicators held a talkshop at Owerri, the Imo State Capital starting Monday. The talk Shop brought together the members of staff and one hundred educators from various schools in the state. Participants received refresher talks on how to keep the ‘speak right’ flag flying in their state. Photos after the cut…

How to Teach Spelling

Do you know how to teach spelling? You may be one of those teachers who enjoy giving dictation. For example, you may understand how important learning how to spell is to learning how to read. You know that when a person is able to recognize the letters that spell a word, he would be more likely able to pronounce the word. But do you have lessons where you teach the learners how to spell?

Some teachers think that spelling is something that is acquired naturally as students learn how to read. They do not  think it is necessary to give deliberate instruction on spelling.  However, learners can be taught how to figure out the spelling of a word using different strategies depending on their age and level of understanding. In this post, we explain how to teach spelling to beginning learners by breaking words into parts.

Some Technical Words Explained

When teaching spelling, there are some concepts you need to understand. Understanding these concepts will better equip you to give purposeful instruction in spelling.  Here are some terminologies you should be aware of. We will be using them as we continue to talk about spelling:


The smallest unit into which a word can be broken.


The sound or sounds at the beginning of the syllable. In the word “Cat”, the onset is “C”; in the word “Stop”, the onset is “St”.


This is the open part of the syllable after the onset is removed. It is most likely a vowel. Going back to our earlier example, in the word “Cat”, the Peak is “a” while in the word “Stop”, the peak is “o”.


This refers to any consonant sound that ends a syllable. In the word “Cat”, the coda is “t. In “Stop”, it is “p”.


This is the peak and the coda. For two words to rhyme, they must share the same peak and coda.  So in “Cat” the rhyme is “at” while in “Stop”, the rhyme is “op”.

Closed Syllable:

When a syllable has a Coda, it is said to be a closed syllable. The syllable “Met” is closed because it  has a coda “t”. The vowels in closed syllables are usually short.

Open Syllable:

When a syllable does not have a Coda, it is said to be an open syllable.The syllable “Me” is open because it ends in the peak “e” and does not have a coda.  The vowels in open syllables are generally long.

Syllabic Structure:

Syllabic structure refers to how syllables are formed. There are six ways based on the grouping of consonants (C) and vowels (V) in a word. They are: V, CV, VC, CVC, CCVC, CCCVC, CCCVCCC, and VCCCC

Teaching spelling while teaching reading

When you begin to teach the pupils to read, you should give them spelling instructions too. This is why we recommended teaching the names of letters along with their sounds.  When the learners are able to differentiate between letter names and sounds from an early age, they find it easier to learn how to spell. Also when they are taught how syllables are formed they are better able to learn how to spell.

For example, we generally start teaching reading using two letter rhymes e.g -at, -ed, -ut  and on and then we introduce the onset c-at, r-ed, b-ut and then we move on to teach open syllables we, she, me. Teaching the learners why Me is /mi:/ and not /me/ and that if “t” is added to “me” it becomes /met/ and not /mi:t/ will prepare them to spell words which contain these syllables.

Breaking words into parts

Every English word can be broken into parts, a word has a least one part and some words have several. The longest word in English as recognized by Webster’s pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis has nineteen parts. No matter how long a word is, if you can break it into parts, you have a better chance being able to spell the word. This is because we can easily hear the patterns when we break the words into syllables.

For example, the longest word in the dictionary does not seem so scary when you break it into nineteen syllables or parts and say each part as if it was a word standing on its own. By listening to how the word is said, you can spot the open and closed syllables and spell them accordingly.

Let’s break the word down and see

Pneu     mo         no           ul            tra          mi           cro          sco         pic          sil

i            co             vol          ca            no           co           ni            o             sis

As you can see, the same principles apply for long words and for short words.

Other things to note about how to teach spelling

Just as you break words into parts before you spell them, when you spell out, you also say the words in the chunks in which you have broken them. The letters that spell a word are grouped and said together based on their syllabic structure. When the word has just one syllable, then we spell it based on their formation: Onset, Peak and Coda. Of course, you do not teach the children these terminologies, but you should consistently apply them as you teach reading and spelling.

There are other methods you can use to teach spelling as the learners move to higher levels. For example, you may teach the learners how to spot words within words. Learning the etymology or origin of words can also help with spelling.

A Sample Lesson Plan



Switch and Spell


But, bet, bid, cut, cot, dot, dog, got


Pupils will be able to spell 100% of the words in the day’s lesson


Pupils will be able to spell 75% of the words in the day’s lesson, pronounce the words and add the words to their word bank




Ring a bell, ruffle papers, bang a desk, play music or make some other sound.

Ask the pupils what sounds they know.

Listen while they make the sounds they love.

Remind the pupils that letters have sounds.

Ask for volunteers to give you letter names and sounds or say a letter name and ask pupils to give you the sounds or give letter sounds and ask for the letter names.


Show the base word by bringing the flashcards together.

Demonstrate switching sounds by replacing a different letter until you have completely new words.

Show the pupils where you started and how replacing each letter produces a different word.

Use another example to clarify also showing how replacing each letter creates a new word.


Call out the words in the day’s lesson and have the pupils write what they hear in their notebooks

Checking for Understanding

The teacher goes round the class and checks pupils notebooks.

The teacher gives individual attention to pupils who are not getting it right. Repeat the words slowly and help pupils identify the switched sounds.


Explain how switching sounds helps to learn to spell and red new words.

Review the examples given.


Grade the pupil’s work and give additional one on one help where needed.

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