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Spelling for Life

spelling knowledge diagramKnowing how to spell requires four basic strands of knowledge: visual, morphological, phonological and etymological. Deciding which strand to apply and when is a formidable task for teachers.

Our flagship program, Spelling for Life, is the subject of a Routledge book, an online course, a teacher-training workshop and a whole school in-service. We have also broken the subject of spelling down into key topics and are offering those as components of the greater body of knowledge that Spelling for Life encompasses. The links below will enlighten further.




Browse our list of topics:



primary school







Spelling for Life – new edition is here!

For a sneak preview of the foreword to Spelling for Life, click here.

The Simplicity and Science of Spelling

We would like to offer a means of taking this much-maligned and misunderstood subject and viewing it as a scientific system that evolved through various processes of selection to become an elegant, stable, law-abiding and satisfying means of communication. You just have to know certain things about it and it is best to learn those things in a certain order.

Teaching spelling is not so much to do with being able to explain all the rules and have all the reasons for exceptions readily available, but it’s about making the decision to construct a lesson using one or more of the following strategies:

• core rules,
• mnemonics,
• Word Families.

In Spelling for Life, much emphasis is placed on discovering why some words are exceptional, and in that discovery, we help to reveal a deeper rule-structure and thus avoid having to revert to the ‘just because…’ explanation of irregular words.

Developed over a period of ten years in a range of educational settings, Spelling for Life empowers teachers with the knowledge and confidence to conduct spelling lessons which engage and enhance.

Who is Spelling for Life for?

Some comments from teachers, speech and language professionals and educational psychologists who have attended the workshops/bought the text:

·      ‘I am going to be teaching this to my ESL (English as a Second Language) students.’

·      ‘I am looking forward to trying out this programme on my small groups in Special Programs.’

·      ‘I love it and think it will work, especially for children in middle years.’

·      ‘I am able to use these strategies throughout the whole school (K-6).’

·      ‘I have been working with some lower-functioning grade 5 students and my new skills will help me to help them.’

·      ‘If these techniques were taught at primary level, there would be a world of terrific spellers. Well done!’

·      ‘I have found it particularly useful for year 7 students having difficulty.’

·      ‘Very relevant to the work I am doing with students (school age and adult).’

·      ‘The Spelling For Life Program has given me tools to help my two teenage sons with dyslexia.’

For students:

·      Spelling for Life students need to have workable phonemic awareness. If not, they need prior work on this before beginning the program.

·      They need to be able to write legibly and reasonably quickly. Children just starting school typically do not have the vocabulary and motor skills required of the program.

·      Spelling for Life is a particularly popular addition to the secondary school English syllabus.

·      Adults who have difficulty spelling respond very positively to Spelling for Life.

·      Spelling for Life is used with great success in many English as a Second Language classes.

Order the book here.