Motivating Reading and Spelling Success with WordBlaze: Children speak out


Thank you to Victoria Bass of Cothill School for this WordBlaze case study

“I like how you ‘Cycle Africa’ and ‘Ski to the South Pole’ – it’s a target you’ve got to get to and so its (learning spellings) not boring”.

“The story and the challenge really make me want to get to the end”.

The Challenges:                                            

My Year 6 class at Cothill School is about to complete its second WordBlaze Challenge and has been fascinated and inspired by the journeys as they complete each week’s reading and spelling pattern.  

“I like the actual stories of the challenge” (the travel log at the end of each section).

“It’s good the way the trip is described in such detail”.

The challenge of each of these journeys has been to learn to read and spell words containing 22 different letter patterns, and for children to attain their personalised targets for weekly spelling tests and One Minute Wonders. 

They have been thrilled by their success, particularly if this success is celebrated with the weekly Sizzling Speller Award or the Artist of the Week Award (for the picture that includes a reference to the most words containing the week’s letter pattern).

The Word banks:

I find it really helpful that there are lots of columns and there are all the words on one page with the big letters like ‘aw’.  It helps me to see and hear them.”

“I like that the words get harder but start easy.  It shows you that it is a challenge to learn the last few words and makes me feel proud.”

“I like the ‘One Minute Wonder’ because then you can really improve as a challenge.”

“It helps that everything is neat and organized and easy to do.”

Drawing the pictures:

‘The pictures help me remember the words.  When I think of a word I remember the picture like for ‘Not now Brown Cow’!”

“I like the stories because that really helps me to remember the words.”

The Writing:

“Writing out the story really helps to get your handwriting better and to revise the words.

“When I write my own story I know the words because I wrote it myself.”

Most of the pupils in this class find reading and spelling difficult.

It has been very exciting to see their confidence and ability grow as they have learned to decode and spell long words that they never thought possible.

The ‘syllable strategy’ is vital!

However, using the word banks means that more words become automatic and do not need to be decoded, thanks to the practice necessary for the One Minute Wonder. Children are always keen to beat their previous time and their reading fluency has improved enormously.

Spelling and reading lessons have been fun and never a chore as they contain something for every type of learner: stories, pictures and lists of words leading to visual and auditory learning.  The short, satisfying activities mean that the pace is fast and stimulating.  The children are very proud of their challenge booklets and as one said, ‘ I like seeing the words in my book because then I know where I have got to.’ They are excited by their success and keen to beat their reading and spelling scores every week.

The Booklets:

These provide the children with a tangible record of their progress, which they can be proud of.

 “ I like seeing the words in my book because then I know where I have got to.”

Next year we will Run Australia and finally, the ultimate challenge of climbing Mount Everest!





Intervention and SEN, Reading and Ebooks, WordBlaze

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