Active Literacy is based on the principal that children learn letters and phonemes (sounds that letters make when together) that will help them read and spell many different words as opposed to just the words they have for spelling that particular week. They are building on their early exploration of single words and sounds.
‘Active’ in the case of learning does not mean physically moving around all the time! It means children engage with what they are learning, participate in the class, and work with each other. It means the children don’t just simply listen and memorise.
In school, the children practise their phonemes in various different ways every day to help build up their retention of each phoneme. For example – children may be learning the phoneme ‘ay’. They will get a list of words with the phoneme ‘ay’ in it (day, say, pay etc) and their main focus should be to learn the phoneme and build each word around it.
As they progress, they will start to meet different phonemes which sound the same ie. ‘ay’, ‘ai’, a-e (day, pain, same). By now they will start to recognise which phoneme it should be and they will be able to spell much more independently than before.
By the time they reach Stage 6 and 7, it is widely expected that they will have a secure phonetic knowledge from the previous five years. At this stage they begin to focus on words that will help them in daily life and as they move towards High School.
This whole approach, when followed through both at school and with the support of home, has shown fantastic results in the improvement of spelling across the curriculum.