Spelling Rules Algorithms

Age: 5-7 years (although can be adapted for other years)

Type: Unplugged

Curriculum Links to: English

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In this short unplugged spelling activity, pupils explore the graphemes for a particular phoneme (its spelling rules), as chosen by you. They start to understand what algorithms are, and use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple algorithms.


  • I know what an algorithm is.
  • I understand that spelling rules can be thought of as algorithms.
  • I can predict what a simple algorithm will do by using a spelling rule.
  • I can use the ‘or’ phoneme (or other phoneme you are learning).


  • You could assess pupils’ answers to specific questions and jottings on whiteboards or in their books related to rules. E.g. Have they used spelling rules to work out the spelling for a word? Can they say a spelling rule is an algorithm?

LESSON TIMING: 20 – 30 min

This lesson in your curriculum

Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities (TSPC)

Thinking, Problem-solving and Decision-Making

  • Sequence, order, classify, and make comparisons

Imagining, Generating, Inventing, Taking Risks for Learning

  • Make new connections between ideas /information

Being Collaborative, Being Sensitive to Others’ Feelings, Being Fair and Responsible

  • Listen actively and share opinions
  • Develop routines of turn-taking, sharing and co-operating
  • Take personal responsibility for work with others and evaluate their own contribution to the group

Language and Literacy (F/KS1)

Talking and Listening

  • Phonological awareness through Identifying and manipulating phonemes
  • Social use of language through initiating and joining in conversations in pairs and groups
  • Language and thinking through asking and answering questions, explaining, sharing their thoughts, taking part/contributing to group oral language activities
  • Recognise and talk about features of spoken language, showing phonological awareness


  • Understand that words are made up of sounds and syllables and that sounds are represented by letters) phoneme/grapheme awareness)
  • Talk with the teacher about ways in which language is written down, identifying phrases, words, patterns of letters and other features of written language
  • Recognise and notice how words are constructed and spelt


  • Begin to problem solve how to write using sound symbol correspondence as the first strategy
  • Use a variety of skills to spell words in their writing