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Spelling can be such a struggle for so many children when they are developing their literacy skills.

At the first stage of learning, they need to develop their phonological processing skills (speech sound processing) and their phonological awareness skills (speech sound awareness skills). The first is developed by the brain growing and engineering itself (eg. auditory memory, auditory discrimination, sound synthesis, the sound chain length, the sound processing speed, capacity to hold-store-retrieve and manipulate sound information), whilst the other is taught as skills (ie. rhyming, sound decoding, sound encoding, blending sounds, segmenting sounds in words, syllabification, sound identification manipulation). The Phonic All Star program assists to teach kids these skills in a fun and exciting way and you can order the basic starter pack to get you on the way to success. This assists kids to learn the first stage o acquiring their literacy skills for PREP and Grade 1 skills.

Phonic All Stars Katrine Elliott Optimal Communications Speech therapy resources articulation therapy speech impairment auditory processing impairment

Once these skills are achieved, then students then progress to understanding spelling rules which include skill development at the orthographic stage of literacy. This is a cool stage because in therapy, I can teach a spelling rule in 15 minutes and kids are then able to read 300 words straight after that. It is an enormous confidence booster for students that have struggled with reading for such a long time. They can’t believe how easy it is … and they then trust the process further and start to enjoy the next stages of therapy. This can also be for student that have been stuck with their reading level for many years. We have a cool job!

The phonic all star program takes kids further to teach these skills but I also love the resource from Susan Galletly- When two vowels go walking…as a great resource to help kids to learn these spelling rules such as Bossy E/ two vowels go walking/ r rules/y rules/Cry baby rules.

After this stage in therapy, I start to expose the kids to the craziness of English spelling and they get all their questions answered. This next stage is the spelling variations or spelling choices. What this means is that in our Australian English Written spelling we have a system of spelling rules for phonemes (speech sounds). These can assist students ability to guess by limiting down the sample of choices. Natural readers do this automatically whilst kids in speech therapy at our practice need this to be explicitly taught.

How come the word SWAN has an “a” sound when it is said as an  “o” sound.

I don’t understand why SAUSAGE is spelt with an -AU- for the sound “o”.

We use a scaffolded and structured system to make this simple and fun.

The student use a spelling guide to isolate the target sound. This directs them to the number on the Phonic All Star Level 2 Cards. Then they work with us to determine which is the correct way to spell words using the choices on the cards that are made available. We have activities that support this for spelling base on the individual speech sounds and Phonic All Star characters. ie. Ursula Early Bird likes the sound ER  (fern):But also spells her sound using UR (burn)- IR (bird)- OR (worm)-EAR (pearl) and – URE (furniture).

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The process of using the Level 2 Phonic All Star Cards, the Phonic All Star Folder Guide makes written tasks far more enjoyable and make sense for students. The program is developed to be a tool to use with all reading, spelling and writing tasks. So it works best when you sit down and help your child do their home work and guide them through the process using the Cards as a tool. I always have them close by on my desk and then single out the spelling rule at any time ie. BREAD. Dis you notice the EA is saying the short -“e” sound such as Elvis Egg such as “e’…not the long “ee” sound such as Teeth Thief-eeeeeee. Lets look at the card to check. I can see it’s the same spelling rule that is used in the words: head, spread, dead, meant, breakfast. I use the Phonic All Star Spelling Lists for that extension work.

The Spelling Variation breakfast tablemats are activities that enable the students to focus on a sound group and then to work out which spelling variation is used in the words on the activities. This task helps to consolidate the spelling of the words and utilises the skills of phonological processing in addition to sketch pad memory.

Watch the video as Katrine also teaches a really novel way of teaching your child the spelling choices using a GRAPHEME BELT or LETTER BELT. Again, this is where we make therapy fun!


Yeeha-Yowee-&-Katrine3As part of your speech therapy and literacy therapy program at Once Upon A Time Therapy, you will get to work with the resources and see how they make such a difference to your therapy task for your home speech therapy program. The kids love the colour but also the structure and confidence they get from knowing how to understand the maze of how many spelling patterns and choices there are.

These resources are made available for you to order from us to make it easier for you to teach at home. My goal was to make the resources accessible as then families can save on the expense of private intensive therapy by being able to support a home program on their own. The teaching videos on SPEECH TUBE assist you to learn what to do when using each product.

If you go to this page, you can access the list of resource videos currently available.

Katrine Elliott is an experienced Certified Senior Speech Pathologist with over 20 years clinical practice supporting children and adults with communication and swallowing disorders/skills. As now part of a team at Optimal Communications, they built and developed the Once Upon A Time Therapy Centre in Southport-Gold Coast.