Reading and Spelling Strategies

MQF Level: 7

ECTS Value: 2 ECTS

Duration: 4 Sessions

Contact Hours: 10

Self Study Hours: 24

Assessment Hours: 16


Module Description

Educators require strategies to be able to use and implement a balanced literacy approach in their classroom. During this module, participants will become familiar with phonics and word study, which are essential elements that need to be included when teaching students with reading difficulties.

The module will focus on the following key areas:

  1. Reading and spelling strategies;
  2. Phonics and word work;
  3. Identification of student’s difficulties in reading and how to address these difficulties.

Overall Objectives and Outcomes

By the end of this module, the learner will be able to:


a) Plan and develop reading and spelling strategies within a scaffolded literacy programme with the involvement of parents/caregivers;

b) Explicitly and effectively teach concepts or word recognition and phonics;

c) Effectively teach all steps in a decoding and encoding lesson, including single-word reading and connective text that is read fluently, accurately and with appropriate intonation and expression;

d) Direct students’ attention to speech sounds, reading, spelling and vocabulary instruction during reading instruction.


a) Determine 1st and 2nd language phonemic systems as appropriate and identify the most
challenging sounds; 

b) Define grapheme as a functional correspondence unit or representation of a phoneme; 

c) Explain how to order phonic concepts from easier to more difficult; 

d) Explain common orthographic rules and patterns in English and Maltese; 

e) Understand the reciprocal associations of phoneme processing, reading, spelling and vocabulary; 

f) Distinguish the difference between high-frequency words and tricky/irregular words; 

g) Identify printed words that are the exception to regular patterns and spelling principles; 

h) Describe reading and spelling development and which areas require attention (decoding, word
building, phonological awareness and comprehension); 

i) Outline a complete lesson format, from the introduction of a word recognition concept to taught
application in meaningful reading and writing activities.


a) Understand and analyse the principles of explicit and direct reading: model, lead, guided practice and review; 

b) Anticipate which sounds may be most challenging for 2nd language learners and the difference between the two systems; 

c) Accurately map graphemes and phonemes in any English and Maltese word; d) plan lessons with a cumulative progression of word recognition skills; 

e) Apply concepts to reading style words and phrases, and connected text.

Mode of Delivery

This module adopts a blended approach to teaching and learning. Information related to the structure and delivery of the module may be accessed through the IfE Portal. For further details, kindly refer to the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy and Procedures found on the Institute for Education’s website.

Assessment Methods

This module will be assessed through: Practical Task and Analysis

Suggested Readings

Core Reading List

1) Firman, C. (2009) Perspectives from Malta. Perspectives on Language and Literacy, 35(1), pp. 28-31. 

2) Johnson, P., Keier, K. (2010) ‘Beyond “Shout It Out”‘, in Johnson, Keier, P. K. ed. (2010) Catching Readers Before They Fall: Supporting Readers Who Struggle, K-4. USA: Stenhouse, pp. 51-69. 

3) Moats, L. (2009) Knowledge Foundations for Teaching Reading and Spelling in Read Writ 22: pp. 379–399 [Online] DOI 10.1007/s11145-009-9162-1, Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 

4) Sammut, R. (2015) The design of a Maltese Literacy Programme for the early years. Malta Review of Educational Research. Volume 9, No.1, Special Issue, pp. 5-23 Faculty of Education©, UoM. 

5) Rupley, W., Blair, T., Nichols, W. (2009) ‘Effective Reading Instruction for Struggling Readers: The Role of Direct/Explicit Teaching, Reading & Writing Quarterly’. Overcoming Learning Difficulties [Online] 25, (2-3) pp. 125-138.

Supplementary Reading List

1) Firman, C. (2007) A Study of Word-level Decoding Skills of 7-year-old Maltese Children in a Bilingual Environment. 

2) Firman C. (1984) Reading and Writing Difficulties Encountered by Some Children: Dyslexia? 

3) Westwood, P. (2014) ‘Word study’, Teaching Spelling: Exploring commonsense strategies and best practices (Westwood, ed) UK: Routledge, pp. 33-38. 

4) Williams, C., et al. (2009) Word Study Instruction in the K–2 Classroom in The Reading Teacher, [Online] 62(7), pp. 570–578, International Reading Association, DOI:10.1598/RT.62.7.3

5) Williams, C., Lundstrom, R. P. (2007) Strategy Instruction During Word Study and Interactive Writing Activities in The Reading Teacher, [Online] 61 (3), pp. 204–2, International Reading Association, DOI:10,1598/RT.61.3 

6) Kieffer, M. J., Lesaux, N.K. (2007) Breaking Down Words to Build Meaning: Morphology, Vocabulary, and Reading Comprehension in the Urban Classroom in The Reading Teacher, [Online] 61 (2), pp. 134–14, International Reading Association, DOI:10,1598/RT.61.2

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