Teacher training workshops

Extending our commitment in the community


A comprehensive spelling programme

This workshop is intended to give you an overview of WordLab, including the theory, the pedagogy, the procedures and how the components of the resource can be used to improve spelling levels in your school.

You will see that finally there is a whole- school spelling programme that supplies everything you need. WordLab is entirely in digital format with a permanent school licence. You will also get an opportunity to work briefly with the procedures under the guidance of WordLab co-creator, Chuck Marriott.


  • provides a systematic and easily delivered programme for each level of the school, beginning at a new entrant’s first day at school and continuing to the end of year 8
  • acknowledges and teaches the early phonics skills and stretches older children’s knowledge with some challenging etymology and fascinating vocabulary lists.
  • provides simple, easily implemented weekly and daily plans.
  • has over 900 charts for teachers to use with their classes as they explore vocabulary and discover spelling patterns and word meanings and derivations.
  • Spelling brings with it a host of prejudices and opinions. There have been endless programmes and methods produced over the years, all of them aiming to improve on what has come before.
  • This is another programme, but with a very refreshing approach.
The NZ Curriculum and associated publications such as The Literacy Learning Progressions and National Standards specify vocabulary and spelling skills that children should gain as they move through the primary school.

WordLab is a resource to assist teachers in the implementation of these requirements.The programme provides an overview of the full breadth of spelling skills and knowledge, as well as comprehensive information for teachers on what should be taught and when.

We are not asking children to learn endless lists of words, but instead we are asking teachers to help children discover how our spelling system works. They will do this as they read charts, ask questions and learn together.

Having said that, there are 80 to 100 commonly used words (High Frequency OR Essential Words) for each level of the school and we believe that children should commit these to memory. Teachers will be able to help children look for clever ways of remembering them, and will test regularly to ensure that they are mastered.

By following this programme, children will gain knowledge of word meanings, understand the effect of prefixes and suffixes, discover spelling rules for themselves, and learn about the history of our language. They will learn to read words carefully, absorb the spelling patterns, and become knowledgeable spellers.

If this is done well, and lessons are kept short, lively and interesting then children will not only gain spelling skills, but they will make huge gains in reading and vocabulary knowledge.

WORDLAB is provided in fully electronic format with a permanent school licence. All resources can be printed, and some, such as the OUR WORDS tiles must be displayed on classroom walls so that children have ready access to them.

“I have worked in classes with teachers and observed them using SevenPlus with great success. I have also recommended AVAILLL and WordLab after observing these programmes achieving literacy gains… Chuck has extensive knowledge of literacy acquisition and development and assessment; keeps up to date with new research and has been a fantastic source of support and advice on new resources and new research. I have always found his recommendations very helpful.”Rosemarie Hensley, Resource Teacher for Literacy,Burnside Primary, Christchurch

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