The teaching and learning of spelling, punctuation and grammar in our classrooms has been on the rise over the past couple of years. We are now faced with a national curriculum that requires primary-age children to know about nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, but also a plethora of grammatical terms and concepts that can be difficult to grasp at such a young age.

Teaching these difficult terms can be intimidating and daunting because we were never taught what is now expected of our young students. Or perhaps it is sometimes perceived as just too boring. We are all probably guilty of cutting our SPaG lessons out of our day in order to get reading, writing and maths finished too.

So how can we ensure that we are effectively teaching spelling, punctuation and grammar as supply teachers?

Take advantage of online resources

Don’t reinvent the wheel. There are an astounding number of resources online created by educators with great ideas. Finding a SPaG lesson on the internet can take 30 seconds and the best part, loads of them are free! Googling a SPaG lesson is also great if you get to a school and find that there has been no planning for you. A quick and easy solution rather than creating something for yourself!

YouTube – your new best friend

Just search SPaG in YouTube and you will be blown away by the amount of fun and educational songs and videos that come up. Find out from the students what element of SPaG they have been focusing on with their classroom teacher and search for a related clip. Children love interactive videos that they can dance, chant, sing or rap along to. You will have them engaged in seconds plus this is a great tool for visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners.

Incorporate SPaG across the curriculum

Isolated SPaG lessons can be beneficial, but introducing SPaG across the curriculum can be even more powerful. Reading and writing always go together and our students are writing in topic, RE and handwriting lessons too! Introduce spelling, punctuation and grammar focuses throughout these lessons too so that children are always thinking about how important spelling, punctuation and grammar are in all subjects.

Engage your students

Children need to be stimulated to write and, once that happens, they will want others to read their work and understand what they mean. At that point, spelling, punctuation and grammar have a tangible purpose and the children are more likely to grasp the concepts and continue to use them. Providing ample opportunities for student’s to share their writing with their peers is another great idea as they can give each other constructive feedback around their spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Increase your classroom library

Again, reading and writing go together.They complement each other and children learn both skills somewhat simultaneously. Having lots of reading material for children to choose from – both factual and fictional – is an absolute must. If they enjoy reading, then they are more likely to enjoy writing! Take an excerpt from their favourite books and rewrite it with incorrect spelling, punctuation and grammar to create a SPaG hunt. They will love pointing out how wrong you are!

Children need to be stimulated to write and, once that happens, they will want others to read their work and understand what they mean. At that point, spelling, punctuation and grammar have a real purpose and they are more likely to grasp the concepts and continue to use them.