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Word Detective is a sequence of activities that intensively focuses on individual high frequency words and explores all aspects of their make up.


The activities are supportive of orthographic mapping, a process that happens in the brain when children are learning to read. When orthographic mapping takes place in the brain for a written word it becomes stored in long-term memory and is available for us to retrieve with automaticity. We could say that the word is placed in our bank of ‘sight words’ or words we can read automatically ‘by sight’. 


Guided by the teacher or teaching assistant, the word is explored phonemically (at the individual phoneme or speech sound level), phonologically (at the syllable and sound string level and the sounds within them), visually (the letters or sound spellings) and the experience of movement to form the letters by writing them. 


It is strongly recommended that this resource is used within the context of wider reading and spelling instruction that includes phonemic awareness, systematic study of the alphabetic code, blending for reading, segmenting for spelling and reading words embedded in text i.e. a robust systematic phonics programme. The words should be investigated at the appropriate point in the progamme, matched to the phonics the pupil is working on.



Word Detective Orthographic Mapping Activity

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