Pathways to Spell – Primary School Spelling Programme

An innovative and engaging spelling programme to fascinate pupils about words. It is a research-based series of lessons following a Review, Explain, Practise, Apply and Reflect model.

Inclusive, supportive and fully resourced

Pathways to Spell is an inspiring programme that provides clear progression in the teaching of spelling from year 1 to year 6. It develops pupils’ confidence with spelling across the curriculum and enables teachers to identify and address common spelling issues.



Proven methodology

Create a school of spellers

With this programme, we will help you create a school of spellers who are equipped with a series of strategies to draw upon both in lessons and in their independent writing. Unlike other spelling programmes, there is a cycle of review objectives covering the whole curriculum to ensure gaps in learning are constantly revisited. This is another high-quality product from The Literacy Company which comes fully resourced with PowerPoints, supports teachers’ subject knowledge and workload, and engages pupils of all abilities.

Progressive and research based

Pathways to Spell is our progressive spelling programme for schools which covers the whole national curriculum for year 1 to year 6. Based on research and pedagogically sound, it follows a Review, Explain, Practise, Apply and Reflect model.

Key elements of Pathways to Spell

Pathways to Spell is designed for whole-class teaching of the primary national curriculum objectives for spelling from year 1 to year 6. It is a comprehensive and progressive programme with a clear, research-based teaching sequence.

Learning sessions are structured and last 20-30 minutes, with 4 sessions per week in KS1 and 3 sessions in KS2, over 1-2 weeks.

Pathways to Spell sequences learning into five stages:


Revisit previously taught spelling objectives


Explore and investigate new words and spellings


Practise using new rules or patterns through a variety of multi-sensory activities


Apply the rules with greater independence within sentences


Think about strategies that helped new learning stick

Our picks

Package pricing

A ‘Pathways School’ is defined as a school with a whole package of either Pathways to Read, Pathways to Write or Pathways to Progress.
All prices are subject to VAT.

Pathways School
Full package (year 1 - year 6)£395
KS1 package (year 1 - year 2)£180
KS2 package (year 3 - year 6)£315
Single year group package£115

We use Pathways to Write in our school. How do the two programmes work together?

Although Pathways to Spell can be used as a stand-alone programme, it can also link to pupils’ writing in Pathways to Write. Where applicable, example words and sentences in Pathways to Spell have been chosen to link to the texts in Pathways to Write. By doing this, pupils get to practise the words and rules in context and can then use these in their writing. In KS2, the focus word list words have also be arranged so that each half term matches with Pathways to Write.

Can Pathways to Spell be used in a mixed age setting?

Yes, the year 3/4 and year 5/6 would be fairly straightforward for mixed age, as the spelling curriculum is designed as a 3/4 and 5/6 curriculum. Therefore, you could deliver year 3 one year and then use the year 4 resources the following year making adaptations as needed with the hierarchy sheets. Regarding year 1/2, the best way would be to teach in groups as you would with phonics, as you really need to teach matched with where the pupils are at. Some pupils will still be doing their phonics anyway and Pathways to Spell spends time going over many of the phase 6 principles.

If this is a progressive programme, will the younger aged pupils within a mixed age class be unable to access the learning without having had the prior knowledge?

When Pathways to Spell was written, we listed all the year 3/4 and year 5/6 spelling patterns and divided them in two. We gave what we felt were the harder patterns to year 4 and year 6 and the more straightforward ones to year 3 and year 5. However, there wasn’t much between them. Both the year 3 and the year 4 units build on year 2 teaching so the prior knowledge required is year 2. Both the year 5 and the year 6 units build on year 3/4 teaching so the prior knowledge required is year 3/4. You can be reassured for the lower year groups in the mixed age class that they will cover some review objectives – your teachers may feel that the lower year group pupils spend more time focusing on the review section.

Why do the year 1 resources start in the spring term?

This is to allow schools to focus on the reading elements of their chosen SSP programme during the autumn term. We will then pick up the national curriculum statements for spelling which you can continue to teach alongside your chosen SSP programme. In year 2, we will then continue with the national curriculum statements but will continue to build on phonics teaching and strategies.

How do you suggest year 1 begin? Our SSP is very prescriptive all the way to the end of spring 2. It then becomes revision.

We would suggest that year 1 start in spring 1 with a short 10 minute session (possibly as a starter to your English lesson). This allows the SSP programme to focus on the reading skills in the autumn and then Pathways to Spell will ensure the spelling objectives are being taught discretely. These can then link and be applied further in your writing sessions. Depending on the SSP programme you are following, you could look at any spelling being taught and cross reference with Pathways to Spell. If you feel there is a crossover, you could skip these bits or use for further application/revision.

Do you offer any staff CPD for schools that are launching Pathways to Spell for the first time or do you think if I get the resources ready for the teachers and show the videos it will be quite self-explanatory?

The programme is designed to be launched in school with the minimum of additional support. The introductory video and the methodology provide a good overview of the programme.  However, if you would like additional training to answer any staff queries and explain some of the subtleties of the programme please contact us here. This can be arranged at an additional cost.

Do schools tend to do Pathways to Spell as part of their English lesson or separate stand-alone lesson?

Most schools do a separate spelling session. We would suggest 3 times a week for 20-25 minutes (5 times a week in KS1 but for a shorter length of time). Some schools do it at the same time as phonics e.g. 9.00-9.30 or just before/straight after lunch. The key to making progress in spelling is to deliver it regularly in a ‘protected time’ like you would with phonics.

Do schools tend to do Pathways to Spell recording in a separate spelling journal or within their English book?

A spelling journal works best as you want pupils to have a bit more freedom to ‘play’ with words and not have to do best work.

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