The Language and Literacy Context

The Language and Literacy Context

In the English-speaking world like Britain, the USA, Canada and Australia, their governments insist that systematic phonics teaching provided at pre-reading stage accounts for better performance in language fluency, vocabulary knowledge and comprehension ability among school children.

Unlike the English-speaking world, Hong Kong schools do not emphasise on phonics teaching or phonics instruction especially in the primary level.  There is not much information giving guidelines or suggestions about phonics teaching even in the current EDB’s Curriculum Guide on English Language Education 2004.  On the other hand, many English language school teachers even with the benchmark requirements do not possess any teacher training in phonics instruction.  Some schools may implement phonics instruction on a ‘when-needed’ or incidental basis. Yet the learning effectiveness is not obvious.

It is not difficult to find that the local students’ assessment results reflect that there is a norm for the spelling mistakes committed by our students and the Read-Aloud-and-Spell Phonics is specially-designed to cater for the patterned weaknesses.


Some Common and Patterned Norms of Spelling Mistakes in the Hong Kong Context

Spelling mistakes in common

Correct spelling


gril girl  





Lack of phonemic awareness in letter-sound relationships

frist first
Firday Friday
tiolet toilet
voilin violin
hoilday holiday
tired tried
tried tired
quiet quite
quite quiet
panio piano
pinic picnic
speacil special
left lift


The patterned norm of spelling mistakes reflects that the local students lack phonemic awareness to decode new words and vocabulary in the acquisition of language skills in association, correspondence and internalization of letter-sound relationships during their language learning.


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