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    > ...Strategies Episodes
    > ...Strategies Theme Tune
    > ...Strategies Notes
    > ...Strategies Pictures
    > ...Spellits Episodes
    > ...Spellits Theme Tune
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ON TV:Regularly repeated on BBC Two and the CBBC Channel
ON VIDEO:All available on various videos and DVDs from the BBC
> More information on the official BBC Schools Programme Guide

Spelling Strategies Introduction

A pair of related sets of programmes - it would be pushing it too far to call them 'stories'. These units do what no Look and Read programme has ever done before: they actually teach reading and writing skills and show kids how to spell, using the three Spellit animated characters - Eye Spellit, Ear Spellit and Brain Spellit. These are the most explicitly educational Look and Read units ever, with the teacher's notes justifying this with lots of delicious long words like 'kinaesthetic' and 'metacognitive awareness'. They are fun and interesting, but completely redefine what Look and Read is actually about. There's more on the new style of the programme in the general notes below. This page is split up into two sections for each of the units of programmes.

Spelling Strategies | Spelling With The Spellits

Spelling Strategies Spelling Strategies

Spelling Strategies Episode Listings

AKA Spell It Out...

1.   Spell It Out 1
(Eye Spellit: Find the tricky bit / Ear Spellit: Say it silly / Brain Spellit: Make up a mnemonic)
The first of three programmes for 7- to 9-year-olds offering hot tips for tackling spelling, with animation, songs and comic sketches.
2.   Spell It Out 2
(Eye Spellit: Look out for letter teams / Ear Spellit: Seg-ment in-to syll-a-bles / Brain Spellit: Find little words in big words)
In this edition, the Ears take to the stage to spell 'remember' and the Brains daringly break little words out of bigger words.
3.   Spell It Out 3
(Eye Spellit: Spot the doubles / Ear Spellit: Talk like Mr Toffee-Nose / Brain Spellit: Look for word families)
The Eyes do a double-take when they are faced with double letter words and the whole team get together for some community singing.

Spelling Strategies Theme Tune

The Spelling Strategies theme tune was an all-instrumental job.

Download MP3 file music by Stephen Chadwick, no lyrics
MP3 file: 10 seconds, 120 kb

> CLICK HERE for the Downloads section, including this and several other theme tunes.

Spelling Strategies Notes

The BBC Primary Catalogue for 2001-2002 gives the sales pitch for Spelling Strategies:
     Television has a great gift for explaining and demonstrating the complexities of the English language. In this three-part special, the sometimes frustrating process of learning to spell is given a humorous new dimension through a mix of sketches, animations and practical tips. Written and produced by the team that brought you the BAFTA award-winning* English Express Texts, these enjoyable programmes bring spelling strategies to life for the Look and Read audience.
* - they got the 2000 Schools BAFTA for their third episode,
Football Texts.

     Each programme is constructed in short, modular sequences. You can choose to view only the particular point that matches your teaching concerns - or you can view an uninterrupted 15-minute session, revisiting the sequences which help to demonstrate or reinforce selective strategies. The programme will also:
  • introduce and develop dictionary skills
  • encourage aural discrimination of initial, medial and final syllables and segmentation strategies
  • offer opportunities to investigate word patterns, roots and families
  • test children's knowledge of words, both individually and in context.

Here is a list of all of the broadcasts of this unit on the BBC. Unless your teachers managed to get the video recorder to work, this is when you would have seen it in school. See the Air Dates section for precise dates and times.
      Spring 2002, BBC2
      Spring 2003, BBC2
      Autumn 2003, CBBC
      Spring 2004, BBC2
      Spring 2004, CBBC
      Autumn 2004, CBBC
      Spring 2005, BBC2
      Spring 2005, CBBC
      Autumn 2005, BBC2

Spelling Strategies Picture Gallery

Title caption: the Look and Read name (not even Look and Read Special) is prominent BBC2 continuity slide: only the Look and Read name is used.

Eye Spellit Ear Spellit

Brain Spellit Control

A comedy sketch Mr Toffee-Nose

Spelling With The Spellits Spelling With The Spellits

Spelling With The Spellits Episode Listings

AKA Spelling Rules.

The first two episodes are for Year 3s, the next two for Year 4s and so on. So sometimes they get called "Year 3 Programme 1", "Year 5 Programme 2" or whatever. Or other times they use the congregate year groups, like "Year 3/4 Programme 1" up to "Year 5/6 Programme 4". Those below are the on-screen 'titles'.

1.   Programme One
Educational series for 7- to 9-year-olds tackling spelling with animation, songs and comic sketches. This programme focuses on suffixes, prefixes and plural words ending in Y.
2.   Programme Two
This programme focuses on comparatives, superlatives, suffixes and apostrophes.
3.   Programme Three
In this programme, long and short vowels, past-tense endings and suffixes.
4.   Programme Four
This programme focuses on prefixes, suffixes and possessive apostrophes.
5.   Programme Five
Eyes, Ear and Brain deal with plural words with different endings and hard and soft 'c'.
6.   Programme Six
Eyes, Ears and Brain deal with homophones, silent 'e' endings and the 'i before e' rule.
7.   Programme Seven (Revision)
8.   Programme Eight (Revision)
Eyes, Ears and Brain review prefixes and suffixes, words with a final silent e and the use of apostrophes.

Spelling With The Spellits Theme Tune

The Spelling With The Spellits theme tune was an all-instrumental job.

Download MP3 file music by Ronnie Paris, no lyrics
MP3 file: 20 seconds, 241 kb

> CLICK HERE for the Downloads section, including this and several other theme tunes.

Spelling With The Spellits Notes

Introduction to the programmes from the BBC Primary Catalogue for 2002-2003:
     Children can brush up their strategies for remembering those tricky spelling rules with Ears, Eyes and Brain, the animated Spellits characters who use their senses when it comes to spelling. Using humour and surprise, programmes will offer a very wide and vivid range of ways to learn specific spelling rules.

     These new programmes for Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 use animated characters and comedy sketches to bring the National Curriculum and spelling rules alive. Programmes for Year 6 will recap and reinforce the strategies covered in earlier programmes. This fun and engaging series is directly linked to the N[ational] L[iterary] S[trategy], which requires children to investigate rules and patterns.

Here is a list of all of the broadcasts of this unit on the BBC. Unless your teachers managed to get the video recorder to work, this is when you would have seen it in school. See the Air Dates section for precise dates and times.
      Autumn 2002, BBC2 (episodes 1-4 only)
      Spring 2003, BBC2 (episodes 5-8 only)
      Spring 2003, CBBC (episodes 1-4 only)
      Summer 2003, BBC2
      Summer 2003, CBBC
      Autumn 2003, CBBC
      Autumn 2003, BBC2
      Spring 2004, CBBC
      Summer 2004, BBC2
      Summer 2004, CBBC (twice, but episodes 1-4 only the second time)
      Autumn 2004, BBC2
      Autumn 2004, CBBC
      Spring 2005, CBBC (episodes 1-2 only)
      Summer 2005, CBBC
      Autumn 2005, BBC2
      Autumn 2005, CBBC
      Spring 2006, CBBC (episodes 5-8 only)

Spelling With The Spellits Picture Gallery

Title caption: the phrase Look and Read is nowhere to be found and in fact does not appear on screen at all BBC2 continuity slide using both 'Look and Read' and the unit title.

The Spellits investigate superlatives Paul Bigley (Dad out of Captain Crimson) becomes one of only about five actors ever to have appeared in two unrelated Look and Read stories.


So why has Look and Read stopped being all about exciting drama serials and started just teaching grammar? Series producer Karen Johnson explains:
"Look and Read is our sole English/Literacy unit for [Key Stage] 2a, so it has to encompass everything that Literacy teachers need - the pressures on teachers now indicate a desire for shorter units and units heavily focussed on the Literacy strategy. The programmes are always planned with expert Literacy advice and I'm very proud of the efforts we make to support our teaching colleagues as effectively as possible in their work. With far less class time available for extended TV viewing, we still intend to provide the best possible service for teachers and pupils."
So the answer is: times have changed. There are now ridiculous government strategies and targets in primary education and there is no longer really any space left for term-long, 10-part drama serials in schools.


The BBC have an official Spellits website which features a quest of nine language games to solve, collecting clues to help two kids out of a maze. Well up to the standard of the other online Look and Read games.

> CLICK HERE for more general links about Look And Read and schools TV.

Picture Gallery

An Eye Spellit tip An Ear Spellit tip

A Brain Spellit tip Mr Toffee-Nose

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