This article describes essential teacher knowledge for teaching spelling, along with a description of how this knowledge may convert to effective classroom pedagogy. The article is the result of a study of 14 beginning teachers who were participants in a broader study of their experience of teaching literacy in the first year in the classroom after graduation. The broad aim of the study was to determine if there were changes that could be made to their teacher preparation that would better prepare them to teach literacy in their first year teaching in the classroom. Teaching spelling was quickly identified as an area of literacy in which they were struggling. They were nervous about their own spelling skills but also had a limited pedagogy for spelling. The article describes the spelling knowledge they needed to have, with reference to the challenges they faced and presents the changes that were subsequently made to the teacher preparation of future teachers at the university from which they graduated.