Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Spelling was actually the hardest subject for me to plan this summer. The result of using Saxon phonics for the past two years has been that M's spelling level does not fit neatly into a given grade level. She has been exposed to all spelling rules, but has not mastered all of them. Assigning words a grade level seems somewhat arbitrary anyway. She loves to write and needs to be able to spell the words that are stored in her mind. Sometimes those words are "on grade level" and sometimes they aren't.

So, I read and reread and reread the Rainbow Resources Catalog. If you don't have a copy, the web-site is helpful too. However, I continue to find the catalog an invaluable resource. After reading the spelling section of the catalog every night for a week I was still unsure about which spelling program would be the best fit for M. As a last ditch effort I call Rainbow Resources. If you think that the catalog is helpful, you should talk to them on the phone. Every time I have called Rainbow Resources I have gotten excellent help.

The customer service rep helped me rule out several workbooks that I had been considering. After twenty minutes of spelling talk I ordered the first two books in the sequential spelling program.

Sequential spelling is quite different from any other spelling program. If you fall into the "spelling is visual" camp you would love this program. The words are grouped based on patterns. So, in, sin, begin, and begins would all be on the same list. Grade level is not a consideration in this program. It is an interesting concept. I think that I would have benefited from this program in middle school. But, that was also the program's weakness. It would be great for an older student who is struggling with spelling. A student who has been exposed to spelling rules year after year and still can't spell correctly. At that point a different method is clearly needed, and sequential spelling would be a reasonable option.

My students are young. They have not been exposed to the rules of spelling for several years. I knew that I would have to keep looking when I read the foot note for the word pinned.

"there is no need at this time to encumber your students' minds with rules about doubling consonants"

So, how will they spell topped and mopped correctly? I might use the sequential spelling list as a way to break up the school year, as challenge lists, or for mock spelling bees. However, I know that my girls still need exposure to the rules of spelling.

I have finally bought Spelling Power. (This link is by far the best price that I could find) I did not want to use this program. The author has a 45 minute video about how to use the program. The manual is huge. I know that Scott will not find it easy to just pick up and review words with the girls. I am not sure that M will think that the review methods are as great as the author claims. So, why would I pick this program? Several reasons . . . .
  1. Students "test in", which means that my grade level dilemma will be solved
  2. the program is designed to be completed in 15 minutes a day and those 15 minutes are broken down into three 5 minute segments
  3. it is a 3rd-12th grade program; IF we like it I will not have to search for a new spelling program next year

The irony of this time consuming search is that Spelling Power is recommened by Tapestry of Grace. Sometimes we just have to arrive at something on our own.

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