Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spelling You See {A Review}

Spelling You See gave us a pdf download for Level D: Americana Instructor Handbook, Student Workbook Part 1, and Part 2 to review in advance of publication. NOW it is available to everyone in hard copy form, Spelling You See: Americana (Level D) comes as a student pack ($30) and an Instructor’s Handbook ($14) with an code to watch instructional videoes. And as a (Happy!) surprise bonus, Level B: Jack and Jill Instructor Handbook, Student Workbook Part 1 and Part 2, a pack of erasable colored pencils, and a Guide to Handwriting were sent to us as well. These products are meant for elementary ages and for remedial work for older students.

Happiness at Last
Being a Literacy Coordinator, I can tell you I've seen a lot of spelling programs. This is the first that I've been excited about! Spelling You See is a natural way to learn to spell. It utilizes short daily activities integrating writing, reading, speaking, and listening, focusing on long-term visual memory of letter patterns. 

Spelling You See is based on the five developmental stages of spelling that all children consistently move through while learning to spellPreliterate, Phonetic, Skill Development, Word Extension, and Derivational Constancy.

Here's the best part...There are no terribly, long weekly spelling lists, no memorization drills (that are quickly forgotten), no phonetic spelling (which teaches children to visualize the spellings incorrectly), no rules to memorize (that work less than half the time), no learning words in isolation or in contrived sentences, AND no weekly spelling tests. Hurrah!

The Levels
  • Listen and Write (Level A)-For children in kindergarten, moving from the preliterate stage (concepts about print) into the phonetic stage (letter/sound correspondence) of spelling.
  • Jack and Jill (Level B)-Uses nursery rhymes to introduce words to first grade children moving into the skill development stage.
  • Wild Tales (Level C)-Animal facts are utilized to teach the skill development stage (word patterns...this is the longest stage and lasts from first to fifth grade). Designed for second grade and 7-10 year olds that are struggling. 
  • Americana (Level D)-Nonfiction passages about American history and culture with a gradually increasing reading level, focusing on vocabulary development. Starting with grade 3 or over those over 10 years of age struggling with spelling.
  • American Spirit (Level E)-Nonfiction passages about people and events from American history with a gradually increasing reading level and focus on mastery of everyday words. This is for 4th grade or children in higher grades that are just starting the program.
Ancient Achievements (Level F) and Modern Milestones (Level G) are soon to come.

Check out the Program Overview for the programs philosophy, detailed information about the developmental stages, curriculum sequence, and placement guidelines.

So what does it look like?
~Americana: Level D~

Each passage is nonfiction and based on America. The child uses one passage a week.

Day 1-3: Parent reads the passage to the child. The child hunts for chunks, highlights with color indicated, does copywork for 10 minutes only, and highlights chunks in the copywork.

Day 4: Parent reads the passage to the child. The child hunts for chunks, and highlights with color indicated. The child writes the passage without looking as the parent slowly gives the child the words for 10 minutes only. If the child makes a mistake, the child stops right away and crosses out the word. Then parent gives the correct spelling.

Day 5: Parent reads the passage to the child. The child hunts for chunks, and highlights with color indicated. The child writes the passage without looking as the parent slowly gives the child the words for 10 minutes only. The parent doesn't intervene if there are incorrect spellings, but the child is encouraged to spell words another way and choose the one that looks right.

Additional materials required

Time frame 
Spelling You See is designed to be used for short periods on a daily basis. Students are not to spend more than 10 minutes on copywork or dictation. The reading/chunking activity does not take more than 5 minutes after the child is initially aware of how to do it.

How it worked for us
We typically do copywork, so we already had the perfect time in our day to work on Spelling You See. The girls seemed excited to get started on it and because the writing passage section is short, they jumped right in everyday. 

We used level D, followed the directions exactly, and used it 5 days a week.

What we think
We love this program! Spelling You See built confidence in the girls the very first week! My brilliant Ceesa always felt so defeated with spelling. It was such a struggle for her. Each week she spelled 20 or more words correctly on Thursday and then 30 or more on Friday! By the end of the review period, she moved up to over 50 words in a passage. 

Although a grade level higher than recommended for her grade, Jo-Jo worked at this level and made great progress as well. Just like Ceesa, she improved every Friday and built lots of confidence.

We are purchasing Level C for Jo-Jo to finish out this year and then Level E for Ceesa to use next year. I can't wait until Li is old enough to start. We'll jump in with Level A.

Where you child would fit
Wondering which level is right for your family? Use the placement document to determine what level your child/ren need. Then check out more reviews from Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Wishing you homeschool blessings,

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