Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Closer Look: How We're Trudging Through Spelling

The truth is my Cati and Sam LOATHE Spelling.

I've tried and tried and tried different programs with Cati, and started to retry with Sam, but I've come to the realization that it doesn't matter what curriculum I use: They will continue to dread Spelling. 

It's a good thing there's Spell Check! 

I didn't even bother to find something new this year. I was tempted. Soaring with Spelling, anyone? (And yes, I've tried All About Spelling and Sequential Spelling.) But ultimately I decided to stick with Spelling Power (because I already had it), and do something EXTRA to make it more, um, "palatable" for my anti-Spellers. 

If you aren't familiar with Spelling Power, here's a link. Oh, and you don't need those fancy student books and task cards, but I would recommend the version with the CDs.

But this isn't a review about Spelling Power, so moving on...

I start off every year with the placement test. Cati scored Grade 4 Month 7, so almost 5th grade, but she's starting 6th grade, and Sam scored Grade 1 Month 7, so almost 2nd grade, but he's starting 3rd grade. 

Yeah, they're behind according to Spelling Power.

I printed off the Daily Test Sheet from the CD ont0 one side of typing paper, then the 10-Step Study Sheet on the other, slipped it into a clear plastic page protector, and the kids spell, correct and study with a wet erase marker. It's wiped clean afterwards, ready to use the next day (much to the kids' chagrin).

And those words they miss? Well...I have them write them on PAINT CHIPS. You know - those cards from hardware or department stores with paint sample colors on them. (Shhh! Don't tell, but they're perfect flashcards!) Cati is using GREEN paint chips; Sam BLUE. (These colors match their binders and notebooks this year.)

Why, yes, I do coordinate WET ERASE marker colors to their flashcards, binders and notebooks. Believe it or not, though, we have every day YELLOW #2 pencils. :wink:

Anyway, they're not going to (willingly) use them for flashcards. :wink:

I found a FREE  Spell It! game from The Measured Mom here. Instead of using just a single set of Spelling flashcards, we use two. Cati reads Sam's cards to him, correcting any errors, and Sam reads Cati's GREEN to her. It's a win-win! Cati gets continuous repetition of lower level words, Sam gets to practice reading harder level words, and they both learn to spell words they've missed.

Photo Credit

A little FRIENDLY competition between siblings can be just the thing to get them learning those pesky Spelling words.

Um, the dice ALSO correspond with their color of the year...their binders, notebooks, dry/wet erase markers, Spelling flashcards, and DICE are color-coordinated. Yes, I probably do need "help". :wink: But it REALLY does make our days go smoother!


  1. I stopped doing "spelling" years ago. I felt it was useless tool to teach proper spelling. We do focus a little on vocabulary tho. I am considering a Latin based lesson plan, some say it helps. Mostly we just work on writing and reading and the spelling follows. Does that make sense?

    Color coding does simplify things!

    1. Jake learned some Greek and Latin word roots years ago and I do think it helped him with both Spelling and meaning, but I haven't tried it with the younger kids.

  2. Funny, I just got here from Nicole's blog and your comment was the only other one. Now I am here and her comment is the only other one. Hah!

    I believe spelling is important, but I honestly don't think it is necessary to do it in tests. I actually do dictations for the kids. I give them bits of literature, scriptures, poems and such. They study it for words they don't know as well as sentence structure and punctuation. Then I dictate it for them. Technically, you correct them as they write it. I don't. I just correct it afterward and have them rewrite each misspelled word five times. Fortunately, they are pretty good spellers. I think if a child does have a difficult time with spelling, standing over them and watching would work better.

    I am sure your kiddos are right where they should be. I wouldn't worry too much about as long as you see progress year to year. You also should keep in mind there are many many children the same age as your kids, who more than likely score lower than yours do. Your kids excel where they do because that is their strong skill.

    1. They're 2nd least favorite subject is anything to do with HANDWRITING. :wink: Imagine combining Spelling and dictation? Oh, my! LOL

  3. I love the paint chip idea - so many different uses for paint chips :). I will borrow that idea!

    1. Paint chips are awesome! You can make little memo pads out of larger ones, some lined or typing paper and a staple or two...bookmarks with ribbon for the longer ones...I've even seen calendars made from them. (The calendar is a little more work than I'm willing though.)

    2. Memo pads - what a GREAT idea Jessy!! We will try that...

  4. We also use to help make spelling a little more fun. I like it because I can set the spelling list and it is not a preset list.

    1. I've tried Spelling City' thumbs down! I really don't think it matters...but we'll continue to work on it slow-and-steady.

  5. Spelling can be tough. My son has struggled with spelling and for him the online program Click 'N' Spell has worked miracles. Thank you for sharing your techniques and for linking up this week to the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop


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