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In the past we have tried many resources for spelling: Building Spelling Skills, The Grammar of Spelling, Natural Speller, & LLATL. While there are good aspects to each of them, they were not satisfying our family's needs.
Our current favourite resources for spelling are: McGuffey's Eclectic Spelling Book, The Elementary Spelling Book by Noah Webster, The Reading Teacher's Book of Lists, Dr. Fry's Spelling Book, Spelling Workout and Spelling Power.
We start spelling instruction beginning at Kindergarten Age 5. I have created my own spelling lists for the Kindergarten year using the McGuffey's Eclectic Spelling Book and The Elementary Spelling Book by Noah Webster. In Grade 1 we use the first hundred Instant Words and the 100 Picture Nouns as our spelling curriculum. These words are found in both The Reading Teacher's Book of Lists and Dr. Fry's Spelling Book. Then from Grade 2 and up we are using Spelling Power as our main resource with the other resources as supplements. Alternatively, depending on the child, we may choose to use Spelling Workout.
Kindergarten Age 5
Spelling at this level is really an extension of learning to read. I have created lists of very basic words that emphasize the five short vowel sounds. There is no need to pre-test the words at this level. Five words are introduced each week and then one word each day is practiced. Suggestions for practicing the words are included after the spelling lists. During the 8th week of each term we do some informal testing on 20 of the previously learned words.
Primary Grade 1
At this level I feel it is important to help my children gain a useful beginning reading and writing vocabulary. The first hundred instant words (which make up about half of all written work) combined with 100 picture nouns help to accomplish this goal. I have referred to both The Reading Teacher's Book of Lists and Dr. Fry's Spelling Book to create my spelling lists for this grade level. Five words are introduced each week and all 5 are practiced daily. There is no pre-testing at this level but we do test at the end of each week.
Primary Grade 2 and up
Starting in Grade 2 we begin to use Spelling Power. This is a very comprehensive spelling program and can be used all the way into high school. I appreciate how the program covers at least 5000 of the most frequently used words in the English language. If my children can learn to correctly spell all these words they will rarely have mistakes in their written work. What words they don't know can easily be looked up in a dictionary.
There is pre-testing in this program and then only the misspelled words need be practiced. We use this program 4 days a week. Testing and then word study(of up to 5 misspelled words) happens on Monday and Wednesday, on Tuesday and Thursday the children choose activities (suggestions are found in the Spelling Power manual) to practice their words. This is a little different than the weekly approach suggested by the manual, but it works for us currently.
For more information: Spelling Power
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