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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spelling You See - Review

For me Spelling is a very difficult subject to teach my kids. I have
tried various ways of teaching it and I just haven't found something
that works. Usually they learn the words from the list but then soon
forget. Then the word has to go back on the practice list. This can be
very frustrating for them and for me. The Schoolhouse Review Crew
announced that the makers of Math-U-See had created a Spelling
curriculum called Spelling You See and that we had a chance to
review that product. Maybe this is what we need to succeed?

Let me share with you what I received for this review.

Spelling You See - Listen and Write (Level A)

Listen and Write Student Pack - $20.00
I also received a handwriting guide and package of stickers.
Listen and Write Instructor's Handbook - $14.00

About Spelling You See:
Spelling You See was developed by Dr. Karen Holinga. Dr. Holinga
is a former elementary teacher and college professor with 30 years
experience working with children. This program was created to help
children learn spelling naturally at their own speed. A brief 10 minute
activity will incorporate reading, writing, speaking and listening into
the lesson. Children are said to retain the letter patterns and begin using
that information over time  with correct spellings. Most spelling
programs are unlike this one in that they are based on memorizing
spelling lists. Like I mentioned above my kids would learn the list
for that week but later on I noticed that they would spell those words
wrong again later in their writing. This spelling program is based
on the idea that spelling progress starts with a sound to letter
correspondence and moves to more complicated spelling structures.
Spelling You See is based on those 5 stages of this philosophy.

There are No Grade levels or Age requirements for Each level:

You don't want to match your child's reading level to a spelling level.
They advance through these at different speeds. It is suggested that you
not skip a particular level because it all goes back to those stages of
learning how to spell. You can determine which level your child might
be placed in by the Placement Guidelines. For example my son is 8
years old. He is reading at a 2nd grade level. However he often forgets
words and has reversals which I am watching closely since we are a family
with a couple of children with dyslexia. So that is why I choose the level A
for him to begin. Level A is Listen and Write. It is for a student who is a
beginner reader, who knows those beginning letter sounds , and how to
hold a pencil properly. Level B Jack and Jill if for students who print
easily, knows their lower case letters, knows most of the sounds, and
long and short vowels. I felt a little like he might be right between those
so I made the decision based on the stages of spelling to start him in
level A. There are also levels B, C, D, and E. Levels F and G are in
development but I am sure till we get to them they will be ready.

* Level A Listen and Write
* Level B Jack and Jill
*Level C Wild Tales
*Level D Americana
*Level E American Spirit
*Level F Ancient Achievements
*Level G Modern Milestones

Spelling You See Review

How Does it Works and How we used it:
Level A focuses on the preliterate stage and takes you to the
phonetic stage of spelling. The level focuses on letter formation,
consonants and short vowels. (letter formation is the biggest
reason I choose this level to begin with for my 8 year old)

There are 36 lessons separated into 5 different parts. Each activity
is one page in length and is to take no more than 10 minutes. If it takes
your child longer than 10 minutes you are to stop and start again the
next day. When you begin again the next day you move
onto the next page .

To start the lesson my son was to practice the letters at the top of
the page. He was to trace the letter in grey and then write it one
or two more times. Most of the time he choose one time. As we
progressed through the book I began encouraging him to write
more than one letter. The example below is one of the first couple
of pages in the workbook. It jumps right in so I am thinking your
child should have some writing skills under their belt before
beginning with Spelling You See. Next he traced the three letter
words at the bottom of the page. As he wrote them he is encouraged
to say the phonetic sound that he is writing. /c/ /a/ /t/ So the child
can feel and hear the sounds as they write.

I admit that some of these words are very simple for him but I really
wanted to focus these beginning lessons on him working at the
formation of his letters. He actually called it his handwriting for
a brief period of them. Later that feeling changed. So we worked
on proper writing grip, forming his letters from top to bottom
and posture during our 10 minute lesson time in those beginning
few lessons where he found the words a bit easy. 

At the top of the page is a little check list. You can see it more above
in Spirit's writing. It gives him a checklist to look at and decided if he
did all that he was to do on that lesson. He liked checking his own
work and as you can see below awarded himself with a star and
a smiley. He also wrote a little Mom note there and checked it. I guess
this one had my approval. (To sweet)

In Lesson four you will begin writing words from dictation.
Instead of tracing the word they will be writing it on their own.
The vowels are in place on the boxes. (See above)  The bottom
row is similar to what the kids will see. This is where you will
need the teacher guide as you will be reading the words to your
child. You will say the word slowly and clearly. Then  your
student will sound out the word letter by letter before they begin
writing. You can encourage your child as they move along or if
there is something you think your child might need assistance
with like my sons reversals of b, d, He also switches p and g.
Then you can help accordingly but try to let them do it on their
own for greater success.  By lesson 7 your child should be able
to read back to you the words that they wrote for the daily
spelling time. Eventually the kids will be working on filling
in all the boxes including the vowels but they are still shaded
for your child. They begin with three letter words and progress
to four letter words. I also wanted to mention that when
writing we would pull out the laminated writing sheet
so that my son had a guide for his writing. In particular
for his reversals. The more they see it and can visualize it
the better their spelling and writing will become.
(below is an example of the writing pages with shaded
vowel boxes. ) 

By lesson 10 it is suggested that you time the dictations.
The purpose of the dictations isn't to memorize the words it is to
learn how to encode them. So the purpose of the timer is to aid
them in writing more quickly and solidify this decoding. My son
likes to be timed. I know some students don't . However when he
is timed his work become sloppier so It's sort of a give and take
process whether you use timed activities or not. It's up to you. It
is suggested however that if your child's writing declines on timing
dictation as long as they can read it back to you then you should let
it go. If he is writing more rapidly then he is learning the process
of sound, Saving handwriting for another time or workbook.

In addition I mentioned we had a sticker pack along  with the
writing workbook. The stickers can be used in a fun way with their
spelling. Kids can choose a sticker , place it in their book and then
spell the word on the sticker. This is a great way to engage them
on days they do not want to be doing their writing.

Spelling You See Review

My feeling on Spelling You See:
I liked that the lessons are short and broken into 10 minute
timed activities. This is a great time limit for wiggly kids such
as mine. I also liked the emphasis on the vowels with shaded boxes.
I think it helped him feel more secure in his writing. There really isn't
anything we haven't liked so far about the program. However I am not
quite sure yet if it is improving his spelling or not. I haven't seen a
significant change but we will be continuing the book, so I'll update
when we get to the end. He does really seem to be ok with writing in
the Spelling You See student book and usually I get a lot of complaints
so that alone has me leaning toward wanting to purchase the next level
when the time comes.

If you would like to read more reviews about Spelling You See
click the Schoolhouse graphic below.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Warm Blessings,


Crew Disclaimer


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