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    Christian since 1997, Volunteer Phonics Tutor since 1994, Homeschool Mom since 2007
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  1. Hi Elizabeth,

    I have been reading your work on the Phonics Page and Don Potter's work on his website. I have been trying to work through his copy of Webster's Spelling Book but I need some advice. Until recently, I have been using Logic of English. It gave my kids a good start but my oldest (9 yr) is struggling with three syllable + words and has serious trouble spelling. My 7 yr old is a good beginning reader but I am hesitant to keep going with LOE because of DS's issues. Also, I have a 5 yr old eager to read but I just am discouraged at this point. I started using Webster but in reading some of the other posts it seems the kids don't really progress in spelling? Should I use Phonics Pathways with all of them? I hate to bring my 9 yr old down to one syllable words again but I don't know where to start. I have spent too much money skipping around. 

    In reading your other posts I see you talk about your Syllables Spell Success program. Should I start my 9 and 7 on that and hope that the spelling also improves their reading? I know you wrote elsewhere that it incorporates the syllabary. I am looking for clear guidelines and Webster's didn't offer that. 

    Any help you can give would be very appreciated. I am discouraged at this point and don't know what to do. 

    Thank you,


    1. ElizabethB


      Yes, I would do the Syllables program with them.  After you get to lesson 6, it has 2+ syllable words, and the first 5 lessons have spelling rules as well as reading.  Actually, the first 5 lessons all have 2+ syllable words at the end with some syllable division exercises.  The Syllables program is actually mainly for reading but with a spelling rules.  The reason Webster did not have clear guidelines was because it was taught in one room schools, if you saw it being taught that 6 - 8 times, no instructions necessary.  The only place I've seen explanations about how it was taught was in the slave narratives, the education sections, I have some excerpts from it: http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Phonics/

       For your 9 year old, I would follow with all of the 2+ syllable words for reading, and some of the spelling work from Phonics Pathways, there are spelling suggestions in it, I think at the end.  You may need something else for your 9 year old dedicated to spelling, perhaps Apples and Pears or Spelling Plus by Susan C. Anthony.  I like Spelling Plus because it focuses on the most common 1,000 words, which are important to focus on for a struggling speller.  Your 7 year old can follow on with a combo of Phonics Pathways and a bit of webster 2+ syllable words.  (Assuming you own Phonics Pathways, if you don't you can use Blend Phonics/Word Mastery for phonics basics instead, both free to print.)  My son needed daily spelling practice, 10 - 15 minutes a day, before his spelling improved.

    2. ElizabethB


      The syllables program also teaches you how to teach Webster and includes several multi-syllable Webster tables.  Webster's Speller is actually mainly good for reading, not spelling, it works better for teaching reading than spelling, there are better choices for spelling, ironically.


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