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Tell me about Spelling Power

plain jane

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I'm interested in this program but haven't been able to get my hands on it IRL. Since it is fairly expensive I thought I'd ask here. :D


If you've used Spelling Power, please share your reviews with me- both good and bad. I'm trying to get a better idea as to whether it will work for my dc and how time consuming it is. Also, if someone could share the gist of how the program works, that would be very appreciated!

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We tried this for about one year and gave up. I started dd on SWO after she was reading well and it was not sticking and I didn't care for the format. I switched to Spelling Power hoping it would be the last spelling book we'd ever need....


Well, dd was in tears after every spelling quiz. The whole pre-test model didn't work for her at all. She found it frustrating to get words wrong without having a chance to study them. She also never retained anything. The words she could spell correctly were the ones she could spell correctly before encountering them in SP. Any words she got wrong on the pretest, she would continue to get wrong. If she managed to finally remember the spelling on one test, she would get it wrong again a month later if I spot checked her. Nothing "stuck". I switched to R&S and spelling has been much better. No tears (most of the time :001_rolleyes:) and she retains what she learns. I think my dd needs to practice the words more in a workbooky type program. R&S seems to click with her. Now, I do borrow something from my dusty copy of SP. I print out the practice sheets from the CD that came with SP and we use those if dd or ds get any words wrong on their quizzes and tests in R&S.


I think this is a personality thing with my children though. My kids are really intense sometimes and they do not like getting something "wrong". I've noticed when they do, it's like their brain sort of shuts down while they are trying to calm down. This emotional state is NOT conducive to learning. So dd never actually learned how to spell anything new because she was constantly in emotional upheaval during spelling time. YMMV


I really like the whole SP system. I think it would be great for a child not subject to meltdowns. But it was an absolute disaster for us, and I wish I could take back that whole year of spelling for dd. She went through a lot of pain that was completely unnecessary and we had nothing to show for it at the end. After wasting that whole year I had to start her at the very beginning with R&S. Thankfully she is all caught up today :001_smile:. HTH

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Also, if someone could share the gist of how the program works, that would be very appreciated!


Oh I'm sorry I forgot to answer this part of your question. I just realized my post may not make much sense if you aren't familiar with the program.


It's been a few years so others may be able to answer this better than I can. There is a series of spelling word lists that increase in difficulty. After you place your child in the correct level, you proceed through the lists. First you give them a pretest to see what words they need to study. You give them the pretest "cold" without them being able to study the words ahead of time. There are worksheets that go through a checklist of study "steps" based on time tested methods for remembering words. They involve things like tracing the word with your finger, spelling the word with your eyes closed, etc. Your child does this to practice the words they missed. You keep retesting missed words until your child can get it right. There were also some activities but my memory is not so good on this part of the program since we don't use it anymore. I still use the study sheets so I remember those better.

Edited by Shelly in the Country
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We tried it for 3 years. I just sold it and we're now using Building Spelling Skills (similar to Spelling workout).


Here are the steps:

1. Place your child. You give them a test and count the number of words they missed. Based on that you go to another list and give them that test and see where they fall. It is NOT an exact science by any means. My oldest kept placing into a level 3-4 years higher than her grade (natural speller). She didn't know a lot of the words because her vocabulary is not that high. It's good, but not high school good.


2. Each week give a pre-test. - go through the word list and see how many words they misspell


3. Practice only the words they misspell.


4. Give a final test at the end of the week.


Pros- you're only studying words they don't know. The words are the most commonly used words in the English Dictionary. One program for everyone in your family for the rest of their lives - $60-75 is IT! You never have to buy spelling again;)

Cons - there is little to no phonics instruction. You have to provide it if you think this will help your child be a better speller. Also, the placement and rhythm of the program were hard for us. It didn't flow well. I don't know a better way to explain that so it may have just not been a good fit for us.


There was another thread that discussed different spelling programs recently. I posted more in depth there. http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=129160




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We love Spelling Power! I'm using it for three of my dc (13, 10, 7) and all seem to enjoy the format. It's quick paced for the kids and doesn't take any prep on my part. Before beginning the program there is quite a bit of reading but now that we've gotten started it's no planning required for me.

You begin by reading the teacher's guide and placing your children according to the directions. The book is broken down into a series of spelling lists with the accompanying rules. Children are placed according to skill level and then move through the level completing each list to procede to the next level. I found the placement for my dc to be pretty accurate.

Our spelling lesson is about 15 minutes a day. Spelling Power breaks it down like this: 5 minutes testing, 5 minutes studying missed words and 5 minutes in skill building activities. Ours usually is closer to 10 minutes testing, 5 minutes studying missed words and skill building activites on one day for 15-20 minutes. My dc like to finish a list so they are ready to start a new rule and a new list each day. We usually do spelling 3 or 4 days a week. If a dc has difficulty with a particular list (misses more than 5 words) we spend extra time on that list before moving on.

What we like about Spelling Power is that it is structured. We all do it the same way every time we do it. The format is easy to follow and the routine is comfortable. It's quick moving. If your child knows how to spell the word, they only have to spell it once and move on. Missing a word is no big deal, it's just part of learing. The word is added to a list to be retested and at the end of the testing time the child goes through a set of steps to study each word so that they won't missing it the next time. Even if the word is missed again, it's not a big deal, it just gets studied again.

The rules are easy to understand and are demonstrated in the list for the day. My kids love to use a rule to help them "cheat". I keep trying to tell them that using a rule in spelling to spell a word correctly is not cheating, it's learning but I think they like the idea that they are getting away with something.

Having four dc (5, 7, 10, 13) I am always looking for programs that I can use long term and will work for everyone. Spelling Power has been a winner in our school.

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I'm using this with my son because he spells well but needs a bit more input. I don't know if it's helping him spell better, but it allows me to check off the spelling box. He only works on those words that he misses when tested.


The "rules" aren't really. For example, for the long a sound it says something like--you can spell the long a sound with ay, ai, ey, ei, eigh, and a-e. (It doesn't mention that a in an open syllable will also be long, and a followed by two consonants (as in bank) will be long too.) Then there will be a list of words with all of these different spellings. If my son had issues with spelling I doubt that it would work. With my dyslexic child, I'm using AAS, which I find to be much more logical.


I would use AAS with both, but my younger child is the natural speller and I don't want him to catch up with his older brother, so I'm using Spelling Power. It is a second choice for me.

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I like SP for my natural speller and AAS for my struggling speller. SP is great because a child who doesn't have many spelling "issues" can find and only work on the problem areas/words and not be boggled down studying words he already knows. I like AAS for the great spelling rule instruction that is exactly what a struggling student needs.

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