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Is Spelling Power better than The Natural Speller?


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A very broad comparison is that Natural Speller is a simplier version of Spelling Power. They are very similar in many ways, so if your students connect with that style of spelling, it's just a matter of your preference of which one you want to go with.



- Both are "one stop shopping" for spelling (Natural Spelling is for gr. 1-8; Spelling Power for gr. 3 and up, as long as you care to do spelling).

- Both have word lists (Natural Speller more by word families; Spelling Power more by vowel sound or other pattern).

- They both have word lists of the words it would be good for a student to know.

- They both suggest similar method of practicing words: look at it, say it, spell it while looking at it, write it, check it.



- Natural Speller has some good additional word lists Spelling Power doesn't: homophones, common words a student should know (ex: days of the week, holidays, number words, etc.), and also lists words that come from foreign languages, plus a Greek and Latin roots section at the back of the book. Natural Speller is extremely fast to learn how to use, is thin and not at all overwhelming. It is much less expensive.


Spelling Power has chapters worth of material on studies and theories about teaching spelling. It also has a list of the 5000 most commonly used words. It also lists a variety of alternate learning style ways to practice words. Spelling Power is a thick book and can seem very overwhelming. It is more expensive.



Hopefully others will jump in and give their impressions on both programs as well! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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Thanks! I already have Natural Speller and was thinking I really didn't want to buy something that expensive if I didn't have to.


Perhaps I'll just try this and when we run out of words, find something to supplement it with off the internet.


I'm trying to make myself make do with what I have, but it's hard when something superior seems to be dangling in front of me. I don't have much to spend right now.

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Spelling Power is teacher intensive. Great for the student, I think. Bummer for the parent when you get tired of having to run the lesson every day, year after year. :001_smile:It's only 15 minutes or so, but day after day, year after year, with more than one student.....worth considering.

(Havent seen Natural Speller)

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The concept behind Spelling Power is that the student only studies/practices words he/she doesn't know. So that means each day you give a sort of "pretest" of words, adding to a list the ones the child misses, until either you collect about 15 words from a number of word lists, or until the child misses too many in a row on a single list, and then they would study/practice that whole word list.


So the amount of teacher time is administering these "pretests" once a day every day until the child collects enough words to then spend a week on their own practicing words. Trying to remember -- I think it took us about 10-12 minutes each time to do a pretest.


With Natural Speller you just assign a word list to be learned.



My personal opinion: whether you go with Natural Speller or Spelling Power, once you have a list of words to practice, I would definitely practice on the whiteboard at the beginning of the week 1-2 days, for about 10 minutes each time, going over adding endings, prefixes, suffixes; syllable rules; homophones; vowel patterns; etc. And then towards the end of the week, take 10-15 minutes to dictate about 5 short sentences, each with 2-3 spelling words in them to practice thinking/spelling/writing simultaneously.


Just my 2 cents worth! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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Hmmm. I use Natural Speller, but I don't assign lists. I do the pretest method, like Spelling Power prescribes (sort of). I just give 11yodd words until we have enough to make a llist. I then have her write the list, re-write it in alphabetical order, add prefixes and suffixes where applicable, look up unknown words in dictionary (give definition and sentence), study spelling, and retest.


It sounds like a lot, but we easily go through 100 words before we come up with enough words to make a list (both vocabulary words and spelling words). So, mostly, we're just "pre-testing", on a table-top white board, wth dd writing word after word after word. She LOVES this. But, of course, she's a good speller naturally, so it's easy gravy for her. :)


For 10yods, I do it differently. I also pretest words, and circle the ones he misses (like I do for dd), but I don't wait until we have a "list". Instead, I have him write missed words 3 times, at the time he misses it. Then, later on, I use some of the SP approaches (writing word on table with finger, closing eyes and writing it in the air, saying the spelling, then writing it again). Later, I insert that word back in, as I'm giving him other words. The next spelling session (not every day), I give him the previously missed words again. I keep giving them to him until he knows how to spell them the first time.


I like Lori D's suggestion to teach syllabication rules. I haven't done that. I should add that in for dd.

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We use Natural Speller. My ds10 is not a "natural speller" so I assigned lists. I took some time last summer to create lists divided into word group. I use 10-20 per week. I took the time to print the lists in publisher with nice formatting.


Each week we do different activities. Monday is review and write out the words, then Friday is test day. This has worked well for us. As he has progressed he has been able to test out of a few lists :D.


I enjoy not being tied to certain activities each week. We plan on cotinuing with the program.

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I've never used Natural Speller so I can't comment on that. But I have used Spelling Power for 5 years now. For me personally, I don't think it's teacher intensive at all. I aim to finish one list per week and that puts us finishing the whole level by the end of the year. I give the list (as a pretest) on one day and then my kids study the words they missed doing the 10-step study. Then the next day I retest and we are done for the week. I spend no more than two days a week on spelling and no more than an hour (I doubt it's even an hour). I can't imagine the need to do this spelling every single day unless you want to finish more than one level per year or unless you have a child that struggles in this subject.


I know it comes with a big instruction section and you can definitely add more games and such into it that would make for more work for the parent, but this way works for us and is super easy.


That said, if NS is working for you and similar to this, I wouldn't spend the extra money to change. I just wanted to comment on the teacher intensive part for SP. As with all programs, SP can be modified to meet your needs, and for me, simple works!:)

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The concept behind Spelling Power is that the student only studies/practices words he/she doesn't know. So that means each day you give a sort of "pretest" of words, adding to a list the ones the child misses, until either you collect about 15 words from a number of word lists, or until the child misses too many in a row on a single list, and then they would study/practice that whole word list.


This is not quite the way I understand Spelling Power to work. The words are divided into levels, which are then subdivided into groups according to spelling rule. Every 5 groups or so there is a review group, then periodically two delayed recall lists and, at the end of the level, two end of level groups. The groups at each level have a few words from the same group (following the same rule) that appeared at an earlier level for review.


Paula's Archives has some good tips on using the program http://www.redshift.com/~bonajo/SPhow.htm. I picked up my 3rd edition book (the one before they added the cd with the forms on it, they are just in the back of the book) for $15 at a used bookstore. I am following the suggestions from Paula's archives about using a regular notebook rather than the preprinted booklets and it works quite well.


The way it works for us:

1) At the beginning, you do a survey test to determine which placement test to use to refine the starting level. Then the next day you do the placement test to determine at which level to start. This is only at the beginning of the entire process to determine start level. After that you just go on to the next group, then the next level.


2) For daily work, she writes the rule at the top of the page. Then we do the 5 minute pretest for that group. I say the word, use it in a sentence, say it again, she repeats it and writes or gives it to me orally (SP says write, we've gone to oral for this step). I then immediately spell it back to her. If it is correct, we move on to the next one. If it is incorrect, she writes it down on her "words to study" list. We stop this process when she a) misses a total of 5 words, b) finishes the group for that rule or c) 5 minutes is up.


She then does the ten step study process outlined for those 5 words and writes each of them in a sentence. We may or may not do any of the discovery/study activities in the back of the book, depending on the words missed. I find that a number of the activities are things she may be doing in other areas, and so far she seems to retain the spellings well enough with the simple study steps/sentences/retesting.


The next day, if there are words remaining in the same group list, she recopies the rule, I give her the words she missed as well as the rest of the group (again with the 5 words/end of group/5 minutes limit). If she had reached the end of the group, she gets retested on the words she missed, then writes the rule and we go on to the next rule, again until 5 words or 5 minutes (not counting the time to write the rule). We spend about 10 minutes a day on spelling normally.


The delayed recall tests and end of level tests allow you to see if the child needs to go back over a group again, then do a new delayed recall or end of level test with different words using the second form of the tests. We are just now getting to our first end of level tests, so we'll see next week how that works out.

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