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My ongoing review on Phonetic Zoo.(Older child, independent, spelling program)


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Thank you, he is happy and feels like he is accomplishing something.

 

Something that someone said in another thread.

 

To clarify, Phonetic Zoo is for older kids. I guess the zoo part is misleading for some.

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Thank you for all your updates! I am planning to order this for my ds after I have him take the placement test. I am having my dd take the placement test too, but I think she might still need AAS for a little longer.

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  • 1 month later...

You can buy this program without the cds for a much cheaper price. Do you think it would work just as good to do that? The price is the only thing standing in my way. I'm not looking for an independent program. I assume since they sell it that way the writer believes it wouldn't hurt the program effectiveness.

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You can use it without the cd's, just make sure you read all the instructions. You would need to read the words yourself, which you totally can do. They just need to hear the letters in the correct order rather than reading them.

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You can buy this program without the cds for a much cheaper price. Do you think it would work just as good to do that? The price is the only thing standing in my way. I'm not looking for an independent program. I assume since they sell it that way the writer believes it wouldn't hurt the program effectiveness.

 

I am using the program without the CD's this year with my older ds, and it is going great!  It is super easy, quick, and effective :).  I am not crazy over the jingles, so I just go over the rule on the whiteboard for each lesson.

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We're using it this year and this is the first time my daughter hasn't complained about spelling!  She's struggled with some lessons, but gets excited when she gets 100% two days in a row.  And she definitely has a sense of accomplishment.  I'm really excited to see how this translates in to her writing.

 

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  • 5 months later...

Just to update, we are still doing well with this program. DS is now in 6th grade and in level B. It has become even more independent this year. We are skipping the personal word lists, and we are not going over the cards again. The cards we got in level A are good for all three levels. We did the jingles, and went over them together for Level A. 

 

Once we started level B, ds announced that he can do it on his own. He just does it every day and once he gets 100% twice in a row he shows me and then moves on to the next lesson. Having spelling be totally independent has given me more time to work on writing. :)

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Dolphin, I have Phonetic Zoo A that I got for my 8 year old to start when he finished AAS3. We finished AAS3 around Christmas and popped in Phonetic Zoo after that and did one lesson. I had AAS4 already on hand also. So we tried one lesson and he kind of gave me this look like "please don't make me do this." Normally spelling is "easy" for him.  So we are doing AAS 4. Do you think I could try it after AAS4? He would probably be 9 by then. TIA!

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I just stumbled across this thread as I have been considering what to do with my 7th grader who really struggles with spelling. We have done Spelling Power, but he still struggles. He also didn't like the pressure of the testing in Spelling Power (maybe b/c I was testing him?) He is a perfectionist and hates to get anything wrong. Maybe this would work better since he could do it independently? WDYT?

 

I appreciate you continuing to update your review. It is helpful to see how/if something still works well for someone over time.

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Dolphin, I have Phonetic Zoo A that I got for my 8 year old to start when he finished AAS3. We finished AAS3 around Christmas and popped in Phonetic Zoo after that and did one lesson. I had AAS4 already on hand also. So we tried one lesson and he kind of gave me this look like "please don't make me do this." Normally spelling is "easy" for him.  So we are doing AAS 4. Do you think I could try it after AAS4? He would probably be 9 by then. TIA!

 

Sorry, I just saw these. My son was 9 when he started. Did you watch the video about the lesson, do the headset etc.... My son really liked the independence and not having to mess with all the extras (word scrambles, fill in the sentence etc...) that comes with a lot of spelling programs. I can't say for sure, but I know it was right around my son's 9th birthday that the big wave of independence hit. However, no program is right for every kid. It can't hurt to try again after AAS4.

 

I just stumbled across this thread as I have been considering what to do with my 7th grader who really struggles with spelling. We have done Spelling Power, but he still struggles. He also didn't like the pressure of the testing in Spelling Power (maybe b/c I was testing him?) He is a perfectionist and hates to get anything wrong. Maybe this would work better since he could do it independently? WDYT?

 

I appreciate you continuing to update your review. It is helpful to see how/if something still works well for someone over time.

 

My son does like that there is no test. He just keeps doing the lesson until he gets 100% twice in a row. It is basically just spelling test after spelling test, but he does not see it that way. He loves the fact that I am not teaching him, or checking the lesson. I think it is worth a try. Double check that their return policy is still as awesome as it was. If you don't like it, you can return it. Just make sure that you watch the DVD's that come with it so you understand what is going on, and to set up the lesson the way it is meant to be set up. I think the method is part of why it works so well.

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Thanks, Dolphin. I started this program with my struggling speller - she's about half way thorough level A right now. We've tried just about everything out there as far as spelling is concerned and nothing seemed to stick. We were working through AAS, and it just wasn't a good fit for her. I found your review here, and I did some research on the program. We did a sample lesson - she really liked, I ordered it, and it's been perfect for her. It's the first program that's help her retain word spellings and rules, and it reflects in her writing. We use the personal list levels. I go back through her lessons and pick out any words she really seemed to struggle with and we use the personal lists for extra review.

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Thanks, Dolphin. I started this program with my struggling speller - she's about half way thorough level A right now. We've tried just about everything out there as far as spelling is concerned and nothing seemed to stick. We were working through AAS, and it just wasn't a good fit for her. I found your review here, and I did some research on the program. We did a sample lesson - she really liked, I ordered it, and it's been perfect for her. It's the first program that's help her retain word spellings and rules, and it reflects in her writing. We use the personal list levels. I go back through her lessons and pick out any words she really seemed to struggle with and we use the personal lists for extra review.

 

Thank you for sharing with me. I had so many people and reviews on here help me when I was starting out, it is nice to know I am contributing. 

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A big thank you from me also Dolphin!  I order Level A this week after reading your explanations and reviews of this program.  I am a huge IEW fan and my kids love the Fix It! grammar program so I'm banking on those facts that we will like the Phonetic Zoo program also.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Day three.  We love this spelling program!  My son had 5 correct words the first day, when we sat to look at the words he had spelt wrong I realized that he actually had the part with the spelling rule right in every single word!  He kept trying to add "e"s on the end of words and -ful became -fol.  When I showed him this he was so excited that he HAD remembered the rule for each word.  Day 2 he then had 9 right.  We looked again and for some reason he added "ed" to a bunch of words.  I don't know why, but I think his biggest struggle will be learning to listen carefully.  I encouraged him to click pause whenever he wanted.  My son is so happy, he came to me and announced, "I can spell!"

 

My dd has moved onto lesson two today, she is doing great also! Thanks Dolphin for posting this on-going review!

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  • 5 weeks later...

Dolphin, thanks for the reviews.  We are going to try Phonetic Zoo A in the fall for my oldest 2 dds.  The oldest one is a struggling speller, but a very auditory learner.  I am hoping this will be the right fit for us.  Which DORA test do you use?  The reading one? 

 

Does anyone know of a free online assessment for spelling, to track progress?  Like the DORA Let's Go Learn that Dolphin mentioned, but free? 

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I am looking at Phonetic Zoo for an independent spelling program for the future. I was just wondering a few things.

 

First, it seems really expensive. But is that a one-time price for all of my spelling needs for all of my children for the grade levels mentioned? In other words, are there any consumable parts that need to be purchased again for younger siblings when they come through the program? And does it really take 2-4 years to finish a level (Level C says it covers grades 9-12)?

 

Second, do they ever go on sale? I'm considering this program or R&S.

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Yeah, I've never been able to justify spending that much money on spelling CDs. If they offered mp3s for about half the price, I would seriously consider it. In the meantime, I'm dictating the words to my kids myself, so I only had to buy the cards. It's working really well and takes very little time. I can't say how long it takes to go through a level because we haven't been using it that long. I have a couple of kids on lessons 7 and 9. They seem to do about one lesson every 1-1.5 weeks. For 47 lessons per level that would be 50-70 weeks for a Level, I guess, which is about 1.5-2 school years.

 

HTH!

Angela

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You don't need to buy the CD's.  Everything else is used for all three levels.  I bought the CD's because it allows my kids to be self-sufficient with their spelling and I can focus on the other child.  If you join the IEW yahoo sale group you can find parents selling their CD's there.

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I've been really liking this thread as I've been looking for a program for my struggling speller. The regular workbooks just don't seem to help. Here's my question. Next year I will have a 5th gr. (struggling speller), 4th gr. (struggling speller) 3rd gr. (natural speller). Is this a program I could do with all 3 and only order 1? I've never done AAS. I saw a video by the author and it made so much sense that I've been hoping this could be our answer. 

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I bought the first level for both my kids.  One child is further along than the other child who really struggles with spelling.  I would start them all out at the same level and let them progress as they mastered a list.  (100% on a test twice.)

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I've been really liking this thread as I've been looking for a program for my struggling speller. The regular workbooks just don't seem to help. Here's my question. Next year I will have a 4th gr. (struggling speller), 3rd gr. (struggling speller) 2nd gr. (natural speller). Is this a program I could do with all 3 and only order 1? I've never done AAS. I saw a video by the author and it made so much sense that I've been hoping this could be our answer. 

 

They all will move at different paces, the program is set like that. You might want to wait one more year with the fact that your oldest 2 are struggling spellers. I started when my struggling speller was in 5th grade. At the same time, as long as you let them know that there own pace is ok, you could give it a try.

 

What I have done, is I have a plastic box with our portable CD player and headphones. I keep spare batteries in their and 2 of each pen color needed. I have 2 file folders, one with blank forms (which you print as needed) and one for him to put his completed spelling sheet in. You could have a folder for each kid. Once a week, we go through the sheets together. We discuss words he keeps missing, and just check in. 

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They all will move at different paces, the program is set like that. You might want to wait one more year with the fact that your oldest 2 are struggling spellers. I started when my struggling speller was in 5th grade. At the same time, as long as you let them know that there own pace is ok, you could give it a try.

 

What I have done, is I have a plastic box with our portable CD player and headphones. I keep spare batteries in their and 2 of each pen color needed. I have 2 file folders, one with blank forms (which you print as needed) and one for him to put his completed spelling sheet in. You could have a folder for each kid. Once a week, we go through the sheets together. We discuss words he keeps missing, and just check in. 

Thank you :) I realized that I put this years grades. Next year they will be in 5th, 4th. and 3rd. So maybe It would work. Thanks so much for your input :)

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  • 4 months later...

Last Update for awhile. DS finished level 2 and has tested at a 7th/8th grade level for spelling. It caught him up and he is right where he should be spelling wise. He is going to 8th grade part time next year for Language Arts and Social Studies, so spelling is now over for him. 

 

DD is starting AAS1 next year, and will probably go to Phonetic Zoo after AAS3 (unless that program works better for her.) This has been a success from start to finish.

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I'm glad to read this.  My rising 5th grader has been using it and it has improved his spelling drastically (unlike anything else we've tried).  He has dyslexia and dysgraphia and has struggled with spelling for years.  Major breakthrough with Phonetic Zoo!

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I just wanted to add to this by saying to those that are put off by the price that I was able to get a used copy from a seller on Ebay for less than half the price of a new copy.  The only thing it didn't come with is the teachers' notes.  To me, the audio is an indespensable part of the program.  The fact that my DD can do it independently and listen on headphones, makes it special for her, and easy for me (which I need with a toddler and preschooler).  I know that if I were to just read the words out loud to her every day, that she would put up much more resistance to doing spelling. 

 

Also, if you buy new, IEW offers a money-back guarantee.  If you don't like the program, you can tell them and return it for a refund.  So that's pretty neat.

 

We started using it about 3 weeks ago, and it is working very well for us.  My DD is pretty young to have started (7 yr old, second grade) and hasn't had any regular, formal spelling instruction before this, but it is still working out for her, as she is able to handle the independence of it and the program is designed to go at a child's own pace.  She normally hates getting things "wrong", but she is able to focus more on how many more words she will get right each day, rather than what she's gotten wrong.  So, this is just all to say, that we are also happy with The Phonetic Zoo. 

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Last Update for awhile. DS finished level 2 and has tested at a 7th/8th grade level for spelling. It caught him up and he is right where he should be spelling wise. He is going to 8th grade part time next year for Language Arts and Social Studies, so spelling is now over for him. 

 

DD is starting AAS1 next year, and will probably go to Phonetic Zoo after AAS3 (unless that program works better for her.) This has been a success from start to finish.

 

Thank you for sharing your experience.

 

I have a couple questions.

 

1. Do you really have to use headphones? Would it be ok to just use it in a room by yourself?

 

2. Do you think it's really a program that would take a child through high school level spelling? I guess I'm wondering if a person would need more spelling after using it.

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Thank you for sharing your experience.

 

I have a couple questions.

 

1. Do you really have to use headphones? Would it be ok to just use it in a room by yourself?

 

2. Do you think it's really a program that would take a child through high school level spelling? I guess I'm wondering if a person would need more spelling after using it.

 

I just wanted to share that the horrible spellers I mentioned in your thread did not improve with PZ.

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I just wanted to share that the horrible spellers I mentioned in your thread did not improve with PZ.

 

 

Thank you for mentioning that. I've followed your threads over the years, because my son has a lot of similarities with your weak spellers.

I wish I could fix it!

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My daughter does not use headphones. She does it in her bedroom with the door closed.

 

I will not do another program after this one, once she finishes it, we will be done with spelling. She still misspells words, it's not a magic fix. But she has significantly less mistakes than before, and is now able to spell larger words without trouble. For some reason, some of the words that she was misspelling in elementary school, she still spells wrong. PZ had made a huge difference though, and having the CDs took the pressure off of me, and she is much happier being self sufficient with the program.

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