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Tell me about Spelling Plus as used in Essentials


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I need to add in more dictation a few times a week for my older kiddos because we are doing LOE and they don't do dictation every day. So I was thinking of using Spelling Plus' Dictation Resource (which I already own) but then I think I may already be using that next year in Essentials. Does Essentials do all the word lists in Spelling Plus or just the first 24?


I can't remember if it was WTM or Teaching the Trivium or both that emphasizes doing dictation but I remember reading that recently and realizing I'm not doing as much of that with my kids as I'd like. But part of me also thinks I should only be dictating sentences they can spell so something like Spelling Plus would be good because I can make sure they know how to spell the words before I dictate them, plus it is graded by word list/grade level which makes it easy for me to make sure they are getting appropriate sentences.



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Spelling lists are included in the back of the essentials book, but are not taught during class at all. It's more of a suggestion than a requirement. The lists in the back include easy, int, and advanced lists (taken from spelling plus). Not every list is included. No dictation sentences are included, but cc recommends the dictation book (to be used at home).

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Yes, all of the Spelling Plus lists are included in the Essentials guide! But, I still recommend purchasing "Spelling Plus" as well as "Spelling Plus Dictation" if you're interested in using the program as written. Spelling Plus is a great program because it includes the 1000 most used and most frequently misspelled words in the English language.


If you only want to use resources that are part of Essentials, here's what I'd recommend:



  1. Decide on a "spelling level" -- A, B, or C. Level A uses lists 1 - 25. Level B uses lists 26 - 47. Level C uses lists 48 - 69.
  2. Show your student the spelling list and discuss the spelling rule/help that is listed with the list.
  3. Ask your dc to study the list every day for a few minutes. I made myself a set of activity cards that would provide fun ways for my kids to practice their spelling words. (write the words in alphabetical order, write each word in a different color, draw a picture and hide the words in the picture, write the words in cursive, etc.)
  4. At the end of the week, test your student on the words. Any word that gets missed, ask them to write 3-5 times and carry the word over to the next week.

If you'd like to use the Dictation book, you can still use the lists that are part of the Essentials guide, you would just use the sentences for the list you're working on in the Dictation book. With this method, you'd introduce the words on day 1 and discuss the spelling rules/hints. Then, you'd dictate a few sentences to your student each day. They write the sentence down, and you go over the spelling of each and every word in the sentence with them. The student corrects the sentence immediately after writing the sentence down. The dictation book is nice because it does not use any words that have not already been covered in the spelling lists.


I usually did dictation with my kids twice a week instead of doing an activity. Dictation is very effective, because kids often misspell words in their writing that they may have written correctly on a spelling test.


The Essentials guide also includes homophones that kids can study each week. My son is a 5th grader and has already completed Spelling Plus, so we are focusing on the homophones this year.



If the Spelling Plus words are too easy for your student, the Essentials Guide recommends a few things:

  1. Ask your student to add suffixes and/or prefixes to the words.
  2. Concentrate on mastering the spelling rules that are included in the guide. Ask your student to write down examples of words that follow the rule.
  3. Study the homophones and make sure kids can use and spell them correctly in their writing.

Essentials really is a great language arts program. My kids have benefited from it immensely.

Edited by Pylegang
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This has nothing to do with Essentials, but we used Spelling Plus for four years and really loved it. We used the dictation book regularly. I consider it the best part of the program! We also still use the homophone worksheets. We are taking a break for a year because I was tired, and my son is a pretty good speller already. I just wanted a break. ;)

Edited by deeinfl
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Thanks so much, Angela. That was really, really helpful. I think I'm going to do year one of Essentials do level a, year 2 do level b, year 3 do level c and each year add in the more challenging activities as recommended. This will be our spelling program for grades 4-6 when we are in challenge and we will definitely use the dictation book! We're using Saxon Phonics for preschool-first and Logic of English for 2nd and 3rd.......I will definitely use some of your ideas when we get there......

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