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Phonetic Zoo, Megawords, Apples to Pears, Calvert, or something else - Help please!

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I have five kiddoes who will be doing spelling next year. They range from 9th grade down to 3rd grade. My 9th grader is VERY bright, but spelling is a weak subject for her. She personally wants to become a better speller and I want to help her. She's completed all of the SWO books. From what I've read, here are my questions:


1. How much teacher interaction do each of these curriculum require? I like SWO b/c it's mostly independent and they can get started on it while I'm teaching someone else. I liked Spelling Power, but I didn't like how much time it required of me.


2. How do you determine what level book/CD to buy. Can I just buy at "grade level" or do I need to backtrack (particularly with the 9th grade)?


3. What are the pros/cons of each?




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I am not sure what you mean with how much time spelling power required of you? With my oldest, it is 5 minutes to do the testing and then he does the rest. Of course, with 5, that is 25 minutes...but that doesn't seem like long, IMO. I am not sure what your days look like though.


We use Calvert as well as SP and we are enjoying both so far. Calvert requires little to no effort on your part with the spelling CDs. My son does the spelling book work too though because he is such a poor speller. I would call an education counselor at Calvert for placement if you go that route. They don't have a 9th grade, so you would have to use 8th grade or below for your oldest. Where I feel Calvert lacks in Math, they make up for in spelling. Calvert words are pretty tough - espeically with a struggling speller like my oldest. That is why we supplement with SP.


What I like about Spelling Power is that you can have 5 kids and still use the same book. You can put each on their own level according to the placement testing in the book and have a comprehensive spelling program for all of your children, all on their levels, all at the same time.


Best of luck to you.

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Well I'll read the other posts, but I have a suggestion for you, something you might not have thought of. With a student that age (9th gr) and one who wants to improve themselves, do you know what I would do? I would buy SWR and let her teach herself! There's absolutely no reason why she can't do this. You're just going to go to lulu and download my quick & dirty guide to getting started with SWR. She's going to learn the rules and phonograms cards and start from the very beginning, working through, making her own log. After she's done easy words a bit to get the hang of it, give her the diagnostic test and place her more appropriately. At that point she'll just move forward, marking say 10 words a day. Then I would let her tutor your youngers, drilling them on phonograms and rules or even doing the dictation for them. We always learn better what we teach, so it really might be just the thing!

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I have How to Teach Spelling, but I still like SWR better. HTTS mixes together too many things. The beauty of marking words with SWR is you're breaking them down into understandable components in a straightfoward, rule-following way. It gives the thinking dc a REASON for what they're seeing. And thinking through that reason is the lightbulb moment. But I totally agree that later on, something with spiraling dictation (my current fav is Spelling Plus) would work. I'm just suggesting that building her own log where she thinks through the components of words would give her that lightbulb moment. At least that was the reasoning behind my suggestion.

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All About Spelling is less costly and performs the same function as SWR. And it is easier to understand and teach. You can use it with all 5 kiddos, as well. We liked the Calvert CDs here a lot but my guys didn't retain anything. They found the cds to be fun for extra free time play, not that it was a negative. We are currently using Evan Moor's Building Spelling Skills daily practice series and it is working great. The books only go to 6th grade but take a look at the spelling lists.

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