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Spelling / vocabulary: SWS, Megawords, SS -? Help!


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I have no idea how to choose... there are too many curricula out there.


We have never done spelling in a systematic way using anything other than ETC, but we'll be done ETC 8 in a few weeks and I'd like something we can continue on into. Therefore, phonics-based. I don't like Spelling Workout and also perhaps want something that introduces vocabulary, in a light and not necessarily roots-based way.


Good repetition (ie trouble words only?), yes; busywork, no.

Frequent testing / self-checks are a must, I think, given dd's inclination to haste. She's a good spelling during actual spelling lessons, with list words she's practiced, but a pretty lousy speller in her independent writing, even with concepts we've "done before" (which is as SWB says they usually are at this age)...


Any thoughts on these 3 or other curricula? Must pick something SOON. We are moving over the summer and English language arts is one of the areas I want lots of continuity in, since it will no longer be their primary language once they start school...

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Assuming "SWS" is Soaring With Spelling, after looking at the samples and table of contents, that looks ideal for your needs/wants. :) No personal experience with SWS, however.


I have used both Sequential Spelling and Megawords. They are both good programs, but they are meant for grades 4+ -- for example, they do not cover as thoroughly the suffix patterns that usually get covered in grades 2-5 (things like "drop the y and add -ies").


Sequential Spelling is not so much phonics-based as pattern-based (i.e., seeing the small "root" and then building on to it). Example:






Megawords vocabulary, starting with book 2/3 rapidly bumps into middle school level words, which, if you try and start Megawords in 2nd or 3rd grade, might be too much by the time you are 1-2 years into it. (Although, several children of families on this board who are advanced in language arts have successfully used Megawords with their very young elementary-aged students.) Megawords is pretty independently done by the student, and focuses on vowel patterns and syllabication rules, and has the "bonus" of many words in the word lists are good vocabulary for middle school students.



The only other program that comes to mind that could fit your criteria -- and might esp. be a helpful and inexpensive back-up since you will be moving to a non-English speaking country -- is Natural Speller. It is word lists for grades 1-8, with a focus on "word families" by age appropriateness for spelling (example: "words ending in -le"; "words with long a spelled with -ai-"; "words starting with re-"; etc.). It also includes lists of common abbreviated words, homophones, calendar words, and commonly used foreign words, plus a quick list of spelling rules -- all in under 100 pages!


Why I suggest it is that it is very flexible in how you use it and practice it, which would allow you to cover all the most frequently used words, and focus or skim as needed for learning specific words. It is one book that would take you through pretty much all the spelling you'd need. I found it to be MUCH more intuitive and helpful than Spelling Power.


In addition to Natural Speller as a possible "back-up" resource, consider taking The ABCs and All Their Tricks along, too. "The ABCs..." is a reference book that explains the "why" of every phonetic sound in English, and has a word list for each. SUPER simple to understand and very structured and easy to use for creating spelling lists. Between those 2 resources, you could MAKE you own spelling if you had to, they are that helpful. New, the two would cost you $40 for a spelling resources that would last you up through grade 8 at least. And a lot of times, you can find these used for less. ;)



However, I'd say, based on your "wish list", Soaring with Spelling is the "already done for you" program that best fits what you're looking for! :) BEST of luck, whatever you decide! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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I would use Spelling Plus and Spelling Dictation followed by Natural Speller, doing the lists in Spelling City. Spelling Plus will take you to grade 4 - 6 depending on spelling ability, Natural Speller can follow on from there. Both are compact for travel, and easy to use. Spelling Plus is phonics based, and also focuses on the most common 1,000 words.





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Phonetic Zoo? (Placement test here.) Mostly independent, frequent tests, and includes Personal Spelling Cards to keep track of words she misspells in her other work -- every five lessons. (Sorry if I added another one to your list.)


P.S. Used some of your poems for ES's Biology this year. Thank you. :-)

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