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Tell me about Spelling Power


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I am looking for something for spelling for my girls. Both of my kids struggle with spelling. I have not found a spelling program that is a good fit for them yet. Last year I made up my own spelling program, but it's a lot of work. So, tell me about Spelling Power. I want to know how to use the program, what do you do each day, and how much time does it take? I was also wondering how independent it is.



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So, tell me about Spelling Power. I want to know how to use the program, what do you do each day

Here is what we do for my 8yos.

Day 1 - Dictate the new group of spelling words until the end (rare for us) or until 3 words are missed

- student completes 10-step study sheet for missed words (some of these steps are "spell the word out loud" "look to see that you did that correctly", etc.)

Day 2 - Write a sentence for words missed

Day 3 - Test missed words, continue on in group until the end or until 3 words are missed

Day 4 - repeat Day 2, or something more creative (she gives TONS of ideas which I read through a year ago and winnowed down to a few that would work for us)


Day 4 and on I use my discretion about how much more we want to do. It is not unusual for them to misspell a part of the word that is not actually being tested. For instance I finally just replaced the word "fairies" with "fairy". I feel comfortable with this because I assume that as they ramp up their writing I can start supplementing or constructing spelling lists from words they misspell.


I keep some scratch paper in my binder and track who is on what step and what they need to do next time we do spelling.



how much time does it take? I was also wondering how independent it is.



They don't object to spelling because each day is 5-20 minutes depending on what part of the repeat they are on. Very little of the program is independent for us. Even if your dds are older, I would expect to be involved keeping it moving (unless they are old enough to quiz and check each other).


It is not a cheap book, but if you can make the system work for you it should last forever.


The lists are associated with rules - if that is helpful for you. I just like that it seems organized.


There are no bells or whistles, so no parts to keep track of, no "this has to be done before that".


There are Delayed Recall and End of Level Tests, so if somebody struggles with a word I sometimes add it to those tests (if it isn't already there).


We are moving slowly, I think in part because we don't do a large quantity of writing at this point in our school. Also because if they miss a word on a review test, you are to go back and review the whole group, which I usually do.


We've been using it for a while, and it is such a small portion of our day on something that I think takes some maturing into that I anticipate continuing with it.


Hope that helps!

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I purchased a copy of Spelling Power before dd6 was born. It is in storage....waiting.


I had used it while babysitting/nannying for a homeschooling family, and I really liked it.


I would NOT use it it for a child who has not been through a thorough phonics program (including all of the digraphs and blends and suffixes and such). There are no shortcuts here.


Things I like about it:


--One may use vocabulary words from other subjects as a spelling list (science, history, Wordly Wise)


--Five minutes or less of you reading spelling words. Seriously -- set a timer!


--Student only needs to focus on 3-5 (misspelled) words/lesson.


--Student does not need to spend a week studying words he/she already knows.


Things I do not like about it:


--It is not a substitute for a comprehensive phonics program. So we will wait until dd6 and dd2 are older to use it.


There are MANY good phonics programs on the market with words one can use for spelling after a lesson. We are using Saxon Phonics (K, 1, & 2), and I use the words at the back of the TM for practice sounding out instead of the recommended spelling words for the program.


--Once the adult has read the list to the child, the child has a checklist of ways to practice the words. Make sure that your child understands what is expected for each step, and make sure they DO NOT cut corners on these steps. Otherwise, 3 days later, they are getting the same words wrong...for the 3rd day in a row. You may need to sit with the child to make sure they do not skimp on what is expected until they learn the lesson that skipping steps will not help them here.




The system I used was similar to how SusanC described.

Our daily schedule:

1) Set timer for 5 minutes (or 3 minutes).

2) Read words to child while they spell them.


Supposedly the child will visualize the word, then write it, then spell it aloud to you immediately. They will know right away if they missed the word. This was destructive to the girl I used it with, because knowing she missed one distracted and distressed her from moving on. We did not do that, but I understand reasons for this strategy.


3) Once I noticed 3 words were missed (or the timer had gone off), we ended that part of the lesson. We used 3 words because the child using the program was 8 or 9 years old. I would expect a14yo to be able to use the checklist and write a sentence for the recommended 5 missed words.


If no words were missed, the child was done with spelling for the day.


4) Any words that were missed were then put through the checklist mentioned by SusanC, and a sentence was written.


5) The following day, the first words written are the ones missed the day before. With the remaining time on the timer, continue with the spelling list you were working on. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.


DO NOT let your child peruse/review yesterday's list just before doing today's test. The point of Spelling Power is to put words into the child's LONG-TERM MEMORY. Letting them look at words to remember for 30 seconds is not helping them put words into long-term memory.



Since the book is so expensive, ask your library if you can get a copy on ILL before you commit to the system. Or see if someone has a copy in your church or homeschool coop or local homeschool friends or homeschool library so you can read the philosophy to see if it would work for you.

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