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So we're just starting Sequential Spelling with my third grader.  He's not a natural speller at all.

I was surprised at how little direction the instructor's guide has.   Let me see if I have the teaching down right...

1) We go over the words.  I try and break it down by colors and endings and prefixes and such.  p-in   p-in-n-ing

2) I give DS3 a test.  Say a word.  Use it in a sentence.  He writes it.  After each word (not at the end)....we correct (or he self corrects).

3) Rinse repeat the next day?  Do I specifically go over the words he got wrong the previous day or trust that they'll be repeated?

There are some rules on the last page of the instructor's guide, but not a lot. 

I think the 25 words per day (once we get there) may be too much for him...but I will give it a go and see.  

 

Does this sound right? What worked for you?

Edited by umsami
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Sounds like you've got it!  The color coding is the important part I think.  I always wished the teacher's book was color coded (maybe it is now, I have really old books!).

The program doesn't recomnend reviewing the missed words but sometimes I did or just reviewed a whole day if there were a lot of mistakes.

The 25 words can seem like a lot.  If I had a kid struggling with that part we would divide the list and do half one time (morning) and the rest later in the day.  Usually we were up to doing the whole list fairly quickly.

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Sounds about right. I ended up using Apples and Pears for my struggling speller. SS just made him frustrated. He is normally a detail-oriented pattern finder, but SS just lost him. He couldn't see it. We'd correct any misspelled words right after he finished writing it down. The rest of the week builds on the base words from the beginning of the week, so if he wasn't getting those then the whole week was pure struggle. There's plenty of repetition, but no teaching really. 

For my natural speller, I ended up having her type it out. I can see her type it in really large font so she can correct it immediately if I see anything wrong. Typing them out made the list of 25 go much quicker until she hit a wall in one of the books and then we slowed it down to patterns.  

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5 hours ago, JanOH said:

Sounds like you've got it!  The color coding is the important part I think.  I always wished the teacher's book was color coded (maybe it is now, I have really old books!).

The program doesn't recomnend reviewing the missed words but sometimes I did or just reviewed a whole day if there were a lot of mistakes.

The 25 words can seem like a lot.  If I had a kid struggling with that part we would divide the list and do half one time (morning) and the rest later in the day.  Usually we were up to doing the whole list fairly quickly.

I just got new books from CBD and they are not color coded.  It's up to me, I guess. :)

 

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We love Sequential Spelling and have used it for several years.  However both of my children were very frustrated with it when I tried to start too early.  I know they say 3rd grade but my kids did better starting in 4th.  We had to put it away for the 3rd grade year.

A dry erase board worked better for us than a notebook when they were younger.  I point out patterns sometimes and show them when something is breaking the rules.  I point out all the homophones as we go. 

For my perfectionist, can't get any wrong, type child it was very frustrating in the beginning.  I wasn't able to use the program as intended for the first three months or so. I basically previewed the list with her, went over the pattern and helped a lot.  We had a lot of talks and I never called it taking a test every day. It was just practice.  She finally got into a rhythm and was able to later use the program as designed after a rocky start.

We struggled with spelling so much in the early years and this was the only thing that worked. Even though she was resistant to it and still doesn't love it, it takes 5 minutes a day and her spelling improvement is amazing.   I am glad I didn't give up on it.

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Also the 25 words can feel like a lot for a third grader, especially if they are handwriting resistant.  With my second child I let him do some of the first level out loud or with me scribing for him on the dry erase board.  He didn't mind the spelling, but he was very resistant to the writing, especially with pencil and paper.  We had to do math for a long time together on the dry erase board as well.  His spelling has improved a lot as well.  The program has worked great, even with all the adjustments I had to make in the first year.  For later elementary and middle school it has been fairly smooth sailing with SS.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We tried SS at 3rd grade with DS#2 who is our struggling speller, but I think he was too young for it, and we weren't able to keep going for very long with it. We were able to use techniques from SS later on (6th grade), when DS#2 *finally* started to click a little bit with spelling, but he ended up needing more variety of helps than what SS provided.

Similar to above posters, with *all* of the different spelling programs we tried, and finally making our own after 6th grade, DS could not handle more than 10-15 words for the spelling list, so 25 words for a young, beginning speller is a LOT.

Just mentioning that in case you find you need to set SS aside for a year or two for DS to mature, or if you find you need something with more visual and phonetic support right now. BEST of luck in your spelling adventures! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

Edited by Lori D.
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I find 3rd too young for sequential spelling. Starting at 4th seems to be the sweet spot for this program. My DD had an increased writing load so I had opted for a short time to cut SYS and go with SS. I like the program but despite her maturity and excellent writing skills she disliked it. I even tried to CD rom for a bit. That went better but ultimately she asked to return to SYS. 

I really like the program. I find that it makes logical sense...to me atleast...in the way it is stepped. I just think maximum benefit is had in later grades with it.

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I'm using it this year with my 4th grader and so far it's going swimmingly.  She's absolutely NOT a natural speller but she read a ton over the summer and last fall she couldn't spell her way out of a box for the life of her!  This fall, when I gave her the placement test, she did much better than I anticipated and I credit that ALL to the amount of reading she did over the summer.  There's something about them experiencing the words through literature that seems to help them make the turn in spelling.  So I'd agree with using it starting in 4th over 3rd.  It definitely would NOT have gone well last year with her but so far it's just a quick 5 minutes of our day and we're off to something else.  It's beautiful.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sharing my experience so far for others who come across this thread in the future.

We are on Day 15ish and so far I love it for my 3rd grader. She is handwriting resistant and a terrible speller, but it seems like this is a perfect fit for her.

I’m finding that the words don’t necessarily repeat the next day, but that they do repeat. I have skipped a handful of words that just don’t seem relevant to her even if they follow the pattern, clouted comes to mind.

I keep a small whiteboard and three different colored markers nearby to show her correct spellings. The first week she was overwhelmed by eventually hitting 25 words and I was overwhelmed because she spelled so many words wrong. By the time she hit 25 words she was only missing a couple and she wasn’t  overwhelmed by the amount of writing.

I am predicting that my next child will need to be older before I use SS with him. He does everything 6 months to a year later than his older siblings. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
6 hours ago, Amy Meyers said:

Am I supposed to teach the words first? I thought I was just supposed to test, writing down the words in different colors to show the patterns, and the important technique was that they catch their mistakes.

No, you don't teach the words first.

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So, for the 3rd grader, we've gone back to AAS and are doing Level 1--with the hopes of completing 1 and 2 this year, 3 and 4 next year, and then SS in 5th grade if necessary.

It is not going to my big pile of barely touched curricula though.... I've discovered that my 8th grader could benefit from it.  So, he's doing it right now, and we'll try and get through a few levels for him before he flies the coop.  

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23 hours ago, umsami said:

So, for the 3rd grader, we've gone back to AAS and are doing Level 1--with the hopes of completing 1 and 2 this year, 3 and 4 next year, and then SS in 5th grade if necessary.

It is not going to my big pile of barely touched curricula though.... I've discovered that my 8th grader could benefit from it.  So, he's doing it right now, and we'll try and get through a few levels for him before he flies the coop.  

Glad it's helping! Here's an article on fast-tracking through level 1. AAS really helped my kids.

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