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Spelling that gets done

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We are on All About Spelling level 6 but we are really just muddling through it and really not using it as it's intended to be used. Two of my 12 year olds are natural spellers and I think that with time and exposure, they will be fine. They are basically fine now. Then my other 12 year old struggles with spelling. I'm looking for recommendations for her that she could mostly do on her own, or that just aren't as teacher intensive as AAS. I love all the rules in AAS but this just doesn't seem to be her way of learning.

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We use Spelling Power here. It is a book of spelling lists with all sorts of processes and ideas if your student needs some or a lot of support.

What we do is test a list (10 minutes) I note any they miss on their "Missed List" Next time they do the next list. Occasionally we spend a couple of sessions on the Missed List. If they don't seem to be getting the correct spelling then I will have them do additional study - 10 Step Study Sheet, write it correctly x times, put it on a post-it that you move around the house whenever you see it, write an acrostic, glue died beans in the shape of the word - whatever they want, really, that will help cement the correct spelling.

We do this 3 days a week, our so. I don't plan I continuing it in high school. If needed I'll switch to making lists from their writing (lovely plan, we shall see)

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I would suggest some sort of workbook that is quick and painless. I really like R&S but at the 6th grade level it's a textbook, not a workbook. Still, it's straight-forward and simple. Spelling Workout or Building Spelling Skills are other workbook programs; I'm sure there are more.

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With my older kids, we used to do "Spelling Workout" plus a Vocabulary from Latin/Greek Roots book.  Both were easy/do-on-your own.  

Now, the only one doing spelling is my third grader.  We're doing AAS, because he needed to learn some rules.  Goal is to get through Level 4...and then I'll re-evaluate.  

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Perhaps this will not be your experience with your DD, BUT... spelling could NOT be done mostly solo by our struggling speller (mild LDs, stealth dyslexia, that hit him hardest in Spelling, Writing, and Math). And while I totally understand and sympathize that it is exhausting and you just want to be *done* with having to deal with a subject that has not clicked for a student for years, handing off a workbook to a student struggling with a specific subject usually does not help the student learn the techniques that student needs for overcoming the struggle.

Age 12 was when spelling *finally* FIRST started to click for him. Seriously, *nothing* we did from grades 1-5 stuck at all for Spelling. It wasn't until about halfway through 6th grade that I saw the first glimmerings of "getting" it. And each year for the next 5 years, a little more would click. So for all of middle school and high school, I created an individualized Spelling for him using a variety of techniques. I used The ABCs and All Their Tricks as our "spine", and during the week, we alternated using various techniques: worked with words a lot on the white board, with worksheets I created for him, and practiced words through out-loud spelling (strengthens auditory/sequence weakness), and dictation (to strengthen simultaneous writing/spelling). We spent about 20-25 min./day on Spelling. The only aspect of Spelling he did mostly solo was 1 page a day (sometimes it was just 1/2 page) of Megawords (about 10 minutes), which we used as a supplemental Spelling.
 

What exactly is your DD's struggle with spelling? Weak sequential memory? Needs visuals to embed to long-term memory? Hearing issues, so she is not hearing words correctly or saying them correctly, which means not being able to apply phonic rules properly? Dyslexia (so letters are "jumping around" for her)? Does there seem to be a pattern to the types of misspellings, or when misspelling happens? (If it's happening during writing, some people struggle to simultaneously juggle thinking of what to write, the physical act of writing AND spelling and grammar mechanics all at the same time -- if that is the case, then OKBud's dictation suggestion can help strengthen doing those skills simultaneously.) Or some other issue...?

Because understanding what exactly is the struggle will better help you find what fits for her, which usually requires more intensive teacher participation rather than less. That said, you might look at these programs for struggling spellers:

- Phonetic Zoo
Mostly independent. Works on strengthening weak auditory/sequential processing (and spelling is highly sequential, as every letter must be in correct order, and go from left to right).

- Megawords
Somewhat independent. Works on understanding vowel patterns and syllabication, and helping the student to break longer words into shorter "bites" for spelling attack.

- Sequential Spelling
Mostly *not* independent. Designed for students dealing with dyslexia; works by helping students build up to longer multi-syllable words through starting with smaller words.

- Stevenson Blue Spelling Manual
Not independent. Based on mnemonics (visual memory devices) to see/remember vowel patterns. See here for the mnemonics and the Stevenson Learning Skills approach to language arts.


Apples Daily Spelling Drills for Secondary Students is an independent workbook often suggested for struggling spellers, but it is rule-based, and is heavy on using writing as the method for practicing spelling. And not a fit if you are secular, as it is very Christian in presentation (use of Bible passages or paraphrases) for some of the exercises. So I'm thinking that is not going to be a fit for you.

Our experience: Spelling Workout and Spelling Power were complete fails (along with several other spelling programs) for our struggling speller. And neither helped our average speller advance in spelling abilities. Neither program seemed to have any kind of "rhyme or reason" as to what words were in the list (i.e., the words were not all working on a vowel pattern or phonetic rule, or compound words, or part of of a "word family", or were all words originating from another language, etc.), and neither program had much teaching instruction. Both programs practice spelling via repeated writing of words (which is often NOT how struggling spellers learn), although Spelling Power does have a lot of ideas for alternative ways of practicing spelling in all of the different learning styles (visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic).

For our struggling speller, Spelling Workout was a bust as he does not learn/remember spelling through practice that involves writing/re-writing the words (as Writing is another of his struggle areas). Spelling Power was a fail, as the premise of the program is to give a test a day (that alone would have caused melt-downs here), collect up the words missed on that list, and then when enough words have been collected, practice the list and then re-test them. Struggling spellers usually have very erratic spelling memory and need a much more visual type of practice (such as those suggested by Dianne Craft, or by Jeffrey Freed in his book Right Brain Children in a Left Brain World) to help spelling embed in long-term memory, and the Spelling Power method does not do that for many struggling spellers.

 

BEST of luck in finding what works best -- and encouraging you to persevere in being directly involved with DD and Spelling if that is what it takes to help her clear this hurdle. Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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We use the spelling program through Simply Charlotte Mason  (spelling Wisdom)- it's basically prepared dictation. It doesn't bore my child to tears like a workbook would. He finds it interesting because the words are in context of thought provoking sentences. It's not independent, but it takes about 10-15 minutes so it's not too bad. 

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Quote

Perhaps this will not be your experience with your DD, BUT... spelling could NOT be done mostly solo by our struggling speller (mild LDs, stealth dyslexia, that hit him hardest in Spelling, Writing, and Math). And while I totally understand and sympathize that it is exhausting and you just want to be *done* with having to deal with a subject that has not clicked for a student for years, handing off a workbook to a student struggling with a specific subject usually does not help the student learn the techniques that student needs for overcoming the struggle.

Very true!

Quote

What exactly is your DD's struggle with spelling? Weak sequential memory? Needs visuals to embed to long-term memory? Hearing issues, so she is not hearing words correctly or saying them correctly, which means not being able to apply phonic rules properly? Dyslexia (so letters are "jumping around" for her)? Does there seem to be a pattern to the types of misspellings, or when misspelling happens? (If it's happening during writing, some people struggle to simultaneously juggle thinking of what to write, the physical act of writing AND spelling and grammar mechanics all at the same time -- if that is the case, then OKBud's dictation suggestion can help strengthen doing those skills simultaneously.) Or some other issue...?

We've had her hearing check so it's not that. I've always wondered about dyslexia with her... It's weird - she has naturally very sloppy handwriting but when I remind her to use good handwriting, she can. And when she does, she has fewer spelling mistakes. 

Thank you, everyone, for the suggestions!!

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On 10/29/2018 at 10:17 AM, Ellie said:

Spelling by Sound and Structure (Rod and Staff Publishers).

I second this. The kids can do it independently, therefore it gets done. 

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Spelling workout gets done here because it’s independent.  Both my kids hate it though so I’m looking for something else next year.

i had apples and pears for my struggling speller and even after completing all the work she would bomb the end of unit tests.  Spelling workout was better for her but as stated she hates it.  My youngest is doing well with Apples and Pears though so all is not lost!

the other think I have done with oldest is just write our list of words by their spelling patterns and have him copy them three times.  So all the words I could think of rhyming with light that are spelled with ight. For example.  He’s turned into a pretty good speller so I’m not sure if my method worked or he was always going to be a good speller.

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On ‎10‎/‎29‎/‎2018 at 4:31 PM, Lori D. said:

Perhaps this will not be your experience with your DD, BUT... spelling could NOT be done mostly solo by our struggling speller .... And while I totally understand and sympathize that it is exhausting and you just want to be *done* with having to deal with a subject that has not clicked for a student for years, handing off a workbook to a student struggling with a specific subject usually does not help the student learn the techniques that student needs for overcoming the struggle.

BEST of luck in finding what works best -- and encouraging you to persevere in being directly involved with DD and Spelling if that is what it takes to help her clear this hurdle. Warmest regards, Lori D.

Because Lori D has said it better than I would've I just added emphasis to the parts of what she said that I've found totally true. For us spelling had to become intentional, explicit, interactive and involved for BOTH he and I before it started getting any better, but it has been getting a lot better. My youngest was a really crappy speller, highly inconsistent and often just plain wrong. He's slowly getting better by me being involved, intentional and attentive day-in and day-out.

On my own, I wouldn't have ever been willing to invest $$$ in a spelling programs, but my son really improved by using a meaning based approach called Spelling through Morphographs programs at his BM charter school one year. My advise would be to spend the $$$ and time if you really want a solid program for Spelling That Gets Done.

Now that we know it works for him, I've continued to use a meaning based approach to spelling/vocabulary, and layer in patterns/rules on top of that and its working. It requires my attention on the daily, but it's working and we're seeing a lot of progress.

A couple of other strategies that I have come up with him is when writing,

  • We use syllable-division rules to help ball-park the spelling of words (there are only 6 or 7, vs 27 spelling rules)
  • I have him drill words that are short, common and irregular (I made templates of worksheets where he might fill in the blanks for missing letters, write the word 3, 5 or 10x while saying it, order the letters/digraphs, write the words in sentences, spell the words orally spelling bee style, use different highlighters to color code the digraphs/vowels/consonants/blends etc) 
  • In his writing compositions (and he writes every day) he must use wide-ruled paper. He writes in blocks of 3 lines.
    • Line 1: Writing sentences
    • Line 2: Reserved for him to "test-out" spelling for longer words by hyphenating each syllable, then he returns to line 1 to include that long word.
    • Line 3: Left blank for readability.
  • He keeps a list of commonly misspelled words, and I have him drill those at the beginning of each writing session.
  • When he has finished writing something for school, I have him go over it to look for commonly misspelled words and correct them before he turns it in to me.
  • He also drills his commonly misspelled words at the beginning and ending of each spelling session, even if we're working on something else that day.

 

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For me, I do spelling one-on-one, but it is quick (5-10 minutes max per day). I heavilly adapted AAS to eliminate prep-work and supplies. All we need is my phone, pencil, and paper. I put all the spelling words in the space repetition flashcard system Anki, on my phone, at the beginning of a new AAS book. I put the concepts from AAS into my brain.

Each day I dictate the words from my phone, and DD writes them. If it is a new word, I explain the spelling. If she gets it wrong, I have her immediately practice the word. Then we move on to the next word. After DD writes the daily limit of words (which has varied from 20-40, depending on age), spelling is done. Some days we only get review words done and no new words. Some days half of the words are just practicking misspelled words. On a good day, we get to new words. The lack of prep and unvarying routine make the process quick, even though it is one-on-one.

I also had to give up on handwriting for spelling to get done. As long as I could decipher the letters, we moved on.

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Sequential Spelling gets done and has been the only program that has improved my son's spelling.

Another thing that seems to help him is having him type almost everything for school. I turn off auto-correct options, but leave the red squiggly lines on. So he gets immediate feedback on misspelled words. 

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6 hours ago, Gil said:

...my son really improved by using a meaning based approach called Spelling through Morphographs programs at his BM charter school one year. My advise would be to spend the $$$ and time if you really want a solid program for Spelling That Gets Done...


Good suggestion, Gil!

Spelling Through Morphographs -- I had forgotten that one, but that's another good one for struggling spellers. It overlaps somewhat in method/approach with Sequential Spelling and Megawords. The method is to break words into their syllables, or morphographs (prefixes, suffixes, and word bases) and focus on the meaning of the individual morphograph, and on applying a small handful of rules for combining the morphographs for spelling attack. However, it is not at all independent -- it is scripted, and teacher time-intensive.

Edited by Lori D.
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5 hours ago, Gil said:

On my own, I wouldn't have ever been willing to invest $$$ in a spelling programs, but my son really improved by using a meaning based approach called Spelling through Morphographs programs at his BM charter school one year. My advise would be to spend the $$$ and time if you really want a solid program for Spelling That Gets Done.

 

45 minutes ago, Lori D. said:


Good suggestion, Gil!

Morphographs -- I had forgotten that one, but that's another good one for struggling spellers. It overlaps somewhat in method/approach with Sequential Spelling and Megawords. The method is to break words into their syllables, or morphographs (prefixes, suffixes, and word bases) and focus on the meaning of the individual morphograph, and on applying a small handful of rules for combining the morphographs for spelling attack. However, it is not at all independent -- it is scripted, and teacher time-intensive.

I'm doing Spelling through Morphographs with my struggling speller, and it is spelling that gets done here.  It does take teacher involvement, but it's completely scripted, so it's open-and-go, no prep.  There's about 15-30 min of teacher-led instruction, and then 5-15min of independent work.  Overall it takes about 30-40min.  It's done a lot to improve her spelling.  (She was reading over my shoulder and told me that it's now not challenging (which is a bad thing in her book), but that it has helped her ability to spell.)  My oldest is not a linear learner - she tends to struggle, struggle, struggle, and then *bam*, makes a big leap.  StM was never really *hard* for her, but she made a leap about a quarter of the way through, and another around halfway through.  (We are about 60% through right now.)  It's improved my ability to spell orally, as well (a weak point for both of us).  Also, importantly, I feel like it's taught *me* how to teach spelling.  (I really like working through scripted programs that, in effect, teach me how to teach a subject as I'm teaching it.) 

There's a placement test - iirc, the pre-test requires the ability to spell CCVCC words and to spell common consonant digraphs (sh, th, ch).  IOW, StM expects that incoming students can reliably spell one syllable words by sound - that they can break one-syllable words into sounds and spell those sounds with the most common phonogram.  (It took a decent bit of work with my struggling spellers to get them to that point.)  For a while, I made dd break all the new base words and morphographs into sounds before giving her the spelling when I introduced them, as a means of reinforcing and practicing the ability to spell by sound (dd's weak point), although I haven't done that since her latest leap.  Honestly, recently I've been increasing the difficulty for her - by her request - by adding more morphographs onto the words, because since her latest leap she's been getting annoyed at how "easy" the words they gave were.  She doesn't quite understand how thrilling it is to here that spelling is "too easy" after all the years of hard work and bad spelling.  (Although she's not as solid as she may think she is - she still misspells 2-3 words in a page of writing - but those tend to be letter reversals, and she will catch them when re-reading.)
 

Another thing I'm doing with her is Touch Type Read Spell for typing, as it follows an OG progression and helps reinforce reading and spelling.  She says, "Now *that* is hard."  The first module involved a lot of tears, but something clicked in the second module, and now she is aiming to get straight 100s. 

Edited by forty-two
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On 11/5/2018 at 8:17 PM, Paradox5 said:

Spelling You See, maybe?

I forgot about this.  When I started working on spelling with my oldest, she couldn't perceive the middle of words either aurally or visually - she just had a vague and muddled impression of everything but the first and last syllables (and her spelling showed it - the middle of words were a mostly random bunch of letters that roughly followed the visual outline of the word).  She's just all-around weak with auditory processing and sequencing (I did a ton of diy work with her on that, plus went through Rewards), but her visual memory is excellent - she just needed to learn to actually *see* the individual parts of the word.  And the SYS marking method is how she learned it.

We only did seven or so weeks of SYS, till it clicked, but we used the marking system across the curriculum for over a year.  We modified WWE to do studied dictation, with her marking the passage to study it.  Between that and learning to blend sounds together, she had a huge jump in her spelling - went from misspelling everything beyond CVC words to garden-variety bad spelling - and I think it was enough for her to start picking up spelling from her reading.

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We use Soaring with Spelling. I tried a lot of spelling curriculum with my son who is on the autism spectrum. He really struggled with spelling and with schoolwork in general. This worked for him. (But the thing that really improved his spelling was when he got a phone and started texting. 😄 )

Susan in TX

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Spelling Workout is a workbook so everything is laid out and the parent does not even really have to help other than give the final spelling test each week. It has a rule or two each week that it teaches.

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Give the MWIA 3 and the reading grade level test and report back, you can PM me scores if you want, also the nonsense word test, all linked at the end of my syllables page.

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/syllablesspellsu.html

Also, to get a good idea of the actual spelling grade level, here is a spelling test, but the norms are from the late 1800's, true norms for an average kid with no underlying problems taught with phonics but current norms with balanced literacy and poor spelling teaching in the schools are lower.

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Spelling/spellingtests.html

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