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madteaparty

What spelling program has worked for you?

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I never had to use any spelling instruction with DS but DD needs it badly. I’m wondering what the universe of spelling curriculum is and what you’ve liked with your kids. I’d start this the summer between 2nd and 3rd and continue on.

i think she’s set on proving wrong everything I thought I knew with DS...she’s a strong reader, per her teacher, but this doesn’t translate into her writing at all. 

Edited by madteaparty

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I tried nearly everything with my oldest that was out at the time.  What worked for him was constant correction, time, and learning stems/prefixes/suffixes.  We used Word Roots and Wordly Wise together in middle school and he blossomed.  Before that?  Nope.  Nothing worked.

So I went the other direction with the youngest.  I started out with a rule-based curriculum (All About Spelling) and figured if that was too much, we'd switch to Spell By Color.  Well, it was too much and he was so tired of rules, rules, rules that I switched to Dictation Day By Day.  That had constant reinforcement of spelling through rotating words through short dictation pieces.  It was quick, painless, and I could highlight the rules as needed.

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We use Spelling Power which is a nice (occasionally frustrating) book with spelling lists of the 10,000 (or so) most frequent words. She has a really involved process outlined if your student needs it, but we just do it our own way. One of my dc is a quick learner (in spelling) the others need more repetition. The book includes files, but they are not terribly helpful for us.

There are more involved, more rigorous, or more intense programs, but we haven't needed to switch.  I liked buying just one book to see us through, and I'm glad it is working out.

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Keeping a spelling notebook, wherein he keeps track of words he's misspelled in the course of life and school. 

Then once a week I dictate sentences to him using those words. The ones he's already misspelled and copied correctly in his notebook (just a binder and looseleaf paper now). 

If he misspells a word again, he copies it correctly again and we start over. 

Outside of that, I do like programs like Dictation Day by Day or Spelling Wisdom from SCM. And later on (middle school more than elementary), I really like to teach root words. I don't know for sure that teaching root words helps with spelling, but I know it doesn't hurt 🙂 

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36 minutes ago, OKBud said:

Outside of that, I do like programs like Dictation Day by Day or Spelling Wisdom from SCM. And later on (middle school more than elementary), I really like to teach root words. I don't know for sure that teaching root words helps with spelling, but I know it doesn't hurt 🙂 

I have a theory on why it worked for my oldest.  It's the same reason MUS worked to teach him multiplication: it broke it down to simple parts for him to remember, but not too many.  I think once he realized he could figure out spelling based on a word's meaning and origin, it unlocked a LOT for him.  He still has trouble with some common words but his overall spelling got dramatically better.

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Well just to get your goat, I'll tell you that my dd's "awesome reading but poor spelling" issue was due to shockingly poor visual memory. So sure getting a spelling program, but I'd also get her eyes checked. We ended up with a developmental optometrist. They can screen at a regular appointment and then they can do a full developmental vision eval where they look at tracking, convergence, visual processing, etc. So my dd had some issues, but it was that really poor visual memory that explained her poor spelling.

As far as how to teach the spelling, sigh, she's 7? I used SWR. It's in that whole family of WRTR, SWR, AAS (which came out later and is more fully scripted), etc. It would be nice to get a placement test on her and see where she really is. SWR includes placement tests on the WISE Guide. Do you have any testing on her? How bad is the spelling we're talking about? With a good placement test (SPELL-Links I think has one, not sure) you can actually determine where the glitch is. Most tests just kick out grade levels. So I'd want some data first before buying something, because to me it really matters how she's functioning and where the glitch is. Like if she has poor RAN/RAS and phonological processing deficits, you're talking about a different scenario from a kid who can hear the sounds and breakdown the words and just is a lot more crunchy. 

We did a TON of dictation. We dictated the sentences from SWR and we did literature dictation. We did spelling workbooks and we did software. We literally worked on it 45 minutes to an hour a day. Then after her vision therapy we went back through spelling AGAIN using AAS 1-6, just to see it afresh. Pudewa says to have them do their spelling aloud, and some people will have their kids *visualize* the words and spell them aloud backward. If she's actually seeing the word in her mind, she should be able to do this. But then the visual processing actually has to be working, lol. 

We dropped spelling/dictation after 7th or 8th, I forget. Around 7th I think. At that point she was typing enough to use spell check.

Edited by PeterPan
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2 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

once he realized he could figure out spelling based on a word's meaning and origin, it unlocked a LOT for him. 

Yup, all the newest methods are emphasizing morphology. It's usually a couple grades older than the op's dc, more like 4th, but I think that's just a statement of development and norm, not how it has to be. 

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I used Rod & Staff Spelling with all my kids. Nice and simple and cheap, with a lot of emphasis on spelling rules, phonics, etc.

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23 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Well just to get your goat, I'll tell you that my dd's "awesome reading but poor spelling" issue was due to shockingly poor visual memory. So sure getting a spelling program, but I'd also get her eyes checked. We ended up with a developmental optometrist. They can screen at a regular appointment and then they can do a full developmental vision eval where they look at tracking, convergence, visual processing, etc. So my dd had some issues, but it was that really poor visual memory that explained her poor spelling.

As far as how to teach the spelling, sigh, she's 7? I used SWR. It's in that whole family of WRTR, SWR, AAS (which came out later and is more fully scripted), etc. It would be nice to get a placement test on her and see where she really is. SWR includes placement tests on the WISE Guide. Do you have any testing on her? How bad is the spelling we're talking about? With a good placement test (SPELL-Links I think has one, not sure) you can actually determine where the glitch is. Most tests just kick out grade levels. So I'd want some data first before buying something, because to me it really matters how she's functioning and where the glitch is. Like if she has poor RAN/RAS and phonological processing deficits, you're talking about a different scenario from a kid who can hear the sounds and breakdown the words and just is a lot more crunchy. 

We did a TON of dictation. We dictated the sentences from SWR and we did literature dictation. We did spelling workbooks and we did software. We literally worked on it 45 minutes to an hour a day. Then after her vision therapy we went back through spelling AGAIN using AAS 1-6, just to see it afresh. Pudewa says to have them do their spelling aloud, and some people will have their kids *visualize* the words and spell them aloud backward. If she's actually seeing the word in her mind, she should be able to do this. But then the visual processing actually has to be working, lol. 

We dropped spelling/dictation after 7th or 8th, I forget. Around 7th I think. At that point she was typing enough to use spell check.

I have no testing on her. I don’t really know what’s normal because I just have the two kids and this is not something my son ever had an issue with. Her teacher said her writing is somewhat lacking but I don’t think there needs to be a huge amount of writing in second grade so that bit I’m not concerned about. I will look at these placement tests, thanks very much!

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4 minutes ago, hollyhock2 said:

I used Rod & Staff Spelling with all my kids. Nice and simple and cheap, with a lot of emphasis on spelling rules, phonics, etc.

I’m looking at this for English too. The religious examples will drive me crazy for sure 

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I'm pretty sure my oldest's "awesome reading but poor spelling" was stealth dyslexia.  Despite me teaching her with pure phonics, she ended up reading primarily by sight.  Turned out that was because she didn't have the underlying phonemic processing skills to learn to read by phonics.  (In 2nd grade, after she was reading fluently, I gave her the Barton pre-screening, and she failed both the syllable section and the distinguishing phonemes section.  That was when I realized that her big leap that allowed her to finally learn to read wasn't her brain finally making the phonics connection, like I'd thought, but was her brain making the connections that allowed her to learn to read from phonics teaching *without* having the phonics connection. <sigh>)  But by all appearances she was reading well - she was a sight reading "success story", in that she really could successfully decipher words she hadn't learned.  She used her excellent pattern matching skills and her good visual memory to make up for her horrible phonemic processing, inattention to detail, and general difficulty with putting things into linear order.  But she could only successfully *pronounce* new words that were in her speaking vocabulary; words she'd only encountered in print she would mangle horribly.  But she was in 2nd grade with a huge vocabulary - no one expects a 2nd grader to successfully tackle unfamiliar multi-syllable words.

But the fact that she was unable to perceive the middle of words either aurally or visually led to her truly atrocious spelling ("inrteuering" for "interrupting") - she was spelling (and reading) off the first and last syllable plus her hazy memory of the word's outline.  I did a *lot* of things to work on her spelling (and, covertly, her reading).  The only words she could spell were the only words in which she could perceive all the individual letters and sounds: CVC words.  Before I realized the extent of the problem, I tried and abandoned several things in 3rd grade.  But the following is what worked, starting the summer between 3rd and 4th.

To help her learn to pay attention to the visual details of words, I did several weeks of Spelling You See (enough for it to click) and then had her use the SYS color-coded marking system on all her copywork (in WWE2) for a year.

At the same time, to help her phonemic processing, and to force her to learn to blend, I did covert blending practice disguised as cursive practice.  Learning cursive was hard for her.  I've read that you have to read/spell by syllables in order to write in cursive, and well, she could do neither, so I tried to teach her how to do both through custom blending/cursive practice.  After she'd learned all the cursive letters and practiced the common phonograms in cursive (in the latter half of 3rd), I had her work through the first 2,000 words in our phonics primer, Let's Read: A Linguistic Approach (starting in 4th).  I wrote up all the words using the super-spiffy sound pictures from Dekodiphukan (Decode-if-you-can) and printed them out.  (She'd already learned the sound pictures from playing with the Dekodiphukan apps.)  Then, she'd have to sound out the word from the sound pictures (forcing her to practice blending because she didn't know the sound picture words by sight), write the word in cursive (I coded the pictures to indicate spelling), and then read the cursive word back.  She did 20 words a day, repeating when things got tough (notably when starting blends, which were very hard for her to hear), and took about a year to finish through most all one-syllable words.  (When she had problems blending the sound pictures together, I'd have her do the Phonics Pathways train blending activity, using homemade magnetic sound picture tiles; I was teaching my middle to read at this point, and used a *lot* of the same materials and techniques with both of them, since they both needed to learn to blend.)  I started her on cursive copywork at that point.

At the same time (4th) I did REWARDS with her, which was helpful overall, but suffered a bit from being both too hard in some areas and too easy in others.  Her ability to tackle unfamiliar multi-syllable words went up, but she was still shaky on blending syllables together - I think learning to visually break up words bolstered her still-weak ability to break up words by sound.  My goal between the intense one syllable word blending practice, and learning to blend syllables together into words, was that between the two she'd learn to read & spell any given syllable and learn to read (in REWARDS) & spell (in Spelling through Morphographs, discussed below) any given long word by syllables, and then would have the tools to tackle most any word.  One thing with her was that she needed a ton of practice before she could generalize her phonics skills to words she hadn't seen before, so we worked through a *ton* of one syllable words, hitting all the syllable patterns.

At this point her spelling improved to "garden variety bad speller", which was an immense improvement.  After finished REWARDS, I started Spelling Through Morphographs during 5th (which takes a similar focus-on-syllables approach as REWARDS, only with a spelling focus instead of reading focus), and we've been slowly working through it.  Something clicked one-third of the way through (beginning of 6th), and she's a much better speller now - there are a few patterns that still trip her up, but she can spell most things, certainly more than enough for spell-check, and she can usually catch her mistake when she re-reads what she wrote.  (I think StM's approach has helped with her linear order problem.)  I've also started typing this year (7th), using Touch, Type, Read, and Spell, which takes an OG approach (so yet another covert pass through phonics and spelling).  She struggled hard through the first module - something about typing was hard for her - but then things clicked and she's done fine since.

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1 hour ago, madteaparty said:

I have no testing on her. I don’t really know what’s normal because I just have the two kids and this is not something my son ever had an issue with. Her teacher said her writing is somewhat lacking but I don’t think there needs to be a huge amount of writing in second grade so that bit I’m not concerned about. I will look at these placement tests, thanks very much!

Hey look, I googled and the one from SWR popped up first! And seriously, I just googled spelling grade level test. :biggrin:  Anyways it's quick, seems to correlate well to standardized testing we've done (and boy and we done a TON), and it gives you some useful data. You should be able to get both a mastery score (first word missed) and overall grade level. Very, very seldom are the mastery and overall matched. We hit a magical moment where it happened on dd, but we were done a TON of dictation, which of course was targeting mastery. Just in general, you'd expect a spread. 

Anyways, here you go and it's free. http://www.bhibooks.net/f/Spelling_Diagnostic_Test_1.pdf  I'll go look and see if something more like what I was also thinking of is available online. There are things SLPs do that kick out more detailed data. One of the programs might have that online for free.

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Ok, here's an example of a more detailed spelling assessment. This is helping you think in terms of phonograms (the actual sound to written correspondences) to see where the breakdown is occurring. And, fwiw, I would also do the free Barton intake assessment. https://bartonreading.com/students/#ss  The Barton tool is a screening to see if the dc has adequate phonological processing, working memory, etc. to go into any basic approach and succeed, so just a screener. Still it can catch things on some kids, and it's free and takes less than 15 minutes to administer. I would do it first, then break and do the other assessments.

Here's that longer tool that shows the words with a chart to show what they were looking for.

 https://mypearsontraining.com/assets/files/documents/TG_WTW_Assessment.pdf  

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Btw, if you do those 3 assessments and want to talk over the data, post results here. There will probably be some patterns to help it be obvious what to do. Or it won't be obvious, lol. At the very least you'll exclude some things. But yeah, feel free to post the results. 

Adding: I don't remember how many tests she included in the SWR file online, but there are 4 or 6 or 10 (I forget) in the Wise Guide. You can use them to track your progress month to month even and make data. Sometimes just getting into a solid methodology makes things click and their scores go up. So it's another reason to make data, to track progress.

And I'm just assuming a bit more crunchy, not a natural speller, kwim? If this kid were a natural speller, you wouldn't bother.

Edited by PeterPan
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We have used All About Spelling and love it.   I really like that it isn't just random spelling lists but teaches by concept (and then teaches the rule-breakers...but it is much easier to learn the rule followers first). 

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I found Rod & Staff spelling with my oldest and used it with the next four kids too. Natural spellers buzzed through and did even better. Not so great spellers were met where they were at and steadily moved forward. It's painless to implement, teaches spelling rules, requires *using* those rules, no busywork or fluff exercises, and it averaged 10-20 minutes a day at any level. 

Then came the youngest. He's 8 now. He began R&S 2 around the same level everyone else began the series. It was so hard for him I shelved it after a month. Dude could read middle school books but struggled to spell cvc words. A year later it was pretty much the same. He'd only learned words like the, you, are, etc because of Duolingo. (Studying Spanish but couldn't spell the cat sat on the mat; asynchronous much?) This January I started him on Writing Road to Reading's spelling. It's not "fun" and it's parent intensive. After a couple months he can spell simple words and he's getting good at breaking words into syllables. It's a forward direction and confidence at last. 🙂

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I had a similar situation.  ODS was a natural speller.  YDS was most definitely not.  We used Spelling Workout at first, but there was too much busy work/worksheets and not much retention.  The child hates worksheets and resists writing.

We did 3 things in 3rd grade:

1)He entered a spelling bee.   This was a happy accident; ODS was interested and YDS decided to copy and try it too.  YDS age-wise was at the top end of his group (grade 1-3), so his word list was, for him,  appropriately challenging (not way too hard).   We switched out spelling practice from written to "spelling bee style" oral recitation to practice for the competition.  Win-win for YDS - no writing and high motivation.   He worked very hard and did passably well in the contest.

2) I switched to  Words Their Way after doing the assessment Peter Pan linked to above to determine placement.  He likes the word sorts (cut and paste - no writing!).  Lists are explicitly rules based.

3) Switched all our spelling practice to word sorts and oral recitation (we use Anki to organize). 

We are now a year later.  His spelling has improved immeasurably.  Some of this may be developmental.   Spelling is now a pleasant subject that he likes.  And despite not doing any written formal spelling practice, his spelling skills do translate well into his other written work.

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All About Spelling is a pain, but it worked for ds. When I say "worked" what I mean is he can now type words and have them close enough to get corrected by spellcheck.

However, How to Teach Spelling is a heck of a lot simpler and easy to use for a kid who isn't in dire straits. So that's my general rec.

Edited by Farrar
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We love AAS it’s very thorough and even for an older child starting at level one was very remedial it created a great cadence of learning and expectations.  We also identified that  the multi sensory approach was the best as we often tripped over our letters.  (Oral spelling: Niece/written: nicec -does not see a difference) After leaving ps in 2nd grade where there was no spelling and trying out Spelling You See, Building Spelling Skills - Evan Moor and a public school hand me down (HMH or Pearson). This was our first kiddo that wasn’t a natural speller but a phenomenal reader. Our oldest competed in spelling bee’s at 3rd grade placing in districts and going to state competitions - he was in A beka curriculum. 

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For my poor speller,  Apples and Pears.  For my natural spellers,  Soaring with Spelling. 

AAS was a total bust- my kids all hated it!  We like LOE Foundations fir learning to read, but the LOE Essentials program for spelling was another bust.  

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A little bit of R&S and a lot of Dictation Day by Day has been what has worked the best so far.

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For #1 and #3, who learn similarly, All About Spelling worked (is working) well. For #2, who is a totally different style learner, AAS was a total bust, but Apples and Pears is working so far. It uses morphemes and ‘chunks’, and very few rules, which is what my DS seems to need. 

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Dd is a good reader, spelling - not so much. All About Spelling has helped tremendously. And no, we don't use the tiles. Everything goes on the white board.

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I use Spelling Workout, but found I do not care for the new edition as much as the older (1994) edition. If that gets to be too difficult to get, I might go to something like Spelling Power or R&S spelling. I also have used Word Roots software in the past. For some reason, that does not seem to be working on my computer anymore, even though I am trying to use it on the same computer as I previously used it on. I need to toy with that. If I cannot get it to work, I am unsure if I will replace it.

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What worked for my DD who struggled with spelling was repetition, lots and lots of repetition. While I used All About Spelling, I added in a ton of review of previously taught words. We spent far more time on reviewing old words than on learning anything new.

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AAS was a complete bust for my twins as well. I think it just had too many moving parts and just frustrated them. I'm a natural speller myself and found all of the rules to be tedious and overwhelming but that's just my experience. We tried Sequential Spelling and then moved on to Spelling You See. We have been doing SYS for a few years now and it seems to be working. My girls love the stories that come with SYS (we are in level C now, which is wild animals) and they look forward to reading about the new animal facts weekly. But the memorization due to repetition works for them. 

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I've done so many things for spelling, mainly for my eldest. 

We've done phonics-based ones, but he struggles to hear the differences in a lot of sounds and remembering the rules, we've done word origin based ones (Words by Marcia K Henry was helpful and I am intending to pull it back out for my 9-year-old in the autumn) but again memory comes into play, we've done Sequential Spelling, we've done Essentials for Teaching and Testing Spelling which has word lists by age, we've done daily dictation for spelling, we've done CGP books, and at times we've done a mixture of a few of these. Each one helps a bit, but still at 14 and years of this, the occasional 'thum' gets put down. It's frustrating for all involved and the best advice I've been given is don't spend a lot on it and use something none of you hate that you can do in 20 or so minutes and move on. 

Really, the only thing that worked for my struggling spellers is a lot of repetition and having them actively look back over his work and underline which ones they think may be misspelt. Being proactively working on the editing side and get into the habit of checking has helped things move along.

 

Right now, my 7-year-old doesn't do spelling separately, he's working through Ultimate Phonics and we discuss and work on spelling with that as most of the lists are grouped by sound and spelling. So today it was Multisyllable >> Consonant plus le so words like candle, simple, eagle in reading and copywork. With my 14 and 9-year-old, we're currently using SpellingCity for practice. I keep a notepad on my computer of words they get wrong in their writing along with some words from elsewhere like lists of homophones and words similar to the ones they missed from the word lists by age. I update their lists weekly or so. They currently have two lists, a general list and a homophone list, though the 14-year-old is soon going to have a general and science word list though I imagine they're/there/their is going to show up in general now and then. My 12-year-old also has a list, but as a natural speller, I more often pull off of 'words commonly misspelt by high schoolers' and other similar lists and as she's recently transferred into school, we're still working on how or whether to include in afterschooling. 

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Apples and Pears for my poor spellers.  How to Teach Spelling with my other kids. I am not a fan of AAS.  It is expensive for the words covered per level. HTTS covers way more, same rules/spiral dictation included, for a fraction of the cost.

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On 3/18/2019 at 10:30 AM, BusyMom5 said:

For my poor speller,  Apples and Pears.  For my natural spellers,  Soaring with Spelling. 

AAS was a total bust- my kids all hated it!  We like LOE Foundations fir learning to read, but the LOE Essentials program for spelling was another bust.  

I used LOE Foundations as well. My kids can read one and two syllable words easily but struggle beyond that. Spelling is a bust. I am disappointed with LOE. It is so expensive and I feel I wasted time and money and now have to backtrack. I am looking for a simple spelling program. I don't want to buy more letter tiles or flash cards. Just a book. Is Apples and Pears like that? I am going to use Phonics and Reading Pathways to get my kids' reading back on track. Spelling Wisdom looks neat but does it teach rules? 

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On 3/23/2019 at 7:51 AM, VaScarlett said:

Anyone please feel free to give their opinion. I need help. Thanks.

If you're not getting responses you might try making your own thread. 🙂 

The only one you listed that I've used is Spelling Wisdom. It does not teach any rules. It's studied dictation only. 

I wrote about Writing Road to Reading above. I'm using an old 4th edition book and the phonogram flash cards. That's it. 

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On 3/23/2019 at 6:49 AM, VaScarlett said:

I used LOE Foundations as well. My kids can read one and two syllable words easily but struggle beyond that. Spelling is a bust. I am disappointed with LOE. It is so expensive and I feel I wasted time and money and now have to backtrack. I am looking for a simple spelling program. I don't want to buy more letter tiles or flash cards. Just a book. Is Apples and Pears like that? I am going to use Phonics and Reading Pathways to get my kids' reading back on track. Spelling Wisdom looks neat but does it teach rules? 

I don't like things about LOE but my kids ended up pretty good readers and spellers after Foundations.  I didn't do everything in the program.  Sometimes I skipped the games or some scripting.  Oh, and I just realized both had extra work.  I did Bookshark reading with my daughter in first grade along with LOE C and D.  My son has been doing the Abeka spelling workbook for first grade along with LOE C and D, so maybe that has helped them.

I just looked at a copy of Soaring with Spelling.  It has workbook activities and teaches rules.  R&S spelling is similar with workbook and rules.  Spelling Power also teaches rules.  I didn't like Spelling Power because it wasn't challenging enough.  Same issue with R&S.  However, I would recommend trying R&S.  It is inexpensive and may be perfect if your child is struggling.  I find the switch to other programs difficult because the rules are different from what we did in LOE, so I just revert to LOE rules.

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