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workingmom

Spelling for 5/6th grade

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DD will be coming home to homeschool next year. Her spelling is lacking and she makes lots of spelling mistakes when writing. I had used Spelling Workout for DSs when they were homeschooling years ago, but they started from the beginning with that series. Any recs for a good spelling program starting out late elementary. So far in her private school, she just has spelling lists every week, and by in large she can study for the test, but then either never uses those words or will spell them wrong later.  We're hoping to take a month of in the summer, then ease into homeschooling over the summer.  So want to start looking at curriculum that might work.

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DD was in 4th grade when we started hs'ing. She knew almost no phonics so I started her with AAS level 1. She was an early and intuitive reader, nut nad at spelling. She was annoyed that it started off so easy, but she went through the levels very, very quickly (sometimes a whole lesson per day) and was up to grade level by the end of 5th grade. She spells just fine now and is a great writer. 

This may not be true for your child, but for my DD the reason she couldn't spell wasn't lack of ability but lack of proper phonics instruction - just lists of words to memorize with no spelling rules explained or applied. So we had to back up and start from the beginning. Jumping into a spelling program mid-stream wouldn't have helped. 

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My younger kid had spelling issues, and we ended up using the old-school Kottmeyer books (bought used on amazon) for upper elementary grades.  They're the same books that I used in school, and they seemed to help.  For 6th grade, we're going to use SpellingWorks!  by Halverson (I think that's how you spell it).  It's not as much a list-based program as a set of exercises that look at a different rules and their exceptions - like when to double final consonants before adding suffixes. My older didn't have much problem with spelling so we often didn't really do it, but I had him work through this book at some point to help cement rules.  Older did it in a semester, and I'm guessing that younger will, too.  

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I've used Spelling Power here with my not-great to not-bad spellers. It is a book of the 10,000 most common words broken into spelling lists based on rules. If you spell the word correctly you are done with it, if you miss you study it and spell it again later. I've modified the recommended approach heavily to streamline it and suit us. I liked having the whole thing in one book, one purchase.  Some of the lists irk me by having "followed" after "follows" and "follow" but my frustration masked my kids laugh and then we move on.

 

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Spelling by Sound and Structure (Rod and Staff Publishers). The word lists aren't terribly difficult, but the written work each week is challenging. It doesn't just teach how to spell a list of words; it includes dictionary skills, adding prefixes and suffixes, using the words in context, and more.

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thanks all look into AAS. I'm worried she's going to balk at starting from the beginning.

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I am not an AAS fan. It is expensive for what it covers.  

For my horrible spellers (dyslexic), Apples and Pears has led to the most improvement.  https://www.soundfoundations.co.uk/en_US/learning-to-spell/ It has a placement test and the entire program is viewable online.

For my avg spellers I use How to Teach Spelling https://www.rainbowresource.com/product/002898/How-to-Teach-Spelling.html?trackcode=googleBase&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&adpos=&scid=scplp002898&sc_intid=002898&gclid=Cj0KCQjwhtT1BRCiARIsAGlY51J1cG7vQ3Q3grcIMd0zPE3XUQiYpMzIJ-1U3KvMhK6VcBeUALBCFPMaAnH6EALw_wcB

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I am not a fan of memorizing spelling lists.  My kids could easily "memorize" a list and then forget it the next day in their writing.  We do dictation lessons where I select a passage that doesn't have more than 4-5 words my child doesn't know how to spell and you could use your kids books they are reading.  Have them scan the passage (we use this as a time to discuss grammar as well) and highlight words they are not sure they can spell.  Make them visualize the word and see it before writing it when they think they have it then I find parts of the passage and dictate to them.  (It could take a couple days before having those words and grammar down which is fine...)  We have had great success with this!  Also, not sure if your child is a reader but reading good material will help build your kids vocabulary and spelling!

Edited by Homeschoolmom3

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17 minutes ago, Homeschoolmom3 said:

I am not a fan of memorizing spelling lists.  My kids could easily "memorize" a list and then forget it the next day in their writing.  We do dictation lessons where I select a passage that doesn't have more than 4-5 words my child doesn't know how to spell and you could use your kids books they are reading.  Have them scan the passage (we use this as a time to discuss grammar as well) and highlight words they are not sure they can spell.  Make them visualize the word and see it before writing it when they think they have it then I find parts of the passage and dictate to them.  (It could take a couple days before having those words and grammar down which is fine...)  We have had great success with this!  Also, not sure if your child is a reader but reading good material will help build your kids vocabulary and spelling!

This approach would never improve my kids' spelling. Studied dictation is a complete failure here. Reading, especially, has zero impact on their ability to spell.  My college student reads 100s of pages per week in multiple languages; all it does for her is make her a horrible speller in multiple languages.  😉 

Some kids (mine for sure) need daily systematic instruction in order to even make small gains in spelling. 

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On 5/7/2020 at 11:45 PM, workingmom said:

thanks all look into AAS. I'm worried she's going to balk at starting from the beginning.

Just go faster. I ran through levels 1-6 years ago with my dd after her vision therapy. We had done SWR (this was before AAS was out, back in the OLD days, haha) for years, but she had very poor visual memory. The vision therapy fixed her convergence issues and then her visual memory and spelling started to come it. It was like she was seeing spelling anew, so I was like fine we'll run you through a whole spelling program! She was 11/12 at the time, and yeah we ran through AAS1-6 in short order. I'm talking like a summer. You can do AAS1 in a week with an older dc, mercy. Just strap your boots on and go. :biggrin:

There would be that question of how her visual memory and attention is. That's a pretty common issue, having spelling memorized for tests but not applied in writing. Sometimes the kids have low working memory and aren't attending, aren't putting energy into spelling because they're working so hard just to get it out. So another thing that was very important for us was DICTATION. Dictation, when well done, is letting them hear, see, say, motor plan, everything the words.

You want errorless, so you want to encourage her to ASK FOR HELP if she doesn't know the spelling. You want to turn on that self-monitoring. Put a bowl of m&ms in front and every time she asks for help she gets one. Hehe. And then, after she writes the words/phrases/sentences you want to have her read it back aloud, again to get more inputs to cement that visual memory.

Also consider typing, because we have kinesthetic memory for spelling.

Consider working on visual memory and working memory every day with games. They're fun, motivating, and might help. 

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On 5/7/2020 at 4:53 PM, Ellie said:

Spelling by Sound and Structure (Rod and Staff Publishers). The word lists aren't terribly difficult, but the written work each week is challenging. It doesn't just teach how to spell a list of words; it includes dictionary skills, adding prefixes and suffixes, using the words in context, and more.

This works well for us, too. We switched from a program where DS was literally memorizing his spelling list long enough to pass his end of week test and then poof, it's gone. He had plenty of phonics instruction but my best guess is that he just wasn't understanding how phonics and spelling rules are connected. Since switching to R&S Spelling by Sound & Structure in January, I've seen a tremendous improvement in his long term retention of spelling because he's now connecting the dots and remembering the phonics/spelling rules rather than just the list of words.

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