Hi. My name is Marietta. I am new to this forum and so glad to be here!
My 8 yo son told me today that he cannot picture words in his head when he closes his eyes.
Does anybody have any tips or tricks that I could say to him to help him understand how to “see” a word in his mind/with his eyes shut? I tried to explain how to do it, but I couldnt get the right words out.
I think some people just are wired differently. I am a great speller and a great reader, but I NEVER picture words in my head. I use phonics rules and sound them out. My 8 yo dd is the same as me. I know it isn’t as CM friendly, but major phonics and the rules helped her tons! One program I’ve recently discovered that I’m working with is All About Spelling. It makes intensive phonics much more mom friendly.
I’m sorry I can’t be of direct help.
Thank you Christie for your feedback. Your post is very helpful.
You’ve raised another question for me…
How important is it that our children learn the Spelling Rules? Personally, I cannot recall a single rule except the rhyme, “i before e, except after c…”
I just researched to find out what the spelling rules are, and they seem so abstract to me. I cant help but think the rules would be too complex for my boys (6yo and 8yo)especially since neither of them have a strong phonics background to begin with. (They are both reading well on their own now.) I mean how necassary is it that they know what a dipthograph (sp?) is? It seems like learning the definitions of the words used in the spelling rules would be a whole ‘nother project.
I hope someone can help me.
Thank you! And thank you again Christie!
I don’t even know what a dipthograph is! 🙂 A lot of the “rules” that I’ve seen online and in some programs are abstract and don’t always follow through. I’ve used a strict O-G approach and that means that English is phonetically correct over 90% of the time, if you know the rules. I began w/ SWR which is very good and thorough, but very time consuming for teacher and student. I switched to Phonics Road, better, but not perfect in my book. Then I went to LEM Phonics from Australia and I really like it. Now I’m combining what I’ve learned from those programs w/ All About Spelling and it’s a perfect fit for us. All About Spelling is very hands on w/ letter tiles and takes things one rule at a time. The author is very knowledgeable and accessible, too.
I know lots of people that feel it is not necessary, but I like the rules. I’ve never met a great speller that isn’t also a great reader, but I’ve met plenty of great readers who are terrible spellers. I took the approach of teaching spelling as the path to reading. Knowing the rules helps in so many ways for my dd.
A couple of rule examples below…There are about 28 or so rules, not that many when you think about it. We learn them as we need them.
When to use c, k or ck? Always try c first. It can’t be used before e, i or y or when a suffix beginning w/ e, i or y might follow b/c it will say /s/. If c doesn’t work, try ck. CK can only be used after a single short vowel – Jack, tick, etc. If all else fails, use k.
English words don’t end in i, substitute y. Spaghetti isn’t an English word, but a transplant.
To make the /ch/ sound, use tch after a short vowel and ch every other time.
What is a silent final e for?
1 – to make the vowel say its name – ie. make, kite
2 – you can’t end a word in u or v – ie. true and love
3 – to make c and g say /s/ and /j/ – ie. dance, large
4 – every syllable must have a vowel – ie. Bi ble and ap ple
5 – odd job e – ie. are
Now, let me explain why I don’t use the CM method of prepared dictation only. I do use dictation, but it’s only one part of our puzzle. For my dd and I suspect my ds, too, if I tried to cover up a mistake while they were trying to write the word, they would be so distracted that they would totally forget about the rest of the exercise. Also, I’ve found having the rules means that dd can figure things out in her writing (letters or journal or whatever), she doesn’t have to depend on her memory of thousands of words individually. By knowing the 70-72 phonograms and 28 rules, she can figure it out a great majority of the time. Learning < 100 items versus memorizing thousands of words based on appearance is easier for us. I never use words like dipthograph w/ dd.
Like I said before, I know many people take the strict CM approach of seeing the word in your mind’s eye, but this would be an utter failure at our house. I’m sure others will chime in with ideas from that approach, but if you should decide to go a different route, there are plenty of helpful programs to help you on the way. I was a natural speller and didn’t really know what a phonogram was or what the actual rules were until I began teaching dd.
I just want to second the All About Spelling curriculum. My daughter is in 3rd grade and is a great reader but struggles with spelling. I got this program for her because I have a strong belief in learning phonics and I love that this curriculum teaches just the truth about spelling, no gimmicks or rules that only work part of the time.
I am also using this program to teach my 6 & 4 yr olds to read. It is a great program that appeals to all learning styles. There is an enormous amount of information about it on the website. http://www.all-about-spelling.comcreed001Member
I didn’t even know there were so many spelling rules. LOL. I do have to second that some of us are just wired differently, I am a great speller but I don’t picture the words in my mind. I sound them out, always have. We print out our readings, whenever the boys have trouble with a word they’ll highlight it for us to add to their spelling list and/or vocab list. The All About Spelling seems spendy, is it or is it just initial outlay? I have two little people that I’m starting to investigate curriculum for, so every idea helps.
Each book is non-consumable and can be used by any number of kids, covers ~ 1 year of work for about $30. Not too bad.
The letter tiles and magnets are a one time expense. My kids (one more than the other) enjoy manipulating them. The phonogram cd is good if you don’t know all of the pure sounds.
In the end it is more than I paid for my original SWR, but worth it! It’s so much more mom and CM friendly and doable.
OKay, the All about Spelling looks good. I do have a question. Of those who have used this program, is the beginning going to frustrate a child who already is an excellent reader?
For example, my son, 8 1/2, took off with reading quite easily after starting with a CM based phonics program; he’s read The Hobbit twice. However, he too seems to struggle with spelling and I can’t figure it out. It always came easily to me (I see it in my head very well, but my hubby is a poor speller, but he doesn’t read much)and it seems to come easier to my dd who was a slower-to-read child.
I use the McGuffey readers in the CM style of dictation with spelling. I notice that my dd can recite the words very easily as well as figure out words easier by sounding, whereas my son has a very hard time reciting a word after just having seen it and struggles with sounding; I don’t know if it’s an attention thing or what. He’s SO visual in everything else, I would assume that it would come easy to him as he is a voracious reader and visual. What’s crazy is Hebrew comes very easy to him. Perhaps I shouldn’t have backed off the phonics instruction when he took off reading, but he lost interst. So I take some fault here b/c I worked alot harder with my dd since reading came slower.
But now with what I’m seeing and hearing, his struggle here needs to be tackled so he can succeed.
So back to my original question; since he’s already a big reader, is the beginning to going to bore him? Also, are the tiles necessary? I already have some magnets; can’t I just use those?
Thanks for bring ing this up Marietta (and welcome!), it’s been on my mind, too.
The beginning (book 1) of AAS is very easy for my dd who learned spelling first w/ SWR, but covers important concepts and rules. But, the point is spelling, not reading. You need to start at the beginning or you will miss very important topics. If it’s too easy, go at a quicker pace and move onto Book 2. We covered Book 1 in about 3 weeks, but my daughter had the SWR under her belt for 2.5 years and knew these rules. It was review for us. For my 5 yo ds, we are using it at 2 paces – one for reading and one for spelling.
The letter tiles are nice as each phonogram has its own tile and they are color coded. I have read of moms who do it w/ pencil and paper or a whiteboard, but we like the visual cues of the letter tiles. I think you would lose part of the benefit w/o the tiles, but that is my opinion. SWR used a complex word marking system to show which rules covered what and the letter tiles do that just as well. You will MOST DEFINITELY want the magnets if you order the tiles, otherwise set up is a pain. Many moms use a cookie sheet for their whiteboard. Until a couple of weeks ago, I used a 2′ x 3′ piece of sheet metal w/ the edges wrapped in duct tape. Now, I have a gigantic magnetic whiteboard my dad bought for me from Sams.
Would I still use the word lists from McGuffey readers with this spelling program?
I am most interested in the CD-Rom; he needs to train his ear for the correct sounds. I notice he doesn’t seem to ‘listen’ to himself say these words; and this is my most verbose child! With the most expansive imagination and reading level! It just doesn’t make sense to me.
I recommend the CD highly if you need to learn the sounds. It’s simple, but effective.
You wouldn’t need to use the McGuffey word lists as you’ll be covering words by their appropriate rule and the lists wouldn’t match up. However, once you’ve got a good bit of AAS under your belt, you may want to throw it in occasionally to see where you are. I use diagnostic spelling tests about once every month or two for the purpose of grade placement (to see how we’re advancing). AAS doesn’t move your grade level up as quickly as other O-G spelling programs, but that is intentional as it covers 1 rule at a time instead of many. This is especially ok, since your son is such a great reader.
AAS has a forum for users called The Chatterbee. I’ve checked on it a couple of times and there are some useful tips. I try to limit myself to this forum mostly and only occasionally venture over, but I mention it in case you are interested.
I’ll be away for a week and may not be checking in, but I’ll be happy to offer any help when I return.
Thank you to everyone who has chimed in. I appreciate everyone’s input.
I hesitate to even say this but the day after I posted my question, my son came up to me out of the blue and enthusiastically stated, “Mom! I CAN see words when I close my eyes! Listen. (He closes his eyes.) Cat. C-A-T!” 😀
I still feel like the spelling rules are too abstract for him right now.
I’m planning to use Sonya’s Spelling Wisdom. I’m very excited about it. It just seems so rich and natural to me. The plan is to work through Book 1 over the next two years. I’ll let you know how it’s working for us.
Thank you again everyone for your feedback!richpondParticipant
Thanks Maritta for bringing this topic up and thank you Christie for the advice about AAS. I am sold on it!! Do you use it with multiple children? I have a soon to be K ds, soon to be 2nd dd, and soon to be 4th ds..and I am wondering how I might use it for all three. Is it something I can teach to all three at the same time or do I need to set up 15 min. individual time with each child. Since it goes with the pace of your child I am assuming that I would have to use it individually.
What does a lesson look like for you guys? I looked on the website last week but can’t remember seeing a good sample step by step of what I would be doing in a lesson. Could you help flesh that out for me? When you have time. Thanks.
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