Pacing for SW/ULW with older students

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  • JennNC

    Would it be okay to go through SW and ULW level one in a year instead of in two years? My kids are much older than the recommended starting age. They are not solid in their spelling yet and they really need to be in level one. They are both dyslexic and very late readers. They read well now, and so we are focusing on the various writing skills like spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.

    For reference, my son is in 7th grade and my daughter is in 5th. I don’t want to overwhelm them but I’m concerned about taking two years per level at this age.

    Thank you for any advice you can give me!


    I would recommend not trying to go too quickly, if they are not firm on the principles.  If you’re really concerned, perhaps increase the lessons from 2x to 3x a week (M/W/F)–that would increase your coverage by a third.  Also, currently, ULW 4 and 5 are not out, so you will likely catch up.  Perhaps also assess whether or not you should begin with Level 1 or Level 2.  My son completed Level 2 over 5th and 6th grades.

    Karen Smith

    It is important for skill based subjects, like spelling, grammar, and math, that you start where the student is at and progress at the student’s pace, rather than focusing on the grade level suggestions on the curriculum. You can use our placement guide and helpful tips to place each of your children in Spelling Wisdom and Using Language Well. Scroll down the linked page to find the placement guide.

    We recommend that you work at a pace of two lessons of ULW each week, even if your student places “behind” the suggested grade levels. You want the student to have time to digest the material being learned. However, you may find that your older child may need to do more lessons each week to finish ULW 3 before graduating, depending on where he places with the placement guide. In that case, you may work at a slightly faster pace of 3 or 4 times per week if your child does not become overwhelmed with the material being learned.

    Any student who finishes through ULW 3 before graduation will have a solid education in grammar and English usage. ULW 4 and ULW 5 will focus more on writing with a review of grammar.


    I just wanted to thank you both for taking the time to answer my question. I know it probably seems odd that I’m finally replying after all this time! I followed this advice last year and my kids did well with it. I’m back here rereading your comments today as I started feeling anxious that perhaps my kids were not progressing quickly enough this year. It’s so good to be reminded to just start where the student is and go forward calmly from there. Thank you again!

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