I am wondering what experiences/recommendations you would have for an 8 year old who in the past has gotten overwhelmed with too many “rules” of spelling, and at the same time is also very likely to just forget her memorized lists?? I am at a crossroads of sorts with my daughter and I really need to find something to help us. The curric. we used last year was just not a good match b/c she (and I!) would get very confused with all of the different rules. This year we have used A Reason for Spelling b/c I thought if she had multiple methods of learning her words, it would probably work better. But no, with this system, she simply memorizes for the test and then poof! it’s gone.
Each time she attempts to write anything that isn’t direct copywork, the tears just start to flow. She can read at a 5th grade level, and I am personally confused as to why these two things are not tying together. I am thinking of using the SCM recommeded Spelling Wisdom for 3rd grade next year, but am concerned with the writing aspect of it all. The other consideration I have would be to use All About Spelling and beginning with level 1. She always gets confused with sounding out words and says “I never know what to use!” b/c there are so many exceptions. Which makes me then think the rules would be incredibly useful to learn. I am sooo stuck on what to do! Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated! THank you!!MistyParticipant
I don’t have a lot, but would like to say we had tried many systems out there with no luck. I am not a great speller and the programs we tried from just dication to rule/list books didn’t stick. We switched about 2 yrs ago to All About Spelling and have made HUGE progress, not only with my children but with me. The way it gives rules, uses the rules and playes with the rules inforces them and has helped me understand them. There is a jail card you write the rule breakers on, weird but they then just stick out in your mind as to which ones they are. My children also hated spelling, now they don’t argue they just come prepared.
So I basicly think it’s just finding the right program for you and your family. For me this one works cause I have 7 kids and the oldest 3 all learn very differently, one is very auditory, one is very visual and one is hands on. This program uses all 3. So it is a hit in my house.
Don’t worry though so much at 8. That’s still very young for spelling. I just started my 8 yr old 2 weeks ago with level 1 in the program we are using.
Sounds to me that perhaps something like All About Spelling might be a good fit for her. I am about 2/3 of the way through Level 1 with dd6 and I have already seen definite improvement in her confidence about spelling (as evidenced by the fact that she is now trying to write a lot and figure things out on her own, before she WANTED to write things but usually didn’t want to try because it was too hard), and I’ve also seen improvement in her ability to break down larger words to sound them out in reading. AAS DOES go into the rules, but it’s in a very incremental way so I don’t think that it’s too overwhelming with a huge list to memorize or anything. It is also mastery based (as in you stick with a lesson dealing with a particular sound until she’s got it), so eliminates the problem with memorizing the word list and then forgetting them as soon as she’s taken the test. I also really like the way it teaches segmenting – breaks that down into tiny little steps – which may be helpful for your dd if she gets overwhelmed by trying to sound things out. AAS may not be purely CM, but I think helpful for those who may not be natural speller. We plan to use Spelling Wisdom later on down the track when dd is the right age for it, but I am pleased with the foundation this is giving her to start out with.
We use All About Spelling as well, and it has helped tremendously. We started at Level 1 when my oldest were 9 or 10. One went through it very quickly, the other needed lots more time. He really struggles with language and he needed the rules, the practice, the hands-on…..this just WORKED for him and is working for the others too. I think Level 1 is essential for building a foundation so don’t skip that! Eight is not too young OR too old to start this. They offer a full year return policy so if you get it and it doesn’t work for you, you can return it. They are VERY good about this – I ordered the pre-level reading program and realized my son was already past it and was able to return it no problems, even though it had been opened.
Oh you Mommas are so fabulous! Thank you so very much for setting me on the right decision making path 🙂 I will definitely order the All About Spelling level 1 and see how it goes. It makes it alot less frustrating knowing that their return policy is so workable, I had no idea. What a bonus! I may give it a couple of years and then re-visit the Spelling Wisdom as another option down the road. Thank you thank you thank you!!! 🙂
One last question~~do I need the basic interactive with it or can I just use my own letter tiles (we have Bananagrams)? How important are the cards,etc that come with it? Thanks again!!MamaSnowParticipant
I would say to go ahead and get the tiles that come with it – they are color coded, and there are also special tiles for the different blends and such, so it wouldn’t be the same thing to use the tiles from the Bananagrams game. Besides, once you have them you will use them for however many levels of the program you go through, so that will be a 1 time purchase. You might be able to make your own if you wanted to save a little bit of money on them.
I like the tiles because they do have the different blends and syllable tages and such. I don’t use the word cards. I’m lazy that way! The teacher’s manual tells you what “cards” you are going to use (the spelling list IS the cards). If they are having a hard time in that section I just put a post-it note that they need to do the reinforcement words and we work on those over the course of a day or week. We’ll revisit the spelling list again if that’s the case. I DO use the cards that have you review the rules….every day we read the cards they’ve been working on until they have them cold.
At one point I noticed one son was missing a lot of words I thought he should know so I grabbed all the cards that I’d previously ignored. We took a few weeks and I had him spell 10 to 15 words a day, in the order the cards were numbered. If he spelled it correctly, I moved it out of the pile. If he had a hard time, it went to the review pile and we talked about the rule and worked on the word every day until he had it. Once he’d gone through the stack, he was doing a stellar job and hasn’t had a problem since. My two other boys pretty much never misspell a word once they learn the rule.
The kit with the tiles is a one time purchase. After that you just need the teacher’s manual for each new level (and perhaps a student pack if you don’t already have one for that level). I have often had two in a level at a time and have never had a problem juggling it or sharing the resources. It’s completely non-consumable so all my kids will benefit from the purchase.LolaMember
All About Spelling focuses on spelling rules doesn’t it?
My son has severe dyslexia and short term memory issues so spelling rules do not work well for him at all. Plus there are too many exceptions to the rules, which confuse some kids.
I recommned the OP take a look at Apples & Pears. This is a wonderful spelling program! The first book doesn’t have any spelling rules. The second book has just a few spelling rules.TracyMMember
AAS is supposed to be great for kids with learning issues like that. I think I need to break down and buy it for my APD kids, I just haven’t done it yet.missceegeeParticipant
Another vote for AAS. You need to start at level one and just move as quickly as need be for your kids. Definitely get the tiles AND the magnets for them!
By the way, AAS is working on an app for the tiles.
If you want to also look into a purely CM approach, an easy introduction is to watch Sonya’s video on prepared dictation for teaching spelling, if you haven’t already. You can try out the techniques with any literature you like or even with our Spelling Wisdom free samples. (I’m not trying to push SW over other things. You can do this at no cost with any good literature.)
By the way, Charlotte Mason did not teach spelling rules beyond basic letter sounds for learning reading. I think CM was wise in that regard, because I’ve seen so many children struggle, stutter, and stop and start while reading because they got so bogged down trying to process all the rules.
But when it comes down to it, the English langauge has so many exceptions that we end up recognizing words by sight and context anyway. In fact, there are some rules that would be impossible to understand until you know the word well anyway. Some examples:
- Cat has a hard ‘c’ sound, while city has a soft ‘c’. The rule is that c is hard before a back vowel and soft before a front vowel. What is that, you ask? Well, ‘front’ and ‘ back’ refer to the position of the tongue when you say the word (which you must already know to be able to say it.)
- Anyone know a rule for when to use “ance” vs “ence” suffixes? Many are determined by which of the four classes of Latin verb conjugation the word came from. Others originated in Latin but were changed along the was through variations of French and then English. Sure, teach that to your eight year old.
- How about the most common rule all of us know: “I before E exept after C.” Do you know the rest? Here goes… or when it sounds like a as in neighbor or weigh; and except seize and seizure; and also leisure, height, and either, forfeit, and neither; or when it sounds like ear, as in the word weird.
Now try to spell science … policies … atheist … caffeine. They all break the rules.
Just a little food for thought that impacts both spelling and reading. If you’re interested, we also have a video on basic vs intensive phonics with some more information, but it’s mostly geared towards rules for reading.suzukimomParticipant
Hey Doug – I so want to use Spelling Wisdom…. but my son (age 8) seems so clueless about spelling, that I have a hard time imagining him being able to do it. The words after a couple of exercises look way pat what he seems anywhere near able to do…. yet I don’t know where to go otherwise…Doug SmithKeymaster
Age 8 is on the young side for prepared dictation. We usually recommend 9 or 10 years old based on what CM did. But the key is not a particular age but that your child is able to read well first. If your child is still working out decoding words then spelling is going to be a chore and a frustration. It’s something that can wait a while without causing any problems, so be sure to hold off until he’s really ready.my3boysParticipant
For us it has turned out best to wait for any spelling program until the age of 10. I realize that “age” isn’t always what matters, but in our case it has been a perfect place for our 9yo ds. I know all kids learn differently, but if I could turn back time, I’d do the same with my oldest ds. I strongly believe that most of his spelling issues come from the programs that we used (very text-bookish) and not near enough copywork (well, to be honest, none before the age of 9 or so). My 9yo has had a very different “school” experience than my oldest and I think that shows in his ability to spell well minus any programs. I realize that everyone is different and we very well may have had the same outcome, but I really wish that I would’ve done the same with my oldest. I guess at least then I would know for sure, but of course, I’m just assuming.
My oldest is not a visual learner, probably hands on, so that may have caused some of the issues, but I still think waiting is best.
I hope this made sense, I’m really tired.
BTW, we have AAS also, and I can’t quite figure out how the program works…one of those visual things for me, isn’t clicking. Maybe need to get it out again for my oldest who still struggles a bit.simple homeMember
Agree so much with Doug!!!! I’ve been down a hard road trying too hard with my first child with spelling and it truly is more simple than I thought. Kids need time and consistency with spelling. A heavy amount of rules can be way too confusing for many kids, especially my son.
I’ve tried so many recommended expensive programs, and the most successful has ended up being just simple dictation, along with some homemade flashcards for review. Effective and so much easier for a busy mom! Trusting in this method really works.
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