Topic | spelling wisdom or spelling power or Sequential Speller

This topic contains 14 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Sonya Shafer 8 years, 2 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
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  • Misty

    So I have a couple questions.  I have SW now and am looking at getting SP. 

    Maybe I’m doing SW wrong?  I give him a lesson he looks at it and every Thrusday we do a lesson (test).  Now if they are a good speller that is all great, but what about the child who reads it every day, maybe even does it for copywork daily, and still gets a lot wrong?

    SP looks like a great book, but time consuming and I am not a bit “rule” person.  I kinda just believe you have to learn how to spell words cause they don’t all follow “rules”.  But people really like it. This also misses dictation and helping them learn where a word really belongs.

    Sequential speller looks like a program that I as a bad speller would really understand.  Taking one word and building off of it.  I think for me as a visual person that would work cause all my words would have one similur idea in them.  Also, this misses the dication part and is time consuming.

    So maybe I need to understand how to use SW better with my not good speller?  Can someone help me? Please.. I don’t want to buy another spelling program  AHHHH



    Hi Misty,

    I have an 11 year old who is a terrible speller.  We started with a program similiar to Sequential spelling.  At first he did great learning the words, but a week or two later forgot them.  It seems like he would learn the combination of the letters in that weeks spelling, but not the word.  I changed to SW last year and we go through it very slowly.  On the day that I give him the passage I have him highlight any word that he does not know.  Usually 5-7 words.  We are only on SW 1.  Then I have him type out those words on a separate piece of paper and only look at those words until he knows them.  Once he knows the words, I have him study the passage in prep for dictation the next day.  I have  found that months later he can still spell all of the words. 



    I don’t know the answer since my children are much younger, but I have come to the conclusion (with help of my husband) that phonics is needed to read, but most problem words in spelling have to be memorized. How they memorize them is the key. Spelling Wisdom, Seq. Spelling, Spelling Power: what ever you use, they will have to single out a list of problem words and memorize them. Figuring out the best way for your child to memorize things is the biggest task. I have one visual learner (she sees something one time and can spell it forever), and I have one auditory learner ( he needs to hear it). I have been making him say the word and spell it out loud as well as looking at it and writing it. It seems to help him some.


    You know what amanda.. I think you are right with that statement .”what ever you use, they will have to single out a list of problem words and memorize them”.  I think I will keep what I have and just go slow with it.  I mean I can read and not spell but I’ve done alright.  If I can get him to learn just a bit more than his mom I’ll be doing great!

    Thanks Misty  Any other advice on this topic will still be greatly appreciated, especdially others going through spelling with a bad speller.



    All About Spelling is very helpful for hands-on learners and it does teach the rules. I’ve used it very successfully, but it does take mom involvement. We spend 15-20 minutes per day. It is, by far, the easiest OG method out there. I do highly recommend it.

    Another option…There is a book, by Gayle Graham, called How to Teach Any Child to Spell and a companion workbook called Tricks of the Trade. These are aimed at bad spellers. You might have success combining Spelling Wisdom with something like this by studying for your prepared dictation and any difficult words go into the personal notebook (Tricks of the Trade) that is arranged by rules that can be very helpful (think personalized, but organized spelling notebook).  You can see it here, but unfortunately no sample pages –

    I’ve heard good things about Read, Write, Type software, but I think it is geared to a little bit younger set. See it at –

    The other thing I’ve heard of recently is the Calvert Spelling program, but I’ve not seen/heard a sample. It is audio based so it wouldn’t be mom-intensive.

    Personally, we use AAS w/ Spelling Wisdom, but you have to find the right fit for you. 

    Wishing you the best in your search.



    We actually don’t use any of the ones you mentioned.  We use the Mc Guffey’s Readers and love them.  I just have them read the story (lesson) outloud everyday and then ask them to spell the words (They have a list of words from the story) orally.  Anything spelled wrong, I have them spell (written) a certain of number of times.  (I start off at 2 times each, and keep adding on each time we revisit the lesson.  Like 1st and 2nd day, wrong words 2x each, 3rd and 4th day, wrong words 4x each etc.)  We don’t move on until the lesson is completly mastered.  It’s a bit of a combination.  It’s studying the words in list form, but the words have meaning because they are part of a story, poetry or play.  And best part, it’s super cheap!  🙂  Just another option to consider!


    Have you looked into Spell to Write and Read or The Phonics Road to Spelling & Reading. My 11yr. old son spells at a 3rd grade level. We started SWR and see some improvement. After months of going over the phonogram cards and feeling like he was never going to get it he said, “I know when to use ‘ck’ after a vowel that says /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /u/.” it was music to my ears. We still have ways to go but that was very encouraging.

    My two middle boys are using The Phonics Road and are doing well. They are spelling better than my 6th grader.

    Lastly I’m learning that the English language is not so complicated after all Wink

    Doug Smith


    Spelling Wisdom is designed to set a child up for success rather than deal with a lot of words they got wrong. They should be at a level where there are only three or four words that they don’t know in each lesson. Hopefully they can work on just a couple words and enjoy the satisfaction of getting them right. If there are too many words they don’t know how to spell then you may need to back down to some of the simpler lessons for a while.


    Thanks to all.

    Doug.. you mentioned that if they are getting more than 2 words wrong then I should back down.  So if they are getting 2 or more only 5 lessons into it.. then?  Should I stop for awhile and just wait?  Would doing some simple (made up) sentences be of any help?  ei “The cat went to the mat and sat.”  You know sentences that he could almost really sound out just to get him thinking about it?  I mean he’s 10 now and don’t you think it’s time to start working on it?

    Thanks Miisty

    Doug Smith

    Let me rephrase that. The child should look over the passage he will be working on and only have a few words he doesn’t know how to spell. If there are too many unknown words then easier material might be in order or even waiting a while to start.

    Charlotte didn’t recommend starting with formal spelling lessons until around age 10. For younger children she encouraged the children to look at how words were spelled as they were reading. Of course, every child is different so the age to reach the needed level of maturity will vary.


    I haven’t seen spelling wisdom, and I just started trying Charlotte Mason’s method of spelling. I think it’s so smart. It really makes sense to me. But I have a genetically poor spelling–through her Dad’s genes. She’s 11 and she’s just like her Dad. They both spell the same word wrong different ways in the same writing! She (and he) can spell out loud, but as soon as the pen hits the paper, things change.

    So I tried Sequential Spelling and she succeeds every time. It really helped her, and I saw improvement right away. It’s wonderful and sensible if you need something besides the dictation. I use both Charlotte’s method and Sequential Spelling. We just do one sometimes and the other at other times.

    I definitely would not spend a huge percentage of school time on it. I think reading a ton and having experience with words is the best spelling teacher. Just my two cents. Hope it helps.

    Doug Smith

    We’re going to announce this later but I thought I’d give you all a sneak peak since it fits the discussion so well. A couple months ago we made a video recording of Sonya explaining exactly how to do prepared dictation. We finished editing it a few days ago and uploaded it to YouTube. You can find it at:

    Let us know what you think. Thanks.


    THANK you doug as soon as I’m at my mom’s (with high speed) I’m all over this! you guys never stop amazing me!



    Thank You, Doug and Sonya for the informative video on YouTube about prepared dictation. It clarified a lot of concerns I had about my son’s spelling- I felt he was behind, but I was trying to do spelling with him since he was six and now I know he was too young.   Since he turned eleven, his spelling has improved tremendously! He’s now twelve and your explanation of CM waiting until they are ten to start dictation has relieved me tremendously. I was doing some things wrong on our dictation, but now I’m all clear on it. I feel he will enjoy it more. I plan on coming to Winston-Salem to the NCHE conference, so I’ll be looking forward to getting some of your Spelling Wisdom Books then. I have enjoyed the seminars on DVD I purchased last year. Thanks for all you do for the Homeschool Community! Blessings in Messiah, MelanieC.

    Sonya Shafer

    It’s great to know that we are helping. Thanks!

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