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    The instructions in the book say the student is to study any words he misspelled and, when he is ready, write the words on the self-stick notes.

    Do you repeat the dictation?  Or go onto the next lesson?  Is it dependent on how many words he misspelled ?


    My understanding is that you cover the misspelled word with a small self-stick note.  After they go back and study any words they have misspelled, they write those words again on the self-stick note.  That’s a very good question though as I always assumed the whole passage should be dictated again.  However, with longer passages, you wouldn’t think you would do that.  We don’t really us the self-stick notes.  That has always seemed awkward to me.  Maybe it’s just me.  As soon as the dictation is done, I take the paper, write down any words that were misspelled on a notepad and give her time to study them.  While she is studying, I erase the misspelled words on her paper.  Then I dictate the passage again when she is ready and she puts them in blank spaces where I erased the misspelled word!  I will be interested in the answer to this question.   🙂


    Yes, I assumed we would do the lesson again.  I’ve done that with some but we’ve only covered the first 14 lessons of level one.  But I was rereading the ‘instructions’ and realized it doesn’t actually say to do that.  Of course it doesn’t say to simply move on either.  So I’m not sure.  I think it may be helpful to enforce paying attention, but yet, as you say, with longer passages that would also seem overboard.    I like what you do instead of the sticky notes.  I think that makes a lot of sense.  I’m sure Charlotte didn’t have sticky notes…haha!

    Sonya Shafer

    Another possibility would be to assign a smaller portion of the exercise to be studied and written from dictation. Recent research has revealed the passage lengths that Charlotte used. I’m not sure which book you’re using, or at what level your student is, but here are the guidelines that we can now recommend based on her practices:

    Book 1: Grades 3 and 4

    • Grade 3 (Exercises 1–70)—Assign the whole passage to be transcribed. Occasionally ask the student to verbally spell two or three words from the passage from memory.
    • Grade 4 (Exercises 71–140)—Assign up to the whole passage. Dictate one or two sentences.

    Book 2: Grades 5 and 6

    • Grade 5 (Exercises 1–70)—Assign up to the whole passage. Dictate two or three sentences.
    • Grade 6 (Exercises 71–140)—Assign up to the whole passage. Dictate three or four sentences.

    Book 3: Grades 7 and 8

    • Grade 7 (Exercises 1–70)—Assign the whole passage. Dictate up to one paragraph.
    • Grade 8 (Exercises 71–140)—Assign the whole passage. Dictate up to one paragraph.

    Book 4: Grades 9 and 10

    • Grade 9 (Exercises 1–70)—Assign the whole passage. Dictate up to two paragraphs.
    • Grade 10 (Exercises 71–140)—Assign the whole passage. Dictate up to two paragraphs.

    Book 5: Grades 11 and 12

    • Grade 11 (Exercises 1–70)—Assign the whole passage. Dictate up to three paragraphs.
    • Grade 12 (Exercises 71–140)—Assign the whole passage. Dictate up to three paragraphs.


    I was just thinking about this yesterday.   For grades 3 and 4 (Exercies 71-140) – If you assign a whole passage (one of the longer ones), but you only dictate 2 or 3 sentences to them… how do you know they know how to spell all the words.  In other words, how do you catch them if they are not studying properly?

    Tamara Bell


    I’m not Sonya and I look forward to her response but thought I’d share what we do.  I assign an entire passage to be studied and when my students tell me they are ready, I pop quiz them.  I ask random words from the entire lesson.  After I’m confident they are ready, I then dictate a set amount of sentences to them.

    Another think I do if they mispell any words is make a personal note of the word(s) missed and ask them to use these words in a narration sometime over the week (or the following week).  This doesn’t always work out with certain words but we try.  🙂


    Genius!  Thanks, Tamara!  I already make a note of word(s) that are missed so this would be a perfect way to follow up on that!  So, you ask for a written narration of something they have read and they must include any words they misspelled?

    Sonya Shafer

    Just to clarify, third graders should be using the passages for transcription, not dictation.

    I like Tami’s idea, and I also want to encourage you to teach the child. Some children are going to feel overwhelmed with being assigned the whole passage. If you insist on it and they end up getting words wrong in the dictation, they might begin to form the less-than-helpful attitudes that they’re no good at spelling and/or don’t like spelling. So be careful to choose the length of passage that will challenge but not frustrate your child. Set that child up for success. I would rather than the child learn how to spell two sentences solidly than flounder and guess through two paragraphs.


    Thank you, Sonya!  I should have clarified,  my daughter is in 4th grade.  She did the first half of Using Language Well Book 1 last year and will begin the second half of the book this year!  Very well said and great reminder!


    This is SO very helpful, Sonya!  Thank you!  Book One is what we’re using,but we just started it at the end of last year (3rd grade).


    Please help!

    My son just turned 11 and we are in lesson 78 of Spelling Wisdom 1.  I feel like he is a natural speller and for the most part if comes easily for him.  We have been taking our time with the book, usually he studies the selection for 4-5 days for about 8 min on his own.  Then on the 5 or 6 day, I read it to him and he writes it.  He typically gets all of the words correct, sometimes one or two will be wrong.  Then I have him study those words alone,  for a few days, usually writing them.

    My concern is,  on the “test” day,  I go back over the old lessons randomly choosing words for him to spell verbally and written. He gets only about 75% correct.  Is this ok?  He is not remembering or spelling correctly some of the words we studied!  What should I do?

    Thank you!


    If it was me I would not worry about the misspelled words. I really think spelling takes time to gain consistancy. I can’t tell you how many times my older kids will hand me a paper, I read it noting misspelled words, ask them to spell the words, they pause and spell it correctly but when writing it was wrong. I often think it is just the brain working faster than the hand or vice versa. For my kids I find that with time and maturity spelling improves as they continue practicing.

    Some kids have true spelling struggles that require different approach, but for many spelling consistency improves with prctice, maturity, and the desire to improve.

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