Topic | spelling with a good speller and a poor speller

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
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  • Tara

    I have a 12 year old boy who is usually not challenged with typical spelling books, even if they are over his grade level. I’d like to order Spelling Wisdom but I’m not sure what level to get. With the samples shown I really don’t see words he couldn’t spell even as far up as the fourth book. However, he couldn’t take a dictation that long so I’m not sure what to do. Any advice?

    On the flip side, my 9 year old daughter is an atrocious speller. She does Spellwell second grade level, which so far she seems to be able to handle. We go over the rules and she can pass the tests but it doesn’t seem to transfer to her writing. And she writes all the time. She loves to write lists and letters so she’s writing all the time with her horrible invented spelling and I’m not sure what to do. I don’t like to correct her spelling all the time out of fear she will not enjoy writing because mom corrects everything she does. But I feel like she’s just reinforcing incorrect spelling of tons of words by doing this. So I’m not sure what to do. Also, I don’t see dictation listed on the CM guide until 4th grade so does that mean we shouldn’t do spelling until then? And if so, what about all this that is going into their heads until then?


    I know I am a bit different on this one, but I’ve use Spell to Write and Read which is most definitely not CM friendly, but very effective! Something similar, but again not the CM method is All About Spelling. I had a child who needed to know all of the rules!

    I’m going to try using Spelling Wisdom in conjunction w/ our SWR method next year and see how that goes. Good luck!


    Sonya Shafer

    Hi, Tara –

    For your 12yo, a couple of suggestions. First, keep in mind that you don’t want a lot of unknown words in the dictation exercises. Too many could be discouraging and overwhelming. So if he finds four or five (at his age) in a page-long passage, that should be plenty.

    Also, with the longer passages, he should study and prepare the whole passage, but you can dictate only a paragraph or two. Some of those exercises in Books 4 and 5 would take forever to dictate and write if we did the whole thing!

    You might want to start in Book 3. The earliest exercises in each book are very short in order to help the student who may be new to dictation. But Book 3 contains some gems like “admirably,” “exhilarating,” “imperceptibly,” and “subservient.” He’ll probably know most of the words, but that will give him confidence and help him enjoy the passages as good literature. He’ll also be learning punctuation, capitalization, (if you require those to be studied as well) and good writing style.

    For your 9yo, a question. How is her reading? Is she able to read well yet? I ask because the main reason Charlotte delayed dictation until 10yo/4th grade-ish is so the student could be adding to her mental storehouse of words by looking at them as she read them. Now, when children are still in the beginning stages of learning to read, they are concentrating more on how words sound and need to focus all their attention on that aspect. But once reading becomes easier to them, they can start looking at how words are spelled while they are reading, and add to that mental storehouse. (It is that mental storehouse that makes it possible for a new dictation exercise to contain only three or four unknown words.) So children who are still working at the mechanics of reading need more time before requiring spelling from them too.


    Ladies, thank you so much for your replies. Christie, I too have looked at All About Spelling and have not ruled it out. I may be questioning you in the future about the differences between SWR and AAS. I think my daughter may need a little more help the spelling area as well. Sonya, thank you so much for clarifying several things. I didn’t know to have them prepare the whole dictation but just do part of it. And it is hard to get over that mindset of them having to have 20 spelling words each week, isn’t it? So I will look at SW 3. As for my daughter, she is not up to grade level in her reading. She reads pretty well well but I notice she still needs work on multisyllable words and does still have to concentrate on the how the words sound. So–I guess I will be more patient. (not one of my virtues!) I was just worried about her “storing” all of those words she’s writing wrong. But what you said makes sense, so we’ll wait and see. Thank you ladies so much again. This forum is just a lifesaver!

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