Topic | Struggling with Spelling Wisdom

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  • SuperMamaOwl

    My 9 year old did the first section of Primary Language Lessons last year and we switched to ULL and SW this year.  He really, really dislikes writing so we do as many lessons as possible orally.  He struggles with the length of the assignments.  I’ve been shortening them by choosing part of  the selection for him to transcribe.   I would like to increase his ability for writing as well as improve his spelling.  He struggles with spelling and won’t even try the most basic words by himself.  I want to keep it simple with ULL and SW, but am losing the faith!  The selections seem long to me as well.  Should I keep shortening them, let him have two days to work on it, or just assign the lesson “as is?”


    Which level of SW did he begin with?  (I don’t use or know anything about ULL).  If he doesn’t spell well at all I will assume you began with SW 1.  In the first 18 selections I think two or three had more than 1 sentence.  18 selections can take you 18 WEEKS.  What are you doing for a SW lesson?

    We use one selection all week in generally this way:

    Day 1: Copywork

    Day 2: Write on index cards the words he can’t spell already. (Aka, more copywork and working on spelling).

    Day 3: Copywork the passage/sentence again.  Practice spelling orally, in salt, with playdoh, etc.

    Day 4: Look at the spelling words again (consider copyworking them) and look at any punctuation in the passage. By this point they should be pretty confident they can spell the passage.

    Day 5: Prepared dictation of the passage (you read it, he writes it, slowly).

    Now, when you choose a passage the ideal is no more than 3 words he can’t already spell (which is why I’m guessing you placed him in level 1).  So if you find a longer passage (more than 1 sentence) and there are more than 3 words he can’t spell break it up.  But I wouldn’t break up a single sentence.  (Some of which in the early lessons are 5-7 words total.)

    And they will whine/complain about whatever they can get away with.  So you may have to stick to your guns for a while to get him into a better routine/habit with Spelling Wisdom.  Part of it is probably just that he is in the habit of complaining about it.  (I’ve had this with a child before! Normal, but frustrating.)

    Remember, you don’t need to ‘finish’ one Spelling Wisdom book each year.  So what if it takes 2 or 3 years if, at the end of it, he can SPELL those words?!


    Using Language Well (ULL) guides us through two lessons a week.  So far we’re just doing transcription.  There’s also usually a small grammar lesson attached.  He  was supposed to star with lesson 71 in the first SW book.  But since it was so overwhelming to him, we went back to 1 and were working our way up the lessons by increments of 5  🙂  I think as he progresses the program will transition to dictation and maybe then we can work more on spelling as you suggest??


    if you started in lesson 71 and the lessons are to long for him I’d suggest to start with lesson 1 and work through as directed (so 2 lessons a week) that will give him a nice foundation and bridge to be able to handle dictation and work on improving his spelling.  Keep in mind that transcribing IS working on spelling. 🙂


    I’ve been starting my DC with Spelling Wisdom for 4th grade, so we are basically a year behind the suggested schedule.   Honestly, I’m not in any hurry to get through the SW levels.  I’m not going to be worried if they don’t get through all 5 levels…the last level has many words I can’t spell!

    My DS has struggled with spelling until just recently.  He really needed that extra year of just copywork.  He’s also struggled with the fine motor skills needed for writing.  Now that those have improved (mostly through consistent copywork), he can focus more on the spelling itself and less on the mechanics of writing.


    Thanks everyone!  I’ve decided to be patient and let Spelling Wisdom do it’s thing!  🙂  I’m going to go back to the beginning to work through ones we’ve skipped.

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