Some kids are naturally great spellers and others— just aren’t. Some kids will just naturally learn to spell through reading and doing copywork. Others need more help.
Description of Spelling Power– Spelling Power, Fourth Edition
My favorite spelling help is Spelling Power. It can be used over and over again for multiple students. I order an empty workbook with blank template pages that correspond to the program for each child. First the kids take a couple a couple of spelling tests to determine which level they should start at and th levels are named by letters instead of numbers, so the kids don’t feel bad if they have to start on level A. Then when they start their level, the first thing they do is copy down the rule for that day’s spelling list. Learning the spelling rules really helps the kids grasp the fact that the words do follow some rules and guidelines— they aren’t completely random. Then I test them from the words given on their list saying the word, then saying a sentence which includes the word, and then repeating the word again so that the child is clear on what word I want him/her to spell. They have the spelling rule right in front of them on the paper, so they can try to figure out the spelling from the way it sounds and following the rule.
They should miss 3-4 words per list, that means they are likely working on the right list. After each word they spell, right away, I spell the word correctly and they check to see if they spelled it right. If so, we move on to the next word, if not, they write the misspelled word correctly right next to it. Once they are finished with the list of words, the recopy the words they missed correctly on the next page in the practice list. for each word, there is a checklist of 5 different ways to practice spelling it correctly — spell it out loud, spell it with their eyes closed, spell it tactilely in flour on a pan or in sand, then check that they were doing that all right and then writing it again at the end of the row and checklist written on the worksheet. This is done for each word missed, and then they write a sentence for each word. Finally they play some kind of a game or do an activity spelling the misspelled words.
The next day, the misspelled words are given at the beginning of the daily test before the new words of the day. If they miss them again, they continue practicing, and if they get them right then they are done, although the harder words reappear in review tests and at the end of each level, they have to get 100% on the final test in order to move on. If they miss any words then they have to keep practicing until they learn them.
Advantages of Spelling Power
The advantage of this program is that the kids learn the spelling rules and learn to look for similarities in the ways words are spelled. They know that none of the work they do is busywork, it all counts and they are glad to not practice words they already know. Each of my 4 older kids have done at least one level of Spelling Power and their ability to spell is drastically improved. They haven’t needed near as much help in spelling after going through a complete level it seems. So we use this program on an as needed basis— when a child is really struggling with spelling and not doing well with it or not caring about spelling— then this is the cure.
Disadvantage of Spelling Power
The main disadvantage of this program is that the child needs someone to read them the spelling words for the daily test, they can’t do it on their own. That really is the main disadvantage. Other spelling programs that are basically filling out a workbook can be done all on their own with little adult help, and then just checked over at leisure.
Spelling through copywork
This is where the student will copy a scripture, a quotation or a passage of literature, making sure to spell each word correctly and copy each form of punctuation exactly. This works well for students who are naturally attentive to words and interested in spelling. It has other advantages besides just spelling like having the student pay closer attention to the passage’s content and punctuation. We do a good amount of copywork especially in the elementary ages, usually it is a verse of scripture that we are trying to memorize. I print it in a cursive font and basically make my own copywork pages that the kids then keep in a folder, it doubles for handwriting practice also.
Spelling workbooks are my current favorite as right now, my kids seem to be attentive to spelling, they know the rules from Spelling Power and they do alright. They can do the workbooks all on their own—sometimes they need a little help. But in addition to learning to spell the weekly words, they also fill in activities that point out the rhyming or the meaning or other aspects of the words. The kids seem to like filling them out too— it gives them a sense of accomplishment to finish a book.