Monday, June 18, 2007

Making Curriculum Work for Us

We have used Spell to Write and Read for a year and a half now and my oldest was bogging down in the lists because she really did not understand how to apply the phonograms and the spelling rules as taught. Recently on the Well Trained Mind Board there has been much talk about a new spelling/phonics program based on the same methods as Spell to Write and Read. But this program called All About Spelling took a new approach.

This approach was to arrange the word lists into lessons that just concentrated on a particular phonogram or spelling rule. The lessons are also scripted and tell you exactly why a certain letter says something when next to other letters. And All About Spelling also uses letter tiles with younger students so they can easily spell the words even though they are still struggling with penmanship.

I want All About Spelling but I am not ready to spend the money on the program. So I took a week out of my schedule and whenever I had downtime, I started reorganizing the word lists in the WISE guide. I started with the clock letters and made up a list of words I could make from them and went through all the phonograms and all the spelling rules and rearranged my lists so that it was arranged more logically. Every so often I also put in a review page of words whose rules we knew.

Then I pulled out my container of phonics tiles that I bought at Walmart and I went through them. I put all the single letter phonograms in a baggie. Then I pulled out all the multiple letter phonograms and matched them up to Spell to Write and Read. Anything that was not a true phonogram went back into the container. There were a few phonograms that I had to make "tiles" for but I just used colorful paper. These have been a big hit and have taken a lot of the stress off the program.

We have been using our revamped version of Spell to Write and Read now for about three weeks and are making quite a bit of progress. My youngest is on lesson two which includes about half of the alphabet and my oldest is finishing up lesson three which includes most of the alphabet.

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