Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Spin on Spell to Write and Read

Since I have a visual and a hands-on learner, I have found Waldorf and Montessori methods to be very helpful. Spell to Write and Read is the program I use as a framework to teach reading and spelling. I don't use the program as written, I adapt.
From preK-2nd or 3rd grade, we just work on learning the sounds of the phonograms and learning to read. We do not work through the lists (too stressful for a young child). We make notebooking pages like those above. The bottom picture is of some of the consonants. In K and 1st we would make a page for each consonant with a word and picture that shows shape and sound. Like the macaroni in the shape of an m for the letter "Mm." In 2nd and up we make a page that includes many of the consonants on 1 page.
The top picture shows the letters c and g and that they make 2 sounds. For a younger child, I would only have one letter on each page but an older child will "get" the concept that c and g both work the same way. The letter s has its own page.
The second picture from the top shows a chart for vowels. With a younger child, I would make a page for each vowel and its sounds. But with older children, we make the big chart and then do individual pages for each vowel and activities such as word sorts as well.
The third picture from the top shows a multi-letter phonogram. I make a box for each sound of the phonogram and we write in a key word and draw a picture to make it memorable. Sometimes, like with a 1st or 2nd grader, I might make up a sentence that links all the sound of a phonogram together. And then have the child copy the sentence for copywork. The sentences are often silly and fun.
With my learning to read children, we just concentrate on becoming familiar with the phonograms through notebooking. But they learn how to spot them as we work with easy readers. When I listen to them read and we come to a word that my child doesn't know, we write the word out phonogram by phonogram saying the sounds and figure out the word by sounding it out.
With my older children, starting in 3rd or 4th grade whenever they are ready. We start working through the spelling lists at the rate of 1 list per week. I type up the words in the list and I make worksheets to go along with them. Many of the lists for SWR have ideas for enrichment and I use these as the inspiration of what sorts of worksheets to put with each list. She works on the worksheets a little each day and does fun activities with the words. At the end of the week, I dictate the list to her. This way she doesn't freak out about a spelling test but we are building up confidence so that perhaps next year we can start doing spelling tests.
My goal with Spell to Write and Read is to have my children know the phonograms and rules and understand the logic behind spelling most English words by the end of 6th grade. It is not to have "A's" on weekly spelling tests but to have children who can figure out how to spell words they have never seen before just because they know the rules and logic and can figure out how to spell a word just by the way it sounds.


Anonymous said...

We have definitely found that spelling to learn how to read has helped immensely here too!

CloseAcademy said...

That whole thing with actually having to look at the words as individual sounds really helps doesn't it.

I've taught both of mine to read using this method. And before that tried a slew of phonics programs that didn't work with my first child.


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