SSS - Ideas for reinforcing spelling words

Copywork, Cursive, Dictation, Grammar, Handwriting, Letter Writing, Memory Work, Narration, Read-Alouds, Spelling, Vocabulary, & Writing (many of these topics apply to other subjects such as Bible, History, and Science)
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SSS - Ideas for reinforcing spelling words

Unread post by Tina »

Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 3:37 pm
Right now we use a magna-doodle. He likes to drill his words on that--much more than on paper.

Another thing that has helped us is oral review of the words. Putting the words in sentences. My son never writes his sentences, it is always oral, and he likes this because he makes up very silly sentences for the words.

And, for us, the same pattern when spelling words out loud (say, spell, say) Just a couple of things that have worked for us. HTH.
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Should I skip ahead?

Unread post by Fly2Peace »

Blessed Beth wrote:I just bought Adventures In My Father's World and this is our first week to use it. My K and 2nd grade boys have loved all the books about Vikings this week and I have enjoyed reading them. Both of the boys love the Art and Nature Walk times. I like being done at noon!

The only subject my 2nd grade son does not like so far is Spelling. I think he is worksheet resistant after all the worksheets he had to do the past two years. He also is not fond of writing and says he already knows how to spell the words. Should I skip to more difficult words? He has a solid grasp of phonics.
When we were doing it, we did page one Monday, page two Tuesday, test Wednesday, any missed words (two the entire year) on Thursday. Many times I gave her the option to do both pages on Monday, test on Tuesday, and then we were done for the week.

If you really feel he doesn't NEED the other instruction in the workbook (there are some neat LA things tied in, along with phonics work), then why not use the spelling lists in a manner similiar to Spelling Power, and skip the workbook? Maybe you can use it with the younger in time?

Or maybe you can get Spelling Power, and just jump right in there. Again, saving the workbook for the younger...
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Unread post by blessedmom2 »

Your son might like some spelling games. My sons like to write their words on our sliding glass door window with a dry erase pen, write them with chalk on the driveway, in a cookie sheet with sand or sugar in it, and they like to play the stair step game. The stairstep game is when the child stands at the bottom of the stair and you give them a word to spell. If they get it right, they move up one stair. If they don't get it right, they have to stay put. After they get to the top, they get a treat, like a piece of gum or a sticker. They also like to jump on our mini trampoline while spelling. Boys really like the hands on stuff. HTH
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Unread post by tkbbrl6 »

I do a pre-test with my dc on Monday - if they know the words we move on and don't do workbook pages to practice the words. If they know all but a few we play games with those words - spell them on the board - use letter tiles - etc. and add them to the next unit. In this way we have actually sometimes covered up to 3 units in 1 week (I won't do more than that) and every so often I ask them to spell some of the previous words on the board or with tiles, etc. We only do a few workbook pages if I feel they need more practice with the words.
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Unread post by cbollin »

gv3550 wrote:My 9 year old 2nd/3rd grader is doing the Rod and Staff spelling book. He does fairly well directly after studying the words but can't remember how to spell them an hour later let alone the next day.

I tried adding more exposure to the words in the list by giving him cross-word puzzles and word finds. I typed them out in big colored font and had him arrange the letters. No difference - still can't remember them?

He is ADHD. Do you suggest I stick it out and count it fine since he passes the tests or try something else?
Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 7:58 am

Is it the curriculum or the child? maybe he is just too young right now. My oldest didn't retain spelling until she was 10.5 y.o. and she is my non- labeled child. :)

Are you doing the drills that are suggested in the teacher's guide? With R&S you are not going to have retention with just the worksheet for many children. But, that's ok. There are lots of people with lots of theories that say you shouldn't teach spelling below age 10.

It may also be related to the other problem you are working with --- retention of reading material.

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Unread post by kellybell »

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:16 am

My 10 yodd, a sweet and bright child, can't remember how to spell just about anything. After three years of homeschooling, last spring she finally understood that "they" doesn't have an A in it...

What helps us is for me to pick one or two difficult words and put them on big paper (our dollar store's teacher rack had these word strips, but you can use whatever) and put them on the board for a week or so. Make up a story if needed. For example, Mary just couldn't get "frightened" as she always left out the GH so we made a picture of a ghost (never meaning to offend anyone on the list, he was just a friendly little guy) and wrote something like "Sue is friGHtened by the GHost" where I put the GH in each word in bright green (different colors than the other letters). I put this on the refrigerator for a week.

We do a lot of talking about spelling rules and difficult words.

One thing that does help is to be faithful with your dictation and copy work (once you get to 3rd grade or so). I know sometimes that can feel like drudgery, but it's nice exercise in language. Often, when we copy a verse, we'll talk about the unusual punctuation or strange spellings or the meanings of words we don't often use. It is through such dictation and copy work that we learn to spell judgment without an E in the middle and how to use colons, etc.

Also, as weird as it seems, I think that children turn off the spelling part of their brain when they do other writing (ie. beyond the spelling test). Words that my dc can spell fine when doing tests are often totally botched up in their creative writing or letter writing!

Give it time and know that you are in good (or at least plentiful!) company.
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Unread post by Tina »

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:52 am

Hi Bobbi: We are in the second year of using sound and structure with our 2nd child, ds 8. I used it last year with him (2nd grade) and he just didn't retain any of the spelling. We did not finish the book before 2nd grade was done--we got to lesson 24.

When we started up again this Sept. he couldn't spell any words past lesson 12. This is my 2nd year using R&S sound and structure with my ds. He was a bit disappointed that he "had to do it again" but I explained to him that some people "get" spelling quicker than others and we would just take our time working thru it.

I don't know if switching curriculums is the right answer for you. I am sure that there are other things out there for kids that struggle with spelling and may have issues such as this. However, I find that the best course of action for us this year is to go slow with S&S, take the time to work thru dictation and copy work, only require the amount that the child can accomplish, accept when they are shutting down (I know I see it coming!) and keep encouraging them that they can do it.

I'm not sure what I will face later this year or next year with it comes to a spelling curriculum. I will cross that bridge when I come to it. I use a lot of the ideas listed in the S&S book for the lessons. We do a lot of oral review and always putting the spelling words in sentences. I always encourage "say it, spell it, say it". I think re-doing this book was good for us this year.

I am a parent that can relate to what you have going on. Maybe even try to give the MFW office a call. I did and I talked to them about it. Best wishes. I always find it encouraging to talk with other parents who have similar things going on.
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Unread post by Joy1139 »

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:52 am

I wouldn't worry about it. I'd keep doing the pages but expect for spelling skills to improve very gradually. I bet it's a maturity issue. I've decided to take a leisurely approach to spelling until around age ten when we'll do a more complete study of the rules. In the meantime, I'm stressing copywork and reinforcement of phonics which is all I really expect from spelling instruction at this age.
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Unread post by Toni@homezcool4us »

blessedmom2 wrote:I just found this website, and you can put in the child's words. It looks like fun!
Posted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 4:02 pm

In general, this is a terrific website (it has some errors to work out and I could do without the baby speak used in the intro). My dd is having a blast, thriving on the positive reinforcement of the earned coins for games (and *I* love that the games are easy, simple, and TIME LIMITED). Thanks for sharing this great tool! We did load our R&S words in too, which is such a great feature of the programming.
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Unread post by Susan on the Space Coast »

Posted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 3:57 pm

I looked up this site too. My kids can't get enough of this! I've got the words and some sentences added through Lesson 19 in Sound and Structure. I don't know if they'll add my sentences about the use of Amen & Jesus, but wouldn't that be great! There are a couple of bugs in it, but I've received an email from the administrator, I guess, and she's willing to be notified about any problems.

I don't have to beg my kids to practice their words every day. It helps improve their typing, too!
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Unread post by MJP »

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 9:08 pm

We are using spelling tiles for spelling practice. I put magnets on the back of mine so I wouldn't lose them all over the house and store them on a magnetic white board that you can buy at Walmart. We have spelling in front of the dishwasher. (Too many people need in the refrigerator - smile.) I think tiles would work with any spelling program.
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Unread post by TriciaMR »

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 5:06 pm

I bought a bucket full of magnetic letters from some online teacher's resource (capitals and lowercase) and a small magnetic white board from Sam's Club. When we do spelling, I have her say/spell/say the list, then we work on 1/2 the list on the first day, using the magnetic letters. She finds them, puts them in the right order, and then say/spell/say the word again, looking at the letters on the white board (I have the letters laid out in order, 2 each).

- Then, the second day, we do the other half of the list.
- Then, the 3rd and 4th day we work on any longer words, or words with silent letters or sight words or words she is having problems with.
- Then, the 5th day is the spelling "test".

She is also writing all her spelling words daily. I find the addition of using the magnetic letters has really helped her - at least to pass the "tests."

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What do you think my expectations should be?

Unread post by Hmschooling »

RachelT wrote:We are doing Spelling by Sound and Structure for 2nd grade with Adventures. This is my ds's first "spelling" work since we did MFW 1st grade last year. Handwriting is difficult for him and we are working on it with HWT and he is getting and occupational therapy evaluation tomorrow which should be helpful. Last year it was almost impossible to get him to do written dictations in his Bible notebook. He wanted to trace them all.

So, we've had one week of school and we did the workbook pages for lesson 1. It was hard for him and so I had him follow the 4 day plan. We read over the list each day and did some drill. We did the test today after I let my ds look over the list and it was very difficult for him, he could hardly write any of the words and eventually there were tears. So, then we did it orally and he automatically got half of the words correct. On some of the other words he could remember the beginning sounds, but couldn't remember the whole word or on "cake" he spelled it "kace" and mixed up the letters that make the same sound.

I am trying to help my ds picture the word in his mind. I made a flashcard of the whole list to study and picture in his mind. A friend just told me to have him trace over the list several times in different colors of crayon (her son did that in 1st grade last year). What do you think my expectations should be? Do we need to keep going over lesson 1 or move on? Thanks for any ideas you have to offer!
My dd also had a hard time writing so we adapted her spelling as you've mentioned. I had her take her test orally. I think this is a wonderful skill to learn. It's hard to explain to them how to visualize the word until you tell them to spell it orally, then it seems they pick up on it really quickly on their own. My daughter's reading also improved greatly after spelling orally, as well as her memory and spelling skills.

You aren't working on handwriting in spelling lessons, so focus on the main point of the lesson-- learning how to spell! On a postive note, dd has now been in occupational therapy and is improving more all the time. It's slow but obvious to us that she's getting better. I also did much of her math orally and she is pretty good at mental math with larger numbers (not so good at memorizing those math facts though!) Writing is just plain hard for her, and creating a sense of frustration about a subject that she is otherwise capable of just doesn't make sense to me. Lessen the load for you both and do what you know to be best for you and your ds! Their minds are like sponges right now and sometimes their minds are able to work faster and better than their little bodies...I didn't want to slow down dd learning to the pace of her physical abilities when she loves learning so much!
That's just my 2 cents :o)
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Unread post by Mommyto2 »


Is it just as difficult for your ds to form the letters with finger writing? for example, can he make the words in sand or in the air while you watch?

Another idea... do you have lots of alphabet letters loose? We have two alphabet puzzles and alphabet felt or alphabet dice from boggle jr or the scrabble game.

Can he use manipulatives for spelling instead of writing?

In fact, I think I will do that this week to make spelling more fun....

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Unread post by RachelT »

Thank you Tamara and Brenda for your quick responses. I decided to just move forward and try a "new" way of doing things with lesson 2. Yes, I have various kinds of letters and I pulled some out today and had him "build" the words, then "write" them in the carpet with his finger! It went so much better, we got all of part A done in one sitting and he actually said "that was kind of fun"! Yay! I feel bad that I am writing the answers in the book for him where he is supposed to write, but we already did other handwriting this morning that went well and it's the spelling that we are targeting here.

Thanks for the ideas and support! I feel better already!
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Needing some extra uumph for spelling

Unread post by dhudson »

ChristyH wrote:One of the boys, twins age 7, struggles with the spelling. He still writes some letters and numbers backwards but not on a regular basis. He really can't write any more then I have doing already. Could he maybe do his test orally? Any ideas to help him? (the book says to write sentences, but that would kill him)
As for spelling, I use chalk on the driveway to write words or the white board for hang man or you can go back to the standby of tracing the words in a salt tray or sand. My twins still like to play these games for extra practice. They can test each other as well for a pre-test.

Oh and I never had them write the sentences. I said the sentences, and they wrote the words.
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Unread post by HSmommi2mine »

Make the curriculum fit your family, not the other way around. The goal of a spelling test is to see if he knows how to spell the words so doing it orally still meets that goal right?

What is the goal of the sentence writing? Is that a good goal for your child? Is there another way to meet that goal? If the goal is that he understand the word in context then you could write what he dictates to you. If it is just another way to practice the spelling then maybe you get letter magnets and have him arrange them to make the words.

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Mastery of spelling words?

Unread post by 705emily »

RachelT wrote:Spelling by Sound and Structure is simple enough and I think the lessons make sense and are easy to understand. My question is concerning what I should expect from my 2nd grader as far as mastery of the spelling words?

I am not making him write each answer in the spelling book because he is doing other handwriting. We usually do part A on Mon., half of part B on Tues. and the other half of part B on Wed. Then we review the words and quiz orally on Thurs. Then we look over them and do a written test on Fri. While we do the lessons in the workbook, I have ds use the textured letters to "build" the words, sometimes we write them in the carpet or in the air. Sometimes, I write the words on the page and have him trace them in crayon.

I feel like he does well when we quiz orally and it's somewhat harder for him to write the spelling words in a written test, but I thought that our goal was to physically be able to write and spell the words, so I've been making him do that. But he has never gotten the words 100 % correct, yet on any week. He usually misses 3 or 4 of the 12. I am not sure if it is because I am making him write and that is a challenge in itself or if it is that he hasn't memorized those words.

This week I could tell that he did better with simpler words that have more straightforward spellings than words with more unusual structure. For instance, we did well with words like "ship" or "she" or even "cheek", but could not remember the "i" in "chair" or the "ing" in "thing". I feel like maybe we need to review these phonemes. I feel like we have to do a lesson each week to complete the 34 lessons over the school year and I know there is the review lesson every few weeks, so I am keeping his written tests to help me know which words to review for that.

I am not sure if he needs more drill and practice with the words, like flashcards or more time to stretch out each lesson or if it's okay to move on because we will continue to use these words in other areas (reading, writing, etc.) eventually. Should we be testing orally, so the writing doesn't get in the way of showing me what he has actually learned? Or should we keep working on more difficult words as flashcards after we move on to another lesson? What should my expectation be for 2nd grade spelling?

Hi Rachel,

Are you having your ds re-spell the words he missed the next week? That's what I do--if my dd misses a word one week, I add it to the next week's list of words.

Are you using explode the code at all? That might help reinforce certain phonemes.

If he is able to spell the words orally, I wouldn't worry so much about having him write them all correctly. That will come with time.
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Unread post by Lainie »

Hi Rachel,

I have a reluctant writer (getting better) also doing Spelling By Sound and Structure.

Like Irmi, I will go over any words missed & review/re-test them.

I don't know if this will help, but I picked up these plastic tile letters (you could use Scrabble tiles if you already have that game).

After completing the workbook, I have him spell his words with the tiles. It has added another layer to studying the words without tiring his hands.

It makes correction easier too since he can just slide in a missed letter or change a wrong letter to the correct one.

Since we started doing that, he's had 100% on his tests.

Just a thought...
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Unread post by Poohbee »

Hi Rachel!

Like Lainie, we take one day a week to practice the words in a fun way. Monday, we do part A. Tuesday, we do part B. Wednesday we usually play a spelling game to make practicing the words fun. Sometimes, I call out the words and dd writes them on a white board. That one isn't quite as much fun. But, we've also played spelling bingo and spelling tic-tac-toe. For bingo, I used a 3 x 3 grid, so we only end up practicing 9 of the 12 spelling words. I call out the words and dd picks a box on the grid and writes that word. We fill up the boxes, and then we play bingo. When I call the word, she has to spell it out loud to me and then cover it with her marker. I bought a book of spelling games from scholastic. It's fun to take one day a week to play a game with the spelling words.
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Unread post by RachelT »

After reading your posts we used a small white board more - he can write larger sized letters there than in the workbook, so that helped. Then we used Lainie's idea to play a game to review the words on Thursday. I already had a book with a lotto board in it (9 squares) so he had to write 9 of the 12 words and it was fun! The problem was that he still didn't know 4 of the 12 words correctly. So, I guess I will keep working on those this week and focus on those during the review week coming up. I also pulled out a phonics review workbook that I had set aside for awhile to look over some of the sounds we have worked on.

It was nice to hear all of your ideas! Thanks!
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Spelling by Sound and Structure "drills"

Unread post by gratitude »

MuzzaBunny wrote:I'm probably just overlooking this, but hopefully I can get a quick answer here. The MFW plan for SbSS doesn't mention anything about the drills that are listed in the SbSS teacher's manual. (They are included in the plans there.) Are we supposed to be adding a daily drill to the A & B lessons? Thanks!
It has been awhile since I have read Marie's notes in ADV or the R&S notes. I just looked it up, and sure enough there are drills mentioned prior to the testing. I don't remember Marie mentioning anything about those in the ADV plans. I remember her mentioning the A and B sections and doing those either in one day for each page or two days a page if the student needs more time.

What we are doing is working for my boys so I will share it with you; but it may be different than how Marie lists it in ADV since I haven't read it in a couple of years. We have continued with R&S spelling so how I use the program is the following:

Day 1 ~ I have them read the spelling words. Then they do Part A.
Day 2 ~ They do Part B.
Day 3 ~ They take a test on the words (if they get 100% I move to the next lesson. R&S suggests two tests even if they get 100%, but I haven't felt that was necessary in a home school situation.). If they miss words I have them write the words they miss 5 - 10 times for each word missed.
Day 4 ~ new lesson if the previous day was 100% or test on the words missed.

I do spelling 4 days a week.

I haven't used the drills since I go over the words with them when they read them in case there are any words they don't know the meaning of, which we actually haven't found so far. I think Part A and B do a good job of going over the words. Part A is vocabulary and Part B is phonics.

I hope this helps! It is a great spelling program. It has really helped my oldest who struggled with spelling become a confident speller. :)
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Re: Spelling by Sound and Structure "drills"

Unread post by Mom2theteam »

I'm doing Adv right now. Marie says to do Part A on Monday and then either break up part B into 2 days and then test on Thursday or do part B in one day and test on Wed leaving Thursday for a retest. Sometimes we do part B over 1 day, sometimes 2. Just depends on what else is going on. She does not mention doing the drills.

Sometimes I do the drills a little. I'm not formal about it at all. But, if I think he might need a little extra practice with the words, I'll say things like "Which word rhymes with cat?" Then he answers "hat, h-a-t." or which word describes a fuzzy animal that can purr?" "cat, c-a-t." I definitely don't do them every day and I don't do them for every word. Just ever now and again for words that I think might be more difficult for him.

I do the same as Carin. After we take the test, if he misses any, which he rarely does so far, he writes it 5 times and then we retest that one the next day.

We are testing on unit 7 today...maybe 8, I can't never remember unless I'm looking at it. :)
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Re: Spelling by Sound and Structure "drills"

Unread post by Yodergoat »

I do add an additional day of spelling for Adventures but I'm not sure if it would be classified as "drills."

We do part A on one day, part B on the next. The third day I read the word aloud (hiding the word) and she writes each word on notebook paper, sounding it out and spelling it as she goes but with my help if she gets stuck or is making a mistake. So it goes sort of like this...:

me: The word is BUNCH.

her: BUNCH? Okay... I hear /b/ as the first sound, so B, right?

me: Yes, B.

her: (she writes a b on the paper) Next I hear /u/, so that must be a U.

me: Yes!

her: (she now has "bu" on the paper) Okay, next is /ch/, so that is CH!

me: Not yet... listen carefully to see if you hear another sound before /ch/. BUNCH (annunciating clearly)

her: BUNCH. Oh! Wait! I hear it... BUNNNNNCH. There's an N in there!

me: Yes, that's right. There is a /n/ sound in there, but it's easy to miss. BUNCH (annunciating)

her: (writing the N so she now has "bun") Now comes the /ch/! She writes CH to finish the word "bunch."

me: You got it! Remember that /n/ sound. It's also in LUNCH and MUNCH and CRUNCH.

her: And BRUNCH? And PUNCH!

me: Yes! It can be hard to hear those sounds tucked in there like that but that it why you should carefully listen and say the word, to make sure you get all of the sounds.


Okay, you get the idea! We do the whole list that way, although of course some of them she gets without the extra help and it goes by much more quickly.

The following day, she takes a "pre-test." If she gets them all correct we do not test again. If she misses a word we study it and work on it and she tests on that word again the next day.

So far, she has only missed 4 words total (and we're ready for lesson 10) and she always gets them the next time. The strange thing is that she is a terrible speller if she is writing something on her own... and I mean a VERY TERRIBLE SPELLER. You know, a "vre trb sprl." As in that bad... she leaves out vowels, skips to the ends of words, guesses wildly, skips whole parts of words, adds new sounds and takes away existing sounds. It makes the dictation times very hard and she gets discouraged. I have to remind myself that this is her first year of spelling... we did double dictation in First and she has always avoided using invented spelling because she knows it's wrong. But suddenly she is trying to spell on her own. She memorizes words and can write out whole phrases on notes and such, like "I love you and hope you have a very good day today!" But if she tries to write out something new, it is very garbled to the point of unreadable. Yet she aces her tests because (as she says) she "had a chance to study them for days." Then she asks through tear-brimmed eyes... "Can I study every single word there is so I can write them correctly?"

I'm struggling with this right now. But that should be a different topic... not trying to hi-jack.
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Re: Spelling by Sound and Structure "drills"

Unread post by MuzzaBunny »

Thanks very much. I don't want to miss anything! We're only at the beginning, but I'm trying to find a good rhythm here. :)

Shawna, you're not hi-jacking and I really appreciate your clear explanation on how you and Gail are doing things. You know, I think Gail's spelling will just suddenly improve this year. I think the exposure to all these new words and "studying" them will cement them in her mind. Soon she'll be correlating her studied words to similar words and it'll start to flow. She definitely has a willing heart and wants to do it right, so you have a huge help there. Really, I think the leap from writing ABCs to writing words and sentences is pretty monumental and it'll take a little more time for it all to come together. (And is it just me, or do you think that we moms of onlies tend to fret a little more? :-) )
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