SP - (Spelling Power) - Describe how you use this, time,

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)

SP - (Spelling Power) - Describe how you use this, time,

Unread post by cbollin »

Is spelling power short and to the point
wlwest wrote:Hi. I was trying to decide if I should get spelling power. My dd is 9 and in 4th grade this year. She is a terrible speller. But, I also don't want a long in depth spelling program.

Is spelling power a short and to the point sort of program? Something that works, but won't take up an awful lot of time?

Wendy W

Spelling Power is a "rules of phonics" based program. You write the rule, test the words, study the words that you miss and test again on just those words. (The purpose is not to continue testing what you already know.) SP recommends 15 minutes per day.

The question of " is spelling power short and to the point".... well, the first 100 pages of this book is a summary of the author's research. And is long and not to the point, but.... the research behind the program is not what you need to read or teach or learn. There is a section called Quick Start that is shorter and to the point. The Hazells did a fine job making it even shorter and more to the point in a 10 step list form. It takes a few minutes to figure out how to use SP in the very beginning. I have used it and never bothered to read the research section.

It does not take a lot of time per day. The longest time was to determine if my child needed to start in level A or level B. Part of the manual deals with placement tests and I did not think the tests took much time for us. (Maybe 10 minutes?) Also, we didn't use the extra activity cards (sold separately.)

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Unread post by tiffany »

I agree that Spelling Power does not take a lot of time. There is a bit of a learning curve at the beginning so the lessons probably take 15 minutes without the activity time. After you get used to it, you could probably finish the book portion, test and review, in 10 minutes. We have yet to add the activity cards to our lessons, since we just started at the end of the school year last spring.

My daughter liked the program and did well on the tests. I really haven't had much of a chance yet to see if this performance is transferring to her writing yet, but we'll see.

As a teacher, it probably only takes 5-10 minutes of your time daily. I only read the quick start section and actually purchased the quick start video. The directions are a little dry, but then how exciting can reading about spelling be?

I'm happy I purchased it and plan to use it for my other children.
Wife to Tim ('88)
Mother to Sophie 16, Jonathan 14, Joey 12, Noah 10, Matthew 8, Eli 4
Have completed MFWK, MFW 1st grade, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp.-1850,1850-Mod., HS Ancients, HS World
Fall of '11 ECC,HS Ancients, HS U.S. History to 1877
Susan on the Space Coast
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Location: Palm Bay, Florida

I agree with Spelling Power

Unread post by Susan on the Space Coast »

I just started using the Spelling Power this week for my 9yo dd and it's so easy. I gave her the Placement Tests--by following the directions in the Hazell's manual. Then today I gave her the first group of words in 5 mins. and we went over how to check and study her 2 words she missed! I thot she was a bad speller from looking at her daily work, but I think when she takes her time, she does better--she tested at/above grade level.

Now we're using ILL and she loves that and SP. Can't wait for the Singapore math so she can enjoy that too!
wife to Tim (22 yrs.), mommy to Emily (17, graduate), Daniel (15), and Megan (13)
Have taught MFWK through 1850-MT; High School
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ideas for child who misses few words

Unread post by Lucy »

Tina wrote:SP. I like it, my daughter does, too. It is new for us to do a "test" everyday, and the drilling is good. She is a quick learner, and we are blasting through lessons. However, on some lessons she will only get one or two words wrong. When that happens, I have her do the ten step study process.

My question is, do you re-test the words that day, or wait until the next day?

Because there is only one or two wrong per flow-word list, I have her drill it for about 5 min. (anything more and she is bored because it is one word!) and I do not test her on it again that day, but on the next day I do the new flow-word list and add the word(s) that were wrong from the previous day to the bottom of the new flow word list.

I know the SP curriculum says to not add any words not in that group because of the spelling rules, but it seems a better use of time to just add them to the next day's list. I guess it seems silly to me to test on just one or two words for a day.

Any thoughts on this or anyone have the same kind of experience? I do realize when the words get more complicated that I may only want to stick to one group per day. It just seemed to me to be a "waste" to only test on one word. Thoughts appreciated.
Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:59 pm

I have been doing Spelling Power for so long that I "guess" what I am doing is from the book.

You are supposed to test the missed words the next day but you do them first and then begin a new rule with a new list. If they miss the words again they practice them again. MFW suggest that on Monday of each week you retest all of the words that were missed during the previous week. We have found this to be a really good review.

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 3:02 pm

I have used it with 2 students for 5 years now and both are very different learners and we have found it to work well.

I think if it had not been for the easy to follow MFW instructions I would not have pick up this book for spelling. It is very easy and takes me about 10 mins. or less per child each day.

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Unread post by kellybell »

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2005 8:03 am

With SP, sometimes my dd gets ALL the words right and we just stop and cheer that we don't have to review anything. I don't require a certain amount of review time but ask that she do the 10 steps with all missed words (which I limit to 4 or 5 anyway).

Without going to the dreaded front of the SP book, I don't know if what I am doing is right or not. I read words one at a time and correct each missed word before calling out another word. I never have her spell more than a page (would that be 25 or so?) words a day and often have her spell less. I quit when she's reached 4 or 5 missed words.

Oh, I write in my book in pencil so I know what to read to her. First I read the words that she missed the day before. If she gets a missed word right, I erase it out the book, otherwise I leave it in for the next day. Sometimes she might get a word right but I know it's tricky for her and I'll jot it down in a future list, about two weeks from where we are at so she gets it again. SP does a great job of reviewing tricky words but they don't always get the words that trick MY child!

Then I read the current list. I might be at the beginning of the list or I migth be halfway through it. Either way, I first read the rule and discuss it with her if it is tricky. I usually don't have her write the rule if the rule is an easy one (ie. the /a/ sound in cat is usually spelled with an a). I read until either she misses four or five words or until the page is filled up. Sometimes I quit before the end of the page if we finish a list and I don't want to read just a few words from the next list. I put a pencil mark showing where to start the next day. Some lists we do in one day, some lists in two days. Often we finish one list and start a new list in the same day, if the new list isn't too tricky.

Oh, and I include words that she's been missing on her writing or are part of what we are studying. In ECC, she learned to spell all the countries we studied, the oceans, and the continents, as well as words like forest, desert (we learned the trick of "Strawberry Shortcake" having two s -es like dessert does and desert only has one S for "sand"), etc. I just called them out before her list words so she knew that they weren't following the current rule.

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Unread post by DS4home »

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:55 pm

I pretty much follow the same pattern as was mentioned before. I just thought I'd add that I use a timer. I set it at 5 min. and start giving the words, starting with missed words then picking up where we left off. When the bell rings we stop, whether we are in the middle of a list or at the end. I will let them stop early if they are missing a lot ( 4 or 5 ). But I can count on one hand the number of times that has happened! My oldest is a good speller and she usually breezes through the lists. Dawn

Is this how you use it?

Unread post by Renee »

Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 12:58 pm

I am currently using spelling power with my 4th grader. Here is how I do it
set the timer
call the words out
he writes them until timer goes off
we correct them
he goes through steps with those that he misses
he writes sentences with those that he misses
next lesson we start with the ones he missed yesterday

Is this right? I don't have the activity cards so this is all he does for spelling. Does anyone else use the program without the cards or doing any extra activity?
Thanks for your help!
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Unread post by Tina »

Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 8:01 pm

I believe that on your step of "we correct them", it should be automatic correction. For example, you are right there while the child is spelling the word on their paper, and if they get it wrong, you automatically correct them. Also, stop the test if they get three or more wrong. That's how I handle it anyway. (I think I read it in the book that way.......)

I also do the same as you, ten-step study process for words spelled wrong. Then she does some sentences, or drills them twice each, or types them on the computer, etc. Whatever we feel like for the day. She is funny because she will mostly put the words in sentences and then for the last sentence she writes, she puts ALL the words she misspelled in one sentence!

Oh, my dc also really like to do crosswords and word searches so I try to make these for them also from their spelling lists. I have never purchased the cards or anything like that. My dd who uses SP now is a great speller, and it is fairly easy to use this book with her.
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Unread post by Rainy »

Posted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:44 pm

I have the activity cards and use them only on days when they get all their words correct. On those days they do an activity card instead of studying. I keep a dry erase marker and a page protector with the cards for them to use.
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Unread post by kfrench »

Posted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 4:29 pm

You retest the missed words from yesterday first thing her next spelling lesson. It does have review tests every so often but when I get to the review tests I just start with all the words she missed. I just put a little mark next to each word she misses then I always know where we are and which words I need to test.

We just made a copy of the 10 steps and put a page protector over it. She writes her words on it and does the 10 steps. I usually take that sheet and have her turn to a new page in her notebook each day and she starts with the words on the page protector from yesterday and then I have her spell words until she misses 3 or reaches the end of the list. That way somedays she only misses one or wto and feels like she has earned a treat for spelling the words correctly. I only do 3 words because if I give her any more than this she doesn't remember them and starts slacking on her studying.
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Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 9:27 pm

I started off when my kids were younger using the Spelling Power notebooks. I have never run off the papers even with the old edition(they are in the back).

Last year I asked my kids if they wanted to try to use the notebook like MFW suggest in their TM instructions and they said yes. That has work well. I just have them glue the 10 step list into the front or back of their notebooks. After the first 2 weeks they usually remember the routine and do not need it anymore.

Hope some of this is helpful.
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How we do it

Unread post by shellie »

Posted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 8:54 am

I absolutely LOVE Spelling Power! I was also very confused when I opened that big ol' book the first time... but after asking for a few clarifications from long-time users, it was really easy to get into. Maybe my situation makes it a bit easier: my boys are older (11 and 8) and are generally good spellers anyway. So this system has been my dream come true. Both of them love just going down through the list and trying to get them right first time 'round. If they miss a word, I don't even make them study it, but it just keeps coming back on subsequent days until they finally get it down pat. (Just a handful of words have taken 4 or 5 days... but when they finally spell it correctly, they rejoice! And it's funny how that word seems to pop up in stories or conversations for weeks afterwards!)

If it will help, here is a quickie explanation of how we do it. (And I may not be doing all the parts that SP suggests, but this has been very effective for us.)
I use just a folded-in-half piece of paper in a spiral notebook, not the official writing pages. I say the word, then they say the word and write the word, and then say the word again out loud when they are done. (I have found it to be true that often they spell a word incorrectly because they aren't pronouncing it correctly! If I make them say it correctly, they are better spellers.) If they got the word right, we move on to the next word. If they got it wrong, they cross it out and they write it as I spell it for them on the other half of the page. Then we continue down the list until they miss 3 or so (depending on how easy or frustrating the word list is that day). Then for emphasis, they fold the page in half and I read the words they missed and they have to spell them correctly. The next day, those words go back to the top of the list. I just put a little pencil dot on the words they miss, and draw a line in the book where we stopped, so we are just plowing away at the word lists, each boy at his own pace.

Is that clear as mud?? ^__^ It is actually so easy, that I kinda feel like I'm cheating in my home school duties... Spelling should be harder than this! haha! It's so easy that I do spelling with the boys every day, and they don't mind. I think after the first of the year I'm going to concentrate on Writing Strands, so I'll drop the PLL and Spelling Power altogether for a month or so. We'll see how that goes!

Good luck on your decision. I'm sure the Lord can guide you to one that's a perfect fit for your family!

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Should I try Spelling Power if I am nervous about it?

Unread post by kellybell »

niki wrote: Yes, it overwhelms me! I've heard it's teacher intensive, not that it's a bad thing, but...spelling? What do you think, is it time consuming? I guess my question is - should I just try it? THANKS :)
Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:08 pm

I happened to see your question: "Should I try it?" My answer is YES. Here's my thinking:

1. It's not really teacher intensive. There is a LOT of reading up front (follow your MFW TM for instructions on what to read and what not to read) and then you test to see where to start your child. Okay, that's all sort of a pain, but after that, you simply pick up the book every day and start where you left off. I simply used sticky notes to remind myself where to start each day.

2. It's cost-effective. Okay, I have the older version and understand the new one comes with a CD-ROM, but it probably is about $50 (sorry, I'm too lazy to check). If you have three kids and they will use the program for 5 years each, then you're paying about $3.50 a year per kid (and that includes a spiral notebook and a pencil!). Oh, don't bother getting the SP student workbook, it's not worth it.

3. It's popular. If you buy it and it doesn't work for you, then you simply sell it on ebay or hslda or somewhere and you'll recoup at least half of what you paid for it.

4. It doesn't waste time. The time is spent working on words that the student DOESN'T already know. So, if your child already knows how to spell "together" (or any other word), then she doesn't spend a week writing it, doing crosswords with it, copying it, making sentences with it. The "studied" words are the ones that child doesn't know already!
Kim in MI
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Re: Should I try Spelling Power if I am nervous about it?

Unread post by Kim in MI »

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:59 pm

For some reason I was overwhelmed when trying to start SP. We were very hit and miss for the first few months and then I decided I needed to buckle down and just get moving.

After a week or two I couldn't figure out why I thought it was so hard. I like it now. It is not teacher-intensive, but I do have to get her started each day. My 4th-grader thinks she would like something more like the R&S, but I know that she also likes not having to review words she already knows how to spell. My 2nd-grader, who is doing R&S, can't wait to get to SP. Sometimes she asks to do her list the same way as her older sister.

Re: Should I try Spelling Power if I am nervous about it?

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:52 am

Is SP teacher intensive? well, that depends how you define it. Yes, you as teacher have to teach from it. It is not a program that you put headphones on your child and let them listen to a speaker call out words. so, for about 10 minutes each day, you have to teach spelling. The lists are made for you, the progression through the list is already done. The one part of SP that has some teacher prep is the last 5 minutes of each day -- those are extra activities. And if memory serves (without looking this up) those really are optional to the program and don't have to be done every day.

Does SP give information overkill in the introduction? Absolutely. Most of the author's research notes are unnecessary and not needed for implementing the program. Feel free to ignore all of those pages. KWIM?

One nice thing in MFW teacher's manual is that MFW makes it very simple to use SP. SP comes with its own quick step. Most of the early parts of those quick steps is just figuring out which spelling level list to use. Then it gets easy to use.

it is supposed to take 10-15 minutes per day. I cannot imagine how that is supposed to be time consuming.

It is a one book for all students from about 3rd grade to high school. That's part of the size. The most recent edition comes with a CD Rom and a quick start DVD to try to help make it even easier to use.

with all of that, I still tweaked SP to make it work for us. I broke down the list into smaller pieces that were more related. (for example, on long vowel words, I grouped them together so my dd only worked on one spelling at a time for that sound. all of the A silent E words, then eigh words, etc. )

my more than .02 on it

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Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 7:46 pm

I like Spelling Power for both of my kids since it is not done at a grade level but at the level they test at. Levels are done by alphabet not grades or numbers.

We have been using it for 4 years now and my kids have really liked it. The thing my kids like is they only study the words they miss. You test them at the beginning of the year so that they are right where they need to start.

Each level always starts off with short vowel words, which makes it easier and uses different activities to teach all kinds of learners as they study the words.

The directions that you need to get started with the program are listed in the TM.

I know that it does not work for everyone but we have had a positive experience with it. I have one that struggles and one average speller.

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:01 pm

I have been using SP for 6 years now. I have one pretty good speller and one who is not a good speller(she got it from me poor thing). My kids continue to improve and both tested well last year so I have just kept using it since it has been working. It takes me about 5 mins. with them each day and then they spend 10 or so mins. studying the words they missed that day.

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Is this how you use it?

Unread post by kellybell »

Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2007 6:01 pm

Well, here's how we do it at the Bell house:

Four days (okay, sometimes three) a week we do spelling.

1. We sit down. DS has his spiral notebook and a pencil. I have the Big Orange Book and a pencil. He opens to a clean page in his notebook and starts at the top of the page and I read words. First I read any words he missed the day before. I know what words they are because I circled them as he missed them. Then, I remind him of the current rule we're working on and start reading words from the current list.

2. I read until he's missed four words or has filled up every line in the notebook (one word per line).

3. As I read, I watch him write down the words. If he misspells a word, I tell him the correct spelling of the word, perhaps discussing why the word was tricky or what rule he forgot. I watch him carefully to make sure he got the correct spelling! He writes the corrected word on the same line as the missed word, but over on the right hand side (the column of words is on the left side). I circle any missed words in the book.

4. When we finish for the day (ie. he reaches the bottom of the page or misses four), I lightly draw a line under the last word we did, so that the next day I remember where to start.

5. I have already taught him the steps of "How To Study a Spelling Word" from the MFW TM, so he does this on his own.

6. He studies for about 10 minutes at most. Spelling with SP is quick and painless. (Except for reminding ds EVERY DAY to put up his spiral notebook!)

7. I sometimes add words that he's missed in his other school work, just penciling them in. I remember when we did ECC, I had my dd's learn Brazil, ocean, desert, France, etc.

8. Also, if there is a word that is a real bugger for him, I flip a few pages ahead in SP and pencil it in. In a few weeks, we'll get there and I'll remember to read that tricky word. And sometimes a mom's gut feeling tells you that the child knows that particular word but missed it due to a careless error (perhaps you've seen the child spell the word right before). Other times, you know that the child is struggling with a word and only got it right due to dumb luck. In that case, I make sure to pencil it in so that we hit it in a week or so!

9. After about four months of doing this, it's time to read the first 100 or so pages of Spelling Power.

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Unread post by scmlg »

Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2007 8:02 pm

We do it just slightly different.

I read all the words in one list 4 days a week. If they miss a word, I stop have them cross out the word and write it correctly next to it. Then we continue till the list is done. They turn their papers over, write the incorrect words, and study each one following the study guide. Then the next day I test them on the wrong ones and the next list.

I have to say we are doing wonderfully. I thought it was going to overwhelm them, but even my second grader likes SP better than what we've done in the past.

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 7:33 pm

Yes.... with SP it is the same routine each day.

Here's what we do:
*Each day in SP is a set routine.
*Start with writing down the spelling rule on the top of the day's sheet.
*Test for 5 minutes using the procedures in SP ---on the Quick Start DVD it shows the author reading every word out loud letter by letter even when the teacher knows the student got it right. That way the student learns to check work as well. Back when I first tried SP, I didn't do it that way and look back and realize that was not a good idea for my kid. Sometimes she guessed the right spelling, but now if/when that happens, she will also hear and see the correct spelling.

*at end of 5 minutes, student does the 10 step study procedure.

Next day:
start by "testing" words missed from previous day
and go with the same routine.
If there is time left in the 5 minutes, I do not charge ahead to the next group all the time. It's a "wait and see" approach. If my dd misses just 1 word from the previous day's lesson, then we move on. But I don't try to start a new lesson with 1 minute left. That's when I give an out loud "final group review" -- I just don't call it a final test :)

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Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:33 am

MFW suggests that you check the retention of all the words that were missed the previous week each Monday. So this is treated like a "list" of words. If they miss any of them they study them and are retested on them the following day. I hope that does not confuse more. If it does ask more questions and we will keep trying to clarify it for you.


Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:30 am

You do have to spend the first week or two studying the words with the kids and showing them exactly how to study them as well as pointing out the importance of each step. The steps help all kinds of learners since they include activities from the 3 ways we primarily learn: by touch, by sight, and by sound. I could usually tell when my kids were not doing the studying by the performance the next day. Some days I would watch to see that they were doing them correctly or that they were doing them at all.

Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 7:29 pm

Just a quick mention: We bought the Activity Task Cards, which we're really enjoying. In the back of the big orange book is a chart which tells you which cards to use for your student. I've been choosing one activity per study session. When we're done studying the words, we go on to the Task Card (takes about 5 minutes, as directed).

My son is really enjoying these - one day, his task was to write his missed words on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk. Yeah, my little dude actually cheered! ;) There are so many activities in there to choose from - I don't have to think about making it fun. I choose (from the activities chart) the one I think will be the most fun & helpful on that given day, which I love because I'm able to tailor it to suit my son's best interests.

If they're cheering over spelling, I'm happy. :D

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:41 pm

While each child is different, I can honestly say I am thoroughly pleased with my son's progress this year using Spelling Power.

I have seen a dramatic change in his ability this year. It's still the one subject that will bring tears if we're gonna have them, but he is really learning to spell. Two thumbs up from me. :)

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 8:43 pm

Max really needed help in spelling and I came into SP with the "well, I'll try it" attitude. It's not his favorite subject - I don't think any program could change that, but it's been simple & effective for us. His spelling & his confidence in spelling have improved dramatically. I've never tried the other program the others mentioned, but we do love Spelling Power (using it the way Marie Hazell suggests in the TM).

Marie suggests (somewhere...) making spelling a 15 minute per day, four day per week part of school. Five minutes for testing, five minutes for correcting, five minutes for activity for the words missed (like writing words in sidewalk chalk outside, salt tray, making sentences with each, etc. - there's an activity box you can purchase with ALL kinds of ideas).

While I thought I'd hyperventilate when we first purchased SP, my 1-2 recommendations: 1. Quick-start DVD; 2. Follow Marie's suggestions in the TM.
Amy M in NC
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Unread post by Amy M in NC »

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:17 pm

We love it. It is our second year and I am not looking anymore. My daughter has improved a ton and almost caught up to her brother.

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:20 pm

There are lots of things I like about Spelling Power. I like the multisensory approach to teaching spelling. I like the lessons arranged by phonics rules. I tweak the list a bit to make it easier for my child. For example, if the list has several ways to spell a long A sound, then I group them together by similar spellings and study it in shorter bites for my kids. Not all kids need that, but mine did so I made a tiny tweak that way. I like the extras that are part of Spelling Power book such as ways to study, dictionary skills, ideas for simple games to help. I really like that the length of the lists within a phonics rule is not overwhelming and gets longer as the kids gets older and moves into the next spelling level. I like the idea that you don’t have to learn the whole list in one day, but can be done in smaller time segments. Some times my kids already know everything on a specific rule list and it gives them a sense of accomplishment

Like Carylee said, the idea of a pre test didn’t always work with us. We used the alternative approach in Spelling Power that is suggested for younger children even though the kids were older than the suggested age for that approach. So we studied first then tested and studied more. Instead of pre test, study, test. It just made more sense for my kids that way. That way they were not just guessing and having it stick in the wrong way from a wrong guess. I’m glad to know my oldest kid wasn’t the only one like that. whew, I feel so much better :)

We like SP. I tweaked it a tiny bit to fit my kids needs. We did the study test study approach that is mentioned in SP as an alternative method. We changed the order of the words on the list within a phonics rule to just study one possible spelling of a sound at a time.


Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:51 am

Some of the many reasons I like it. One book for everyone for spelling lists. One time purchase. I like the arrangement by phonics rules. I like the idea of the lists are not necessarily grade level, but are age/skill level. I like that there are extras in the SP program such as dictionary skills, and even a built in recording keeping system. And it is flexible enough that you can adjust it for your child’s learning styles and needs. It can even had a make your workbook style of learning too.

I like that the MFW TM suggests a weekly review even though that’s not really part of SP.

I personally have found that my kids do best when they study the list first and then proceed in SP. So we modify a bit to use SP 10 Step Study approach first instead of second. My kids need to eliminate the trial and error phase. Now, sometimes, we’ll pre test a list out loud together, but I have a rule. If my child doesn’t know the spelling or isn’t 100% sure she does, then she has to say “I’ll just study that word.”

We really like the multisensory approach in SP.

The one part of SP that we didn’t really like and had to break it down for our kids was how some of the lists grouped too many words together with the same target sound but too many options to spell that sound. That was simple enough to deal with – I changed the order of the list AND only had my child write down the possible spellings that were on the list. One example on that is with the many possible correct spellings of long E. I didn’t have my kids write down all of the possible correct spellings, but only the ones that were included in words on the list. We would mention the other spellings, but would also mention we’re just going to study a few of them right now.

So basically, I took the guess work out of trying to decide which correct spelling to use and we just practiced it the right way with just a few words.

In SP, there will be some times that the rule about the spelling is given. But that's when there are good flowchart style of rules to follow. For example, you will teach the why's of choosing OU over OW, or AW over AU. But some words don't really have a strict guideline to follow with their spelling choices. But when it is appropriate to teach an overall guideline in a spelling rule, SP does teach that.

When it doesn't, I simply alter how we study the list. I change the order of the words. I have my student just copy the possible choices that are on the list that time while just saying there are lots of other ways to spell that sound. But we're just learning a few of them right now.

I have kids who get easily overwhelmed with too many choices in all kinds of things. hmmm.... they sound just like their mom in a h-s convention vendor hall. :)

hope something in there helps a bit for you
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Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2004 9:25 pm

Unread post by MJP »

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:10 am

Actually, just writing out the words twice a week has worked about the best (I know that is not how to technically use Spelling Power). Also, I got the digital tutor that goes with Spelling Power, and using that everyday has also helped. Our spelling has really improved this year from the other methods we tried.
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Please use simple words in explaining!

Unread post by kellybell »

jentancalann wrote:I have always been so deathly afraid of Spelling Power. Can someone please use simple words in explaining to me how to use Spelling Power?
Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:42 am

That was my exact reaction. What does that book have? About 500 pages of "how to use this simple program"? Give me a break.

I've got a third edition that I bought used about five years ago. So, mine doesn't have the fancy CD. I'm sort of tempted to buy the CD, but you know, we're doing just fine without it.

STEP 1: Decide what level your child belongs in. There are instructions in the book for deciding on placement. Basically you read from special placement lists until your child misses a few in a row or a few near each other. You do this once per child ever, so I don't remember the details. The results of the test tell you where to start your child. You can take several days to determine placement. Or, you could just open up the main part of the book and see what looks about right and try that section and adjust up or down as needed. I suggest doing the placement test, but hey, if you decide to just choose a list and start going, who's to know?

STEP 2: Get your child on board. Your child needs a spelling notebook of some type. I can think of three options: a cheap-o spiral notebook (what we do), a Spelling Power student workbook, or make lots of copies of the spelling power answer sheets in the back of the book (or, I'm guessing, on the CD that I don't own) and put in a notebook. And, now, copy from the MFW TM the steps for studying a spelling word. Tape this inside the cover of the spelling notebook and teach these steps to your child. Take a day or two for this step, demonstrating how to study a missed word. Once the child knows this, it's his responsibility, not yours, to correctly study the missed words. He's got this "cheat sheet" of the study steps, so it should be easy. Also, this is a great time to explain the philosophy of spelling power, especially if your child has used a traditional spelling program where you get a list on Monday, learn it, and then test on Friday. Explain that you'll read words and the only ones he has to study are those that he doesn't already know. Remind him that if he misspells a word, that doesn't mean he goofed on a test, but simply doesn't yet know the word. And, tell him he can take all the time he needs to learn the word, whether that's a day or a month.

STEP 3: Daily spelling tests. Bear with me. It's easier to do than to describe. Each day, I read words to him and he writes them in the left column of his spelling notebook. First, I read to him any words he missed yesterday. I know what words he missed because I lightly circled them in the SP book. If he gets it right, I erase the circle, otherwise the circle remains. Then, I read him the new spelling words. I know right where to start because I drew a line right under the last word we did the day before. I read words to him until he's either missed four words (you might want to use a larger or smaller number for your cut-off number) or until he's filled up the left column of his paper (about 25 lines). As I read words to him, I watch what he writes and I have him correct any missed words by writing them correctly in the right hand column. Also, I circle in the book any words he misses so I remember to read them to him tomorrow. When he either reaches the bottom of the page or reaches the four-error mark, I am done reading words to him for the day and I lightly mark in my TM the last word I read to him so I know where to start next time -- then I put a bookmark in so I can find my page. He then studies the words he misses using the plan he copied from the MFW TM. When he is done with that, he's done for the day.

The book has different levels and within the level are lists divided up by spelling rules. If the list is short enough, you might read the end of one list, all of another list, and the first few words of a third list. Most lists are longer than that though.

STEP 4: Read the SP book intro. After you've done SP a couple of weeks, then read the SP intro section. Honestly, I don't know if I've ever read it all. I should sometime. Maybe this summer?

OPTIONAL STEPS: You can "customize" SP by adding your own words to their lists. When we did ECC, I often put country, river, ocean, or religion names in the spelling lists. Explain that they don't follow the spelling rule that you are currently studying. Then, read those words and copy down whichever nes are missed. MFW also recommends keeping a list of missed words so that you can review them. SP has built-in reviews but you might need more on certain words.

It IS hard to explain. The program really is simple. It would be easier for you just to come over and see me use it. Do you know a local friend who wouldn't mind you sitting in on a SP lesson?

As the Nike ad says, "Just do it!"
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