Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:42 am
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?
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!"