While the kids haven’t just blown through this curriculum, everything they have covered so far has worked to improve their spelling skills! The more consistent we are at chipping away at it, the farther they get with results that are pleasing each of them (not to mention me!) The exclamation marks are used to show extreme excitement and satisfaction! We have no plans to change programs. While they are practicing sight words and lots of reading at and below their reading levels to build familiarity with more words than they are covering in these spelling lessons, the phonograms, key cards, and segmenting practice has proven to be more solid than a few negative reviews suggest.
For those who’ve had a bad experience using All About Spelling, I’d encourage you to give it another, slower try. I’ve noticed that going slower than I’d planned has meant more time to digest the information. Those who’ve read research reports that remind us that children’s play is the best time for learning to come together in the background will appreciate a slower paced AAS. It may not cover as much ground as you’d like if you take allow the kids to take their time with each step, but the increase in spelling ability that results will speak for itself.
In the beginning, I wanted Howdy to push through each step. He could handle the pace, but the learning wasn’t “sticking.” He couldn’t apply what he was covering in the lessons. Once I slowed down and had him go through the steps much slower, he began to blossom into a Speller. He’s working at a lower level than most kids his age might. However, the words he’s spelling are spelled correctly (and, quickly!) This hasn’t happened before with list practice alone. In other subjects, he’s learned to slow down, think through the words, and spell with fewer and fewer mistakes. Narrating what he is doing as he spells some of the words has helped him recognize that he has mentally stored quite a bit of useful spelling tools. I’ve encouraged him to take spelling slowly in order to keep making strides in long term spelling ability. He agrees that this slow and steady approach is helping him win this spelling race.
Posie is blossoming as a Speller, too. She loves the challenge of finding the tiles as quickly as possible to spell each word. I attribute her increased ability to discern the differences between the letters “b,” “d,” and “p” to the personal challenge she’s given herself to use the tiles at “lightening speed.” While she doesn’t use paper and pencil for the writing time, she still gets plenty of practice by writing on the marker board. I have noticed that assigning part of her reading practice specifically lower than her reading level has helped give her a solid foundation for success with AAS. She’s commented, “These are easy,” and “you know that I know these words, Mama.” GIANT SMILE ON MOM’S FACE!!!
Finding a program that can be used with students of vastly different abilities has made such a difference in the “spelling” part of our days. It’s doubtful that a huge portion of the CM community would embrace this approach to spelling, but it’s a bright spot in our day and is making dictation look more and more possible in the near future. Reading has improved as a sort of “cherry on the top.” Our use of Spelling Wisdom will be an exciting, successful adventure because of the ground work we’ve done with AAS. I have no plans to discontinue AAS. Howdy and Posie both plan to work through every level.
I don’t get paid for my reviews. Well, at least I don’t make any money. The blessings our children have received through this curriculum will mean I recommend it for years to come. You’ve got to visit: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling/