Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Speaking of Spelling....

I'm in the process of assessing RileyAnn's language arts needs for next school year.  This particular post will regard spelling.  We started Spelling Workout in kindergarten/1st grade with undesired results.  In 2nd grade, we switched to All About Spelling (AAS) Level 1 and just finished Level 2 this year for 3rd grade.  I am drawn to the Orton-Gillingham method.  I love that AAS teaches the phonograms and spelling rules and is a multisensory program.  I love that after initial prep, the lessons are open and go.  It's sequential and straight forward.  There are no lists to memorize because you are spelling words according to the phonograms and rules you have studied.  This just makes sense!!  I also appreciate the dictation method used in AAS.  It falls in line with the Charlotte Mason method of teaching. 

One of my struggles with AAS is determining how much to teach each day.  The program recommends spending about 20 minutes per day on spelling.  However, I don't feel there is enough material here to last that long.  I scheduled about a lesson per week and then tried to stretch it out for 4-5 days.  This only gave us 5-10 minutes of instruction per day. 

In addition, Riley doesn't love the tiles used in AAS.  She prefers to write on a white board or in her notebook.   Hence my quest to find a spelling program with the notebook approach. 

I purchased The Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading by Barbara Beers at the recommendation of friends.  However, after watching approximately 3 hours of the instructor DVD's, I felt like I was going crazy.  Phonics Road is based on the Orton-Spalding method.  Again, I like the approach of teaching the phonograms and rules vs. memorizing lists.  But, I did not care for some of the rule tunes, marking all the sounds, and the idea of being tied to my computer, watching instructional DVD's prior to every lesson.  I ended up selling the program.

I then started researching the Spalding method and obtained a copy of The Writing Road to Reading (WRTR) by Romalda Spalding.  I purchased the 4th edition along with teaching material from The Riggs Institute at a used book sale.  I also got a 5th edition from our local public library for comparison.  These two editions are grossly different. 

The 4th edition was the last revision during Ms. Spalding's lifetime.  It's very basic, has larger print, and includes the 70 phonogram cards you need for teaching. It's 288 pages.  The 5th edition has smaller print, gives scripted samples of a lesson, includes a list of the 70 phonograms though not in card form, and is 471 pages.  It is divided into two parts: "Lessons, Procedures, and Why This Method Works", which describes the content and methodology of the program, and "Instructional Materials", for use in lesson planning and instruction.  I believe the idea behind this was to make WRTR more user friendly as it's typically described as "being a beast to teach" by many.  Other changes in the 5th edition are a revised Extended Ayres Word List and an updated list of recommended children's literature.  Additions include a section on syllable division, recommended language arts scope and sequence, and a framework for planning integrated language arts lessons.  

I should note, WRTR is now in it's 6th edition, which was written to align with The Common Core State Standards.  I understand it's similar to the 5th edition, but I have not seen it yet.  
 

I love the idea of the spelling notebook the child creates while progressing through WRTR as they learn the phonograms and spelling rules.  However, again, I'm not crazy about the marking system.  I went through all seven levels of All About Spelling and The Writing Road to Reading and created a comparison chart of the phonograms taught. 












All About Spelling Phonogram Sequence

Level 1

a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h
i
j
k
l
m
n
o
p
qu
r
s
t
u
v
w
x
y
z
th
sh
ch
ck
ng
nk

Level 2

wh
ee
er
ar
or
ou
oy
oi
aw
au
ow






Level 3

ay
ai
ur
oa
oo
ea
ed
igh
ir
ey







Level 4

tch
dge
ew
ei
wr
kn
eigh
ear
ph
ti
oe






Level 5

si
ie
ough
ui
gn
our
ci


Level 6

mb
gu
augh






Level 7














Writing Road to Reading Phonogram Sequence

First 70

a
c
d
f
g
o
s
qu
b
e
h
i
j
k
l
m
n
p
r
t
u
v
w
x
y
z
sh
ee
th
ow
ou
oo
ch
ar
ay
ai
oy
oi
er
ir
ur
wor
ear
ng
ea
aw
au
or
ck
wh
ed
ew
ui
oa
gu
ph
ough
oe
ey
igh
kn
gn
wr
ie
dge
ei
eigh
ti
si
ci



Additional 17

tch
eo
eau
augh
ce
gh
gi
our
di
cu
aigh
sc
ge
rh
eu
sci
pn










The initial 70 phonograms are the same, however, each program has added additional phonograms.  AAS teaches a new phonogram with it's spelling rule, then the child practices writing words, phrases, and sentences using the new material.  WRTR teaches all 70 phonograms upfront in a relatively short amount of time.  (one per day in kindergarten, 4 per day in 1st grade, all of them in a couple of weeks for upper grades) Then you go back and add words and rules to the phonograms creating a spelling notebook. 

I have not attempted this method, though it seems like a lot in a short amount of time, particularly for younger students.  It is recommended students spend two to three hours per day on the Spalding language arts program, which consists of spelling, writing, and reading lessons divided into three or four periods a day, with twenty to forty minutes on the spelling lesson alone, depending on grade level. 

After much research, I'm trying to devise a way to combine AAS and WRTR.  I'm thinking I would use AAS as the base, adding in the creation of a notebook used in WRTR.  I need to do some more brainstorming on this.

One other spelling book I picked up at a used book sale is How to Teach Spelling (HTTS).  I'm intrigued by this program in that it teaches phonograms and rules and is designed for kindergarten through adult.  You have the option of using a notebook or purchasing the three workbooks that accompany the program.  HTTS is relatively inexpensive compared to AAS.  However, I need to spend more time with it before giving a proper review and making a final decision. 


What's your favorite spelling program?  I'd love to hear more about it.  Please feel free to comment below.  

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