Is their anyone who actualy enjoys speling? I shure didn’t. In sckool it wus won of those subjects wear ewe just have to grin and bare it. As a kid, I could never sea why it was sew important butt now I due.
Hehee! Well, if you made it through that disaster of a paragraph, you are in for a treat today!
About Spelling You See
I am thrilled to share with you all a brand spanking new spelling curriculum, Spelling You See.
My son and I had the privilege of reviewing: Spelling You See: Wild Tales (Level C). Our package included a Wild Tales Instructor’s Handbook, 2 Wild Tales student workbooks, and a beautiful package of erasable colored pencils. I love that this company chose to include the erasable colored pencils rather than making us go out and buy them ourselves. It made our day! The Instructor’s Handbook sells for $14 and the Student Pack, including the pencils, sells for $30.
Spelling You See currently offers five different levels, A through E. Listen and Write (Level A) is geared towards a beginning reader who is still learning letter names and sounds. American Spirit (Level E) is for the student who is writing paragraphs comfortably and is at least 9 years of age. Levels B through D are for students in-between. Because these books are not based on grade levels, you can use this placement guide to help determine which level would best suit your child.
Everything you need to get started is included in the package!
When these spelling books came in the mail, they caught my eye immediately. They are beautiful! These are not your ordinary, boring as drywall, black and white textbooks. These books are bursting with color! And the colored pencils make them that much more inviting.
I love that these spelling workbooks incorporate pictures and use color to communicate to the student. My son is a visual learner and I know by experience that there are precious few books and curriculum available for kids who learn visually.
Visual learners learn the best and absorb the most when using their sense of sight. Visual learners use color and pictures to organize information. Graphs, maps, images, colors, and other visuals help these students get the most out of a teaching.
It is frustrating to me that most curriculum writers create textbooks that only appeal to one type of learner. Children are unique and original and they do not all learn the same way. Finally, a textbook made just for my son and others like him!
How We Used Spelling You See
We’ve gone through almost half of the first student book by now and I have been completely blown away by the results of using Spelling You See. I’ll get to the results in a bit. First, I want to share with you how quick and easy the daily lessons are.
Each lesson is broken down into five sections, labeled A through E. Naturally, we completed one section each day. Each section contains two pages of workbook activities.
As seen in the photo below, each day has a set of tasks to complete with your student. The first page asks the teacher to read the day’s passage aloud to the student and then clap out the rhyme together. Next, the student should follow along with his finger while the teacher and student read the passage together. The teacher then helps the student find and mark all vowel chunks, which is refered to as chunking.
Chunking is simply finding and circling certain letter patterns. For example, in the first two lessons, we are asked to find vowel chunks. So we circled vowel chunks such as: aa, ae, or ai. In other lessons chunking involves finding and circling consonant pairs, tricky y guy (where y says the long e, long i, or short i sound), or bossy r chunks (ar, er, ir, etc). After the first couple of lessons, my son was able to find the chunks on his own without needing much assistance. By the way, this is where you get to use those fun erasable colored pencils!
The second page varies a bit but it usually asks the student to copy part of that day’s passage as well as find and mark any vowel chunks. I liked that they didn’t require the student to copy the entire passage, just a portion. For kids who dislike writing this makes the day’s task much more bearable. Usually on Day 4, or section D, the student is allowed the option to draw a picture of the rhyme or write their own little story. My son always chose to draw a picture.
On the last day, or section E, the student writes down the passage from dictation for no more than 10 minutes. If the student does not finish the dictation within the 10 minutes, it’s okay. Quality not quantity is the goal here. At the end of the dictation we count the number of words spelled correctly to keep the activity as positive as possible.
You and your student shouldn’t spend more than a few minutes a day on spelling. We spent no more than 15 minutes a day on any particular section, which thrilled me since I had been used to devoting much more time to spelling a day.
The Research Behind Spelling You See
I wanted to mention the research behind this spelling curriculum because as I began this program with my son I kept thinking to myself, there’s just no way that this easy peasy enjoyable spelling program could possibly be effective. As a rule spelling has to be torturous and extremely aggravating. Isn’t that how all spelling programs work? Not this one.
Dr. Karen Holinga is the brilliant specialist who developed this fantastic new approach to spelling. Instead of mundane intimidating spelling tests and lists, the daily activities in Spelling You See are fun and easy. The daily exercises incorporate writing, reading, speaking, and listening. Beause the spelling words are associated with a passage, there’s something meaningful for the brain to connect the words to. Studies have shown that the brain does not retain meaningless word lists or “item knowledge”. However, when words are linked to something meaningful, they are stored in the long-term memory.
Although I was skeptical at first, I really love Spelling You See.
I was a little worried in the beginning because the workbooks contained no tests and no real measurable ways to determine progress. This program just seemed to go against everything I believed a spelling program should be. But now I’m sold. I love this program and will continue using it with my son.
So, do you want to know how we went from hating spelling to loving it in one week?
Before I began the first lesson of Spelling You See, I dictated the passage in lesson one to my son and observed the results. Let’s just face it. The results were bad. It was frustrating to my son as well as to myself because we devote a great deal of time to spelling each day. How is it possible that we can spend so much time on spelling and still not get the results we want?
Well, after the first lesson, honest to goodness, I was blown away by the results. My son did a fantastic job on the dictation part for that first lesson, getting all but three words correct. I was literally shocked to the see the improvement he had made in just one week. Amaaaazing! And what’s more, I did not have to prepare for any of the lessons.
No preparation + Fantastic results = One ecstatically happy mama!
Because each passage is different, my son might have more difficulty with one passage than with another but we’ve never had so much success in an any other spelling program. My son has also never enjoyed a spelling program as much as he has enjoyed this one.
This isn’t necessarily a negative thing but I do have a concern. I wonder if children need spelling rules as back-up knowledge whenever their visual memory fails them. When I come across a word that I cannot remember how to spell I will say those silly little spelling rhymes like, “I before E except after C or when sounding like A as in neighbor or weigh.” I know there are exceptions to that rule but I feel like kids should know these rules so that they can fall back on them when in doubt.
My Son’s Thoughts on Spelling You See
The cover of the Spelling You See: Wild Tales (Level C) book features an elephant in somewhat babyish proportions. My son did not like the cover of the book, saying that it looked like something for his baby sister. Honestly, I had to agree that it really wasn’t very age appropriate for a boy in the 3rd grade.
I usually wouldn’t make a very big deal about this, but for children who are maybe a little behind their peers in spelling, it is crucial that we don’t discourage them or make them feel dumb. I feel that the other book covers in the Spelling You See series are all actually more intellectual looking for a 3rd grade student than the Level C book is.
Most of the passages in Wild Tales (Level C) are about animals but the passages in the first few lessons are nursery rhymes. Many of the rhymes like “I’m a Little Teapot” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” made my son feel like he was doing baby work. Again, I had to agree that these passages were not very age appropriate. My toddler can sing and do the hand motions to “I’m a little Teapot” so naturally my son was somewhat offended by that passage being in his spelling workbook.
That said, my son grabs his Spelling You See workbook first among all the subjects for the day. He enjoys the activities. After we got over the somewhat babyish graphics and nursery rhymes he began to enjoy the lessons.
One Last Note
This company is very generous. By mistake we were sent Listen and Write (Level A) when in fact we were supposed to receive Wild Tales (Level C). The Demme Learning company allowed us to keep Level A anyway and I’m thrilled to be able to use it with my daughter when she’s of age. Thank you Spelling You See!
Would you like to try this product out before you buy it? You can! Just print out the 16 page sample lesson.