Review of Spelling You See: A Unique New Spelling Program
As my homeschooling style has changed from a rigid, structured concept to a more flexible, Charlotte Mason style of teaching, spelling is a subject that I have struggled with teaching. I don't like the concept of memorizing lists of words. I was very interested to see this new spelling curriculum: Spelling You See. This curriculum is from the makers of Math-U- See, a math program that we tried in our earlier homeschool years.
The books in the Spelling You See program are not grade leveled. Instead you choose the level that fits the ability of your child. (This is similar to the Math -U- See concept.) We received the Spelling You See: Wild Tales (Level C). The books are sold as physical books, but we received a PDF file to review. We also received the Instructor book as a PDF. The Instructor book sells for $14 and the Student pack sells for $30. The books are meant to be used with elementary students or as remedial work for older students, and the site has detailed information to help you choose the level that is appropriate for your child.
The style of this spelling program is very different from those drill and recite spelling word lists I've always had issue with. With Spelling You See, the child learns and practices spelling patterns in context using copywork and dictation methods. Each lesson has 5 days of work. During the week, the child will focus on certain spelling patterns, copy portions of a paragraph, and then write the paragraph from dictation.
I chose the Wild Tales, Level C for Ashlyne- 4th grade- and Rachel- 3rd grade, after taking a look at the readiness guidelines here. Wild Tales begins with nursery rhyme passages but quickly moves on to harder paragraphs, so I wanted to chose it even though I wasn't sure if Ashlyne and Rachel would consider it "too young." Rachel especially has problems with spelling and dictation, and I knew she probably couldn't handle the next level up.
In Day 1 of Wild Tales, the girls and I would read a passage together. The book would usually have us clap the rhyme and read the passage out loud. Then they would introduce the "chunking" concept for the week. For example, they circled vowel chunks- like ea, ai, ou. They circled "bossy r" chunks- like ir, or, ur. They circled the "crazy y guy" at the end of words like baby, lady, and fly. Then they would copy a portion of the passage.
Day 2, we would read, circle, and copy another portion. Day 3, read, circle and copy, Day 4 was a "free day." After the reading and circling, they could write the passage, write something to go along with the passage, or draw a picture.
Day 5 after reading and circling, they would write the passage from dictation. Then we would tally up the number of words they had correct.
There were so many many things that we really liked about this program.
First of all, the girls didn't think it was too young at all. They had no problem with the beginning being nursery rhymes, and loved doing it each day. I thought that using passages so familiar to them was a great way to introduce a new program.
I loved the way that the spelling rules were introduced in context. We were learning spelling rules for sure- chunking and special sounds. But they weren't memorizing lists of words out of context.
I also liked the way that the copywork and dictation methods fit the style of school we do normally. I use many of Charlotte Mason's methods, and copywork and dictation are two of the major learning methods that I try to included. The girls were very familiar with the methods, so they enjoyed using them in the context of spelling.
Another very Charlotte Mason idea used in this program is the concept of short lessons. Each day's work didn't take long at all. The girls weren't writing the whole passage- except for the last day. And the circling and copying didn't take long. Because of this it became something they enjoyed instead of a chore. Most of the time they asked to do spelling before we did other school work, and often they wanted to keep on and do more days at a time.
This has definitely been a good fit for us. I plan to keep on using Wild Tales with the girls. We are through with the nursery rhymes at the beginning now and are into passages about animals. The girls enjoy doing each day and are looking forward to continuing. Right now the program goes up through Level E with each level having a different theme (as Wild Tales has an animal theme). I believe that the publishers are releasing additional levels in the future.
The product: Spelling You See (Wild Tales Level)
The target age: Elementary students or remedial older students
The cost: Instructor's Handbook: $14; Student Pack: $30
Connect with Spelling You See: