Our family has used several things through the years to help our kids in the area of spelling. Some have worked well. Others have not. My oldest son (14) was really struggling this past year with his spelling and programs that we had previously tried just didn’t seem to be doing the trick with him. He was a late reader. He has always struggled a bit with the concept of phonics. He tends to be very logical in his thinking. It has never made sense to him that a letter would be silent or one particular letter might have several sounds. He really thrives as a sight reader and that tends to roll on over into his spelling. He wants to spell things as they sound.
After trying several other programs and not feeling as though they were a good fit for him, I read about Sequential Spelling and decided that it sounded like something that might work well for him.
With Sequential Spelling the basic concept is to teach spelling by word families. This was the way that my son learned to read and so it made sense that it would also benefit him to practice his spelling in this same manner. It has been a wonderful fit for him.
To give an example of how Sequential Spelling uses word families, your child will be introduced to a word such as “at” and then they go on to learn how to spell cat, bat, sat, scat, and more. Another example is the word out and then your child learning to spell all of the words that contain the word out in them.
The lessons are really short with Sequential Spelling. For us it takes about 15 minutes a day. The lessons build on each other as you go along and they repeat words over and over again which helps your child to memorize the spelling. Each lesson may contain up to 25 words. You as the teacher simply go down the list and dictate the words on the list each day. One by one your child writes them in his/her student book or on a piece of paper. He or she immediately corrects any mistakes that they make. I really think this is another key to this program being successful. The program treats mistakes as learning opportunities. Instead of memorizing words to take a spelling test, each day is treated as a test where mistakes are immediately addressed and changed by your student.
Sequential Spelling offers 7 levels in their program. Each of the 7 levels include 180 daily tests of 25 words for a total of over 25,000 words! With Sequential Spelling you need to purchase the main book as well as a Student Response book. The student response book is not completely necessary as you could just use a binder of paper in place of it but we have found it nice to have the student book on hand. The average individual price for each volume runs anywhere from 17-20$ and some places throw in the student books for free.
You can find the scope and sequence for the program, HERE.
In a world where most people these days are dependent upon spell check it sometimes seems that good spelling is quickly becoming a lost art. I long for my children to be good spellers and I am thrilled to have found a program that is working well for my spelling challenged child.
Jennifer is mom to 6 children, 2 boys and 4 girls, ages 14 down to 5. The Unsell family is in their 10th year of homeschooling. You can find their family blog at Adventures in Unsell Land.