Our favorite spelling program!
If you've been homeschooling for any length of time you've probably heard about All About Spelling. It's a very popular program. It has earned its popularity - it's a fabulous spelling program!
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When TJ was ready to start spelling (her reading skills were progressing well at that point) we started with a workbook-based program. It was alright. Nothing spectacular but it seemed to be getting the job done. Then I had the chance to try All About Spelling through my work with the Schoolhouse Review Crew. When we opened that package and discovered all the goodies inside we chucked that spelling workbook really fast!
We started with level 1 and haven't looked at another spelling program since. Now we're in level 6 and nearing the end of our journey with All About Spelling. We have one level left to complete, which we'll be doing next year - TJ's 5th-grade year.
A Peek at Level 6
All About Spelling Level 6 shares many of the same components of previous levels.
Each lesson includes:
- Review section
- New Teaching
- Word Cards: Spell on Paper
- Reinforcement with dictation
- Writing Station
While it shares the same basic layout and format you'll find that words, writing choices, and dictation sentences are progressively harder with each level. I love the addition of a new spelling strategy - the "Tricky Words List". Students are encouraged to make their own list of trouble words to keep and practice. It's a nice step towards independence.
Level 6 in Action
Let's take a peek at a week of spelling with level 6 in our homeschool! Up to this point we've done 1 1/2 to 2 levels a year (TJ is now in 4th grade and working through level 6) so this year I decided to slow things down and focus on one level, saving the last level for 5th grade. I'm very glad I made that choice as this book is harder than the others have been. (Can I just say that I love how the books are divided by 'level' and not 'grade'? Students can progress at their own pace without concern that they are behind.)
Since we're only covering one book this year (30 steps in level 6) I decided we'd do one step a week, spreading it out over three days. This is how that looks for us:
- Monday: We review cards behind the "review" tabs in our spelling box ("mastered" cards are also reviewed periodically) and read through the specified word banks. Then I dictate 2 sentences from the dictation section and, depending on other writing assignments that day, dictate one or two words from the writing section and have TJ write a sentence.
- Wednesday: This is our 'new teaching' day. We go over new spelling rules, using letter tiles and cards. We go over the new words for the week and TJ thinks about spelling strategies for each word. It's all laid out in the teacher's manual so it's very easy to see what needs to be covered. We finish the lesson by doing two more dictation sentences.
- Friday: Our last day is test day. I dictate the new spelling words to TJ and she write them out. If she misses any I have her rewrite them a few times each, spelling or 'pronouncing for spelling' as she writes them. We finish out with another sentence or two from dictation.
So, in about one hour a week we are making steady progress through this level. The tricky words list is a great addition to this level and something that is coming in handy for us.
Next year we'll be completing Level 7 so I've been thinking about what we need to do after that level. (Note: I don't currently own Level 7 so thoughts at this point are subject to change!). At this point, I believe we'll be done with spelling and don't feel the need to reinforce with another program. What we'll do:
- Keep a "Tricky Words List" for TJ to periodically review
- Vocabulary study with Latin and literature discussion
If we weren't studying Latin I would probably add a vocabulary program but, between Latin and literature discussions, I don't think we'll need to add anything else. (That is also subject to change!)
Do you use All About Spelling? What's your favorite part of the program?