How It Works for Us: Sequential Spelling

08 Dec

We’re now a quarter of the way through Sequential Spelling level 1. Spelling is done daily, and takes around 20-30 minutes. I’m not actually sure as I don’t time our lessons or set time limits.

Sequential Spelling is a phonetic approach whereby the child learns to recognise spelling patterns. The child doesn’t memorise random words, or words with a theme (animal names, foods, colours, etc)  In this way, the student doesn’t need to learn to spell every word in the English language- just a few for each pattern. Sequential Spelling does not take a workbook approach; the child learns spelling by spelling words-  on paper and out loud.

An example of a few words from lesson #29

  1. spatter
  2. platter
  3. splatter

Lesson #30

  1. spatters
  2. platters
  3. splatters

Lesson #31

  1. spattered
  2. splattered
  3. mattered

But before all of that, the child would have learned “spat” and “mat,” and the progression to “spattered” and “mattered” would be a natural progression.

The daily lists are 25 words long. You can eliminate a few of these words, or replace them with words that follow the same pattern, if you wish. I usually omit 2-4 words each day, but occasionally we do them all, if I feel he needs the practice.

This is such an easy-to-use programme. It’s non-consumable, inexpensive and it requires no prep work and no space-consuming, fiddly manipluatives; each level is one slim volume. To make it even more svelte, it’s available as a Kindle download, which is how I’ll probably purchase level 2 as it’s difficult to get hold of here in the UK. You don’t need a Kindle to take advantage of this; the Kindle for PC software (UK here) is available to download for free from Amazon. This software enables you to bookmark pages, highlight words, and do other nifty things.

The only other supplies you need for this programme are: a pencil and paper for the child (you don’t need their response book) and a dry erase board with markers.

There are no grade levels to this programme; you begin with level 1 no matter what grade your children are in. This means that if you’re just starting out in homeschooling, or are new to Sequential Spelling, you can teach spelling to all your children in one session per day.

If you’re following the Charlotte Mason method, this programme fits well with her philosophy of learning to spell through writing and not drill. However, children do see words misspelled.

But this is one of the things that I love about the programme: kids learn that it’s ok to make mistakes. So many children are reluctant writers because they “don’t know how to spell it” and they’re so afraid of making a mistake. With SS, you have to make mistakes. And then you correct those mistakes. The programme forces the child to try, and if they get it wrong, hey, that’s ok; we’ll fix it. You’ll probably get it right next time, and if not, we’ll fix it again.

Sometimes I find that Esa needs extra practice with certain words or patterns. I keep a small sheet of paper tucked inside the SS text and write any words down that I feel he needs extra work on. After our lesson, he comes up to the dry erase board and I give him two “bonus words” from the list to write on the board. He really enjoys this and it gives him the extra practice he needs without overloading him with pencil and paper writing.

Who this programme may not be for: children with serious pencil-phobias and those needing a game-like approach for spelling (and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that…we need a “fun” approach to certain things, such as Latin). My son likes to write, he doesn’t grumble (too much) when we do spelling, so SS works for us.  SS does not use games, manipulatives, or songs; it does not entertain. It’s simple, but requires the student to work hard. I imagine the programme could be adapted. A moveable alphabet could possibly replace the pencil for some of the words. However, the act of writing the words helps commit the words to memory far better.

Just to let you know- I’ve not been asked to do this review, nor am I benefiting from it in any way. I just like to review stuff.

1 Comment

Posted by on December 8, 2010 in How It Works for Us, Second Grade, Spelling


Tags: , , , ,

One response to “How It Works for Us: Sequential Spelling

  1. Neo

    December 9, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Sounds like a very effective programme!


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