"I like the fact that spelling time isn't just a workbook with a bunch of words I have to memorize. I'd rather learn HOW to spell than WHAT to spell." (Sweetie Pea, fifth grade)
Exactly, my dear girl! Exactly!
At only ten-years-old, my daughter has GOT IT! In just two short sentences, she has masterfully worded the very ESSENCE of what spelling time should be about...learning HOW to spell. (This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.*)
Unfortunately, all too often, spelling programs encourage children to master a random set of words that may or may not be relevant to him/her...or to ANYONE. They teach a child WHAT to spell. And while he/she might be able to set those prescribed words to memory and be able to parrot them back with perfection, he/she is unable to spell other, unfamiliar words with the same accuracy.
Why? Because memorizing one word only gives a child the ability to spell ONE WORD. I'd rather focus on teaching my child the RULES of spelling in order that he/she might use those rules in order to spell a limitless amount of words.
Two years ago, when I stumbled upon All About Spelling, I exhaled.
Finally a spelling program that is designed to teach a child HOW to spell, not WHAT to spell. I thought to myself.
At the time, my Sweetie Pea was an average speller. Which, to be honest, was perfectly Okee-dokee by me. But, as she excelled in ALL other language-oriented skills, her struggle with spelling was a bit of a head scratcher.
All About Spelling seemed like a natural stepping stone towards better spelling mastery. However, taking the plunge and beginning at Level 1, was a big decision. It meant starting at ground zero when she was already in the fourth grade. But, it also meant that a great foundation could be laid and built upon in the coming years.
I'm so glad I took the leap!
She has flown through levels 1 through 3 and has shown marked improvement in both her spelling ability and her desire to learn to spell.
Now as we wind down with the last lessons of Level 4, I have the benefit of looking back over the past few months and reflecting on what has made this spelling program so successful.
What I like about All About Spelling, Level 4
...and really ALL the levels of All About Spelling. (I am currently using levels 1, 2 and 4 with three of my children.)
Each lesson uses a natural progression of learning.
Every lesson begins with a short review of previously learned material. Then, a new concept or spelling rule is introduced and practiced. As the lesson progresses, the child is encouraged to use that spelling rule to spell out a specific set of words that reinforce that rule. Then, he/she forms phrases corresponding with that rule. And finally, the child must use that rule, along with all the other rules he/she has learned thus far, to write out sentences that you, as the teacher dictate to him/her from the teacher's guide. And isn't that the goal of spelling?...to be able to use your spelling ability to correctly spell words within the context of a sentence? not just on a twenty-word test?
It's not just another worksheet.
All About Spelling is a multi-sensory approach to spelling. Level 4 is no exception. The last thing my daughter needs is another workbook to fill her days with meaningless busy work. She needs hands-on, real world spelling practice. She needs to be able to learn how sounds/phonograms fit together. She needs to be able to see how words look within the context of an entire sentence. She needs to be able to manipulate letters within the framework of writing...not a vertical list.
Children are taught how to dissect words and put them back together again.
While a child might be able to memorize the spelling of the word achieve. Without knowing the rules for adding suffixes, that same child will be unable to spell its deviations such as achieving or achievement. To the spelling list memorizer, these three words are three SEPARATE words that must be memorized SEPARATELY. But, to the All About Spelling rule follower, these three words are one and the same. They all have the same base word. And since he/she has learned the rules of adding vowel suffixes and consonant suffixes to words ending in silent e, he/she has no trouble spelling the word achieve or any of its deviations.
All About Spelling is designed for multiple-age use.
As a momma with three kids working their way through spelling perfection, it's so nice to have a set-up that will work for all of them. Each day, I bring out our tile board, call one child over to me at a time, complete the appropriate leveled lesson, and then call the next one over to tackle the next level. With the exception of the teacher's manual, the main components of All About Spelling remain the same from level to level, saving me time and energy each day.
The Nitty Gritty of All About Spelling, Level 4
- retails for $39.95
- The materials pack contains both the Teacher's Manual as well as the Student Pack.
- Only the Level 4-specific tiles are included in the pack. All other tiles must be purchased separately.
- Purchasing the Spelling Interactive Kit is essential for every All About Spelling level. But, once it has been purchased, it can be re-used for any/all levels and for multiple children.
For more thoughts on the getting started with All About Spelling, be sure to read my original review.
*I was given a copy of All About Spelling, Level 4 in exchange for a thorough review. All opinions expressed are true and completely my own. I am not responsible if your experiences vary.