A book that rescues bad spellers like me

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Last year, I had the opportunity to review an amazing reading tool by See-N-Read®.  This year I was able to review another product in the See-N-Read® family of products:

The 40-page, See-N-Spell™ booklet.It is SOOO cool!

It is designed to be easy to use and is broken down into three alphabetized categories:

  1. Most Commonly Used Vocabulary Words
  2. Commonly Misspelled Words
  3. My Special Interest Words

Hunter simply flips to the page showing the first letter (a,b,c, etc.) of the word, then scans down the page to find the word he is looking for.  Then he can copy the correct spelling right into his work.

With the help of the See-N-Spell™ booklet, Hunter has been able to use a wider variety of words in his sentences.  We use it often at Spelling time when he needs to write sentences that include his spelling list.  I really like the fact that the book includes homophones on the pages.  Those tricky words that sound the same but are spelled so differently, are paired with small definitions so that Hunter can chose the one that fits best into his sentence.

While the See~n~Spell Booklet contains many commonly used words, it also leaves room for you to write in it.  Yes, they want you to WRITE in your books!  There is a space for you to write down words that YOU or your child constantly struggle with…the My Special Interest Words, section. I will let you in on a secret, I use it too…  I am a chronic misspeller (is that a real word?) of the word receive, you just never know it because spell check saves my bacon….  I used the book today when I couldn’t remember if independence finished with –dence, or –dance.

Each See-N-Spell™ bookletalso comes with a See-N-Read® reading tool.

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We love the See~n~Read.  We have been using it since last year, and it is such a help when we are reading small print or things from research books.  It really helps Hunter stay focused.

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The See~n~Spell Booklet retails for $9.99, a fair price for the ability to have over 300 words at your fingertips.  It was created for use with those in grade 4 – Adult, and in our home, that has proven very true.  Nearly everyday you hear… “Mommmmm!, where is that spell book thing……???”  as someone scrambles to spell something correctly.

Please make sure you visit the See~n~Read website to find out more about their reading tools

To read what other Crew Members are saying about this product, visit The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Homeschool Crew Blog.

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making spelling stick

Ok ………  background….. the how we got here is important… so if you are a regular reader, bear with me………….

Near the end of last year we started using some of the ideas from Dianne Craft and her workshops on how to teach the right brained learner.

Sounds all official doesn’t it?  What in the world is a right brained learner you may ask…. It sounds so, technical, and educated to call your child a right brained learner.  But in reality, how do I know what kind of learner my child is?…..what does it look like…?

Well, up until last year it looked like a mom (me), pulling out her hair trying to get a 3rd grader to read, understand and “see” his phonics teams inside words, wondering why he couldn’t spell….. or remember his times tables, even if his very life depended on it, and the 3rd grader crying wondering why reading was so hard.  It looked like a desperate mother spending hours upon hours researching curriculum, buying countless versions of spelling texts, trying all manner of phonics programs, workbooks, flashcards, standing on my head, crying, cajoling, desperately begging and pleading…… and still….. nothing was working.  We would review, and a week later it was like someone pulled the plug that held things in his brain and it all drained out of him like bath water……. poof. gone.

After nearly giving up and just thinking that he may never read, pouring my heart out to God to help me know how to help him…..  I sat down to listen to an online webinar conference for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, and I stumbled onto Dianne Craft. ( you can order her Spring 2011 workshop here)

It was tears, people, tears pouring down my face, as I listened and realized she was talking about my child.  He wandered in and said, “Hey! is she talking about me? That is the way that I think.”  Relief, joy, and Praise went up to God that he had given me a way to help Hunter read!

So that is the back story….. but what does it look like every day?  How do you integrate new ways of learning into the everyday basics, like reading and spelling.

I took some pictures today to help you see what cards I make to help him with spelling.

012       001002       003004       006007       008009       010011

 

While these might look strange to a kid who learns well from text and work books….   It is super glue for those who have trouble. 

We start with a list of words.  From a book or what we are reading or writing.  It really doesn’t matter where they come from they just need to be words they have trouble spelling.  Then you take the parts they did write correctly and put them in black ink(or some other consistent color).  You will color and draw on the letters they struggle with.

Little was always spelled littl and no amount of drills on silent E made it stick.  So we added a mouse to the E and say that the letter is being very quiet….  quiet as a mouse.  Repeated drilling ( 5 times a day, for 5 days, spelling the word forward and backward, and then talking about the colors and pictures we saw…) locks words away into long term memory for these kids, giving them a picture to reference as they spell in the future.

Some of our stories that go with the above pictured words, go like this:

Sense: We were working on it as a homophone…. so we said that you need to use your brain for this kind of sense.  Using this sense will make you smart.  so we added brains and a graduation cap to the word.

Scent:  It has a little word in it, so we underlined it.  There are good scents and bad… hence the flower and the stinky pits.  He may laugh every time I ask him to spell this word… but he always remembers those pits…. and will spell it right!

People:  This was a word from Dianne’s workshop.  She said the world needed to be big to hold all the people.

galaxy:  A vocabulary word from science.  We just drew the milky way right on the word. 

to:  Again a homophone word.  We tell the story that Jesus died on the cross and went to the tomb.  ( but he didn’t stay!) this helps us to remember this word to is a directional to. not the also too or the number two.

Funny:  He kept leaving off the second N, so I asked him what he thought was funny.  He said that poop was funny.  So I drew a pile of poo on the second N. It works for him and he remembers the word.

Said:  People say things when they talk, so we made a man out of our I and he is talking.  The A was listening to the I and he said…. hey hey what do you say?

One:  He always wanted to spell it won.  So we drew a big red 1 on the page.

Two: We have two eyes, two ears, two hands, two feet….

Blue: He left off the E so color it blue to match the word!

So I hope you are beginning to see how with a little time, and creativity (I am not an artist as you can see!) you can help spelling words stick like glue.

Involve your child in the making of the cards, the more they participate in the story the better the words are going to hold for them.  These words will transfer over into better read words because they are going to recognize them with much more speed.

 

Hope this helped you if you have a struggling reader or speller,

name gif

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Spelling struggles

It really isn’t a secret, I have shared with you for awhile now that Hunter struggles with spelling. 
The frustrating thing for me has been that the words he struggles with are what one would think were “easy” words.  No other child of mine has struggled this way with words. 
At the risk of sounding like a commercial for Dianne Craft, I will again mention how much her presentation at the Schoolhouse Expo was so revealing for us.  It was like having a window into how Hunter learns!  You can read about that ah-ha moment here.  I really can’t wait to hear her speak again this month!  somewhere between the 16th-20th!
I wish I could invite you to listen in on what she has to say live, but the live tickets are all sold out.  I guess I could invite you to hear it live…..  you will just have to come over here to my house.  Let me know if you are coming so I can set up the spare room for you!
Man….  I am easily distracted!  Back to the SPELLING part of the program!
Anyway…. today I decided to use the list of Dolch sight words to see which words Hunter was having the most trouble with.  I read out the Pre-Primer and Primer list of words to him, and made his spelling list only from the words that he has misspelled. 
His list for the next week will be the following words:
  • bluy (blue)
  • cum (come)
  • funy (funny)
  • littl (little)
  • won (one)
  • sed (said)
  • too (to)
  • tooo (two)
My next job is to take the words and turn them into flashcards.  I will use black for the letters that he has already placed in the word, and we will use a color to highlight the letters that are missed or incorrect.
When I get the cards drawn up I promise I will post some pictures of them for you.  Along with the stories we will make up to help them stick in his brain.  We will take pictures of these words, and spell them forwards and backwards.  ( the whole spelling backwards thing is really amazing to me…. because I can’t do it.. AT. ALL.! )
This technique has been such a revelation to me that I really want everyone who has a struggling speller and reader to know about it!!  I really wish you could join the Expo and hear Dianne speak!  Maybe you could get an Expo To Go ticket and listen to her on the MP3′s that will be out in June?  I know I am ready to have the MP3 of her last talk… I know I have forgotten some key things she mentioned and it will be real nice to hear it again.  I think the price of 20 bucks is a steal to get some information that could seriously impact your child’s learning.
Ok… I need to get out my markers and make these flash cards for Hunter.
I will be back to show them to you when they are done !!
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