You may remember that last year we were blessed to be able to review Spelling You See from Demme Learning, the great folks that developed Math U See. If you missed it, you can catch that review here.
This year, we got to review Spelling You See: Ancient Achievements. This is Level F, which arrived at our house when Eli had only 2 lessons left in Level E. Perfect timing!
Ancient Achievements is set up just like the earlier levels we were used to. Each day for a week, we work on the same passage. The passages are really interesting. In fact, when I opened the box, Eli grabbed the first book and read through all the passages!
Each day, Eli reads me the passage, then underlines the letter chunks assigned in that lesson. We call this part "doing chunking." Each Spelling You See level comes with a set of erasable colored pencils to do chunking with, but my boys prefer to use what they call "chunking pens" instead--the 4 color pens that I use for our record keeping. Another option suggested in the Instructor's Handbook is to use different colored highlighters. This exercise helps students see how various sounds are spelled within a word.
After chunking, which helps them see how words are spelled, they copy the passage. For reluctant writers, this part can be timed, and the student can stop after 10 minutes. We haven't had a problem with this, but I really like that the program gives us "permission" to keep it short and enjoyable.
On days 4 and 5, the student receives dictation instead of copying directly from the text. Eli is using one of his art works, paper clipped to the left page, to prevent him from seeing the text as I read it aloud and he copies it, one sentence at a time.
That's it! There is no boring list of random words for the kids to write 3 times each. There is no making your list words into inane sentences. The "test" on Friday is simply the dictation passage.
I love the way Spelling You See combines spelling with capitalization, punctuation, and learning interesting things. The Ancient Achievements theme was a bonus for us, since we've been doing a chronological study of world history the last 2 years, and the passages are all fascinating tidbits that go along with that.
We received the Instructor's Handbook, which is small but mighty, and sells for $14. I really appreciate Spelling You See keeping the size small and keeping the cost reasonable! In addition to lesson instructions, the manual also includes all the dictation passages, and the answer key, which has the chunking answers highlighted. The Student Pack, which contains 2 workbooks and a set of colored pencils, sells for $30. I feel this program is very economical. For $44 per year, you get a fabulous spelling program that your kids won't fight using, and it only takes about 10 minutes a day!
While we're talking about Spelling You See, I want to mention that Jack is currently working in Level C, Wild Tales, and he likes it. The format for C is a little different, in that the books are bound landscape instead of portrait, and Day 4 is a draw and write your own thing day, instead of dictation. I have been so pleased with Spelling You See that I will be putting Katie into Level A, Listen and Write, next school year, and Jack and Hannah will both be using Level D, Americana.
Spelling You See is not leveled by grade, but by ability. For more placement information, see here.
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