Spelling comes easy for some children while others struggle to decipher one sound from another. For some they have to spend tedious hours memorizing word after word hoping to remember a few. For most students, spelling class is done the same way it has been done for decades. Write the words ten times each. Use them in exercises in the spelling book which are the same old exercises from decades ago like fill in the blank, unscramble, word searches, etc. Then you do definitions and have a test on Friday. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. I did spelling that way, and I always made A’s. It worked for me, but there are plenty of children that it doesn’t work for at all. What do you do for them? Many methods have been developed in recent years working from different angles. Now there is All About Spelling. It is based on the Orton-Gillingham methodology. It is a multi-sensory method.

In the past, there wasn’t much choice, and children who were lousy spellers became adults who were lousy spellers. Computers and spell checkers became their friend in the 1990’s. However, that really isn’t the answer as many have discovered when they turned in a crucial report to an employer or client only to find the spell checker didn’t catch that word like “there” which is spelled correctly, but the word needed was “their”. Educational researchers began to study modalities or learning styles to develop better curriculums. Teachers began to write lesson plans based on how many different ways they could present a concept through verbal activities, auditory activities, visual activities, and kinesthetic or tactile activities. For awhile, spelling was seemingly ignored, or it was somehow considered not possible to do from a learning styles perspective. Now that has changed. Several programs have come out in recent years dealing with spelling skills using different methods including modalities. All About Spelling is one of the best and uses various methods to encourage engaging the spelling words from many different learning styles and encourages repetition to develop mastery.

The lessons are very well planned for the teacher. Now that they are cutting up the tiles that you use for the lessons, set up is a snap, too. Each lesson provides you with a set of words. You first practice saying the words out loud in syllables. Tokens and color coded letter tiles are also used in the lessons as you pronounce the syllables to reinforce the separate sounds in the word kinesthetically. Phonograms are taught using the color-coded letter tiles. The first lessons in level 1 are 2 syllable words like pig, you pronounce the syllables as “puh-ig”, then pig. These words at this level use two tokens with the tokens placed side by side on a table or magnetic board. Each time the syllables are said a token is pulled down. The teacher begins by reviewing the words for the student pulling the tokens as the syllables are spoken. Then the student repeats the activity also pulling a token down for each syllable. This repetition of the same steps provides auditory, visual, and kinesthetic styles as the teacher and then the student complete the activity. The activity is repeated several times until the student can successfully master the activity. Once they master words, they can be put away in a review card file, but the words are reviewed periodically. In this way, the students learn to read and spell at the same time. The authors also suggest additional activities for the tactile learning style that is a key part of this method. Air writing, writing words in sand, writing in puff paint, etc. are additional ways to review these words. The students learn to spell the words by the repetition of making the sounds. Other activities involve spelling the words out using magnetic tiles after the syllable activity is mastered. Yes, the method seems complex, but each lesson is written in simple, but detailed instructions. They are very easy to follow, and the student does grasp the spelling. In addition, they learn to sound out unknown, but similar words which lead them to correctly spelling additional words, as well.

The All About Spelling program is unique, but it uses sound principals. Students with many different abilities and levels can successfully learn to read and spell using this system. Level 1 and 2 with all materials costs $29.95 each, and Level 3 and 4 with materials costs $39.95. Go to www.all-about-spelling.com.

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