As a Math-U-See family, we jumped at the chance to try out the new sister product from Demme Learning – Spelling You See. We are definitely glad that we did.
Spelling You See is the new, just-released product from Demme Learning, the publishers of the popular Math-U-See math program. Designed to build up from the beginning reader/speller to advanced spellers, the Spelling You See program is a delight to use.Spelling You See offers five levels in their Spelling You See series labeled A through E. If you are curious where your child might begin in the series, you can view their placement guidelines on their website. True to Demme Learning form, grade levels are not used, which is something we like. Students are placed appropriate to their knowledge level and move at their pace through the book levels.
For our review, we received American Spirit, Book E to use, which is the last book in the series at this time. We received erasable colored pencils, the teacher’s manual, and the student workbooks 1 and 2 for our use and review. We chose to use American Spirit, Book E with our 3rd grader who is an advanced reader/speller.
The lessons are set up in small, manageable lessons with 4 lessons per week. There is reading, “chunking,” copy work and dictation as a part of the lesson. Each day there is a passage for the student and the instructor to read together and then an assignment to be completed such as chunking the vowels and copy work or chunking the constants in the passage and dictation. The teacher’s manual has the passages easily accessible to allow the teacher to read the passage to the student for dictation. Additionally, the answers to the assignments are supplied in the teacher’s manual. At the bottom of the copy work and dictation pages, the number of corrected words is marked after each assignment so that the student can see how they are improving in the assignment. There is an emphasis on what they got right, not what they got wrong, which was very positive.
Spelling You See’s approach to spelling is different than a traditional spelling program. There are no word lists, writing words multiple times, or spelling tests. Students do not spend time memorizing spelling word rules and lists. The Spelling You See approach to spelling includes daily activities in short segments that integrate copywork, reading, speaking and dictation. Correct spelling of words becomes engrained in the long-term visual memory of the student and begins to be used naturally by the student in everyday writing. Spelling You See makes spelling fun and engaging while sneaking in the long-term spelling mastery needed.
The American Spirit Book E has 36 lessons each separated into 5 parts built around three primary activities: chunking, copywork, and dictation. Now copywork and dictation were already present in our homeschool and something we were familiar with; however, chunking was a new word for us. The lessons include nonfiction passages from American History. The lessons instruct the child to read the passage with the instructor, paying particular attention to the words, looking at them while reading them together. Then chunking of irregular letter patterns. My daughter enjoyed picking different colors each day to chunk with. Next the student does copywork by copying the passage, paying attention to the details of the passage. Then my daughter and I would go over the passage together and tally up all the words she got right after making any correction necessary. By focusing on the number of correctly spelled words, not the incorrectly spelled ones, my daughter was more confident and receptive to repeating the assignment the next day.
At first glance, I thought the program seemed too easy to really be teaching spelling. Since my daughter is naturally a good speller, I wasn’t sure if it would be teaching her anything. I thought she might find reading and copying the same passage each day would bore her but she seemed to be fine with it and said she liked it.
Overall, we found Spelling You See a good program. To be honest, I thought it was great to integrate spelling with copywork and dictation. The passages were interesting and the assignment seemed effective. My daughter was able to work independently (I obviously proofed, helped where needed, and read for dictation but otherwise I could leave her to it.) However, she LOVES spelling and likes spelling tests (I think because she does well on them and likes to see 100 percent written at the top of her page with a big smiley face) so she isn’t sold on the program but I intend for us to stick with it through the entire book and then see how she’s doing. I think the theories make sense and will benefit my daughter in the long term.
You can purchase your own set of Spelling You See workbooks through Demme Learning’s website.
Spelling You See: American Spirit (Book E)
Instructor’s Handbook $14
Student Pack $30
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