We were out today, bowling with the youth league (so fun!), when my 5 year old tugged my sleeve in excitement. I quickly looked up from the baby I was entertaining to see if she had gotten a strike. I quickly realized it wasn’t even her turn. In fact, no one on her team had just bowled. I refocused my attention to the sweet little girl at my arm.
“What is it, darling?” I asked, her excitement quickly infecting me.
She pointed at the monitor hanging over a competing team’s lane. I scanned the scores and did a quick comparison. I couldn’t come up with any reason for this animated enthusiasm at my elbow.
“What are you seeing up there, love?”
“Don’t you see the word ‘press’?” She gestured to the monitor with her little hand wide and her arm stretched as far as it would go.
“Oh,” I said, a little confused. “Yes, it says ‘Press OKAY to bowl again’.” I was obviously not getting it.
“Yes, I know that.” Her exasperation with me was priceless! “But the word ‘press’ ends in a double ‘ss’.”
Ah ha! Now this slow Mommy understands. An example of one of her spelling rules was right there in the middle of the bowling alley and she knew why it ended in a double s. Do you?
I confess that I’m not really sure how on Earth I ever managed to learn to spell even moderately well. I’ve never been a fantastic speller and I’m always grateful for that little red squiggle that shows up under my flubs to help me look better than I really am. My children, though, will suffer no such troubles and here’s why:
What do you remember from grade school spelling class? I remember Monday morning pretests, writing lists of words over and over (5 times each for homework), we had to use each word in a sentence (I always tried to use two or three in one sentence, thereby minimizing the writing I had to do … “I will endeavor to persevere!”) and there were tests on Friday. When Monday rolled around, we got to do it all again, repeating any words we missed last Friday. In short, it was boring and mind-numbing. And, to be honest, I learned to spell things by how they look. I still, to this day, have to see many words to know how to spell them.
My children, though, won’t struggle like this. They will know that “will” is not spelled “wil” because there’s a rule about that. They’ve learned the rule so well that they can tell you all about it, they can see it in use all over their world, and they can apply it when they have to write. This is just one example of the rules they (and I) have learned so far. They’ve learned why ‘cat’ starts with a ‘c‘ but ‘kitten’ starts with a ‘k‘ and why ‘back‘ ends in ‘ck‘ but ‘beak‘ ends in just a ‘k‘.
Though the program doesn’t require it, I do give my kids spelling tests. Here’s the really awesome part, though. I don’t test words. I test rules. Their tests often include words we haven’t studied. For example, we might have studied these words during the week: spell, pull, kiss, miss, etc. Their test may have completely different words that follow the same rule: mess, press, dress, and I might through a word in that doesn’t work with the rule, like drip just to make sure they are paying attention. Can you guess how many they get right? If you could see my proud, beaming face, you’d know.
Here’s another thing I LOVE about All About Spelling. It’s ready to go for me every day. I don’t need to think or plan or prepare. Once you get it set up, which is much easier than some people make it out to be, you just pull out the book and start working with your children. You can break the lessons up to fit as much time as you have available, and then move on to the next thing, knowing that your child is really learning the English language!
All About Spelling isn’t just about spelling either. It has helped my new readers decode words they weren’t sure of before. If you know the spelling rules that made the book, it can’t possibly keep any secrets from you, now can it?
If you are unsure of what you’ll use to teach spelling to your children, or if you are using something that just isn’t sticking with them (you know how you practice the words over and over and then they go to write something and they misspell the word you just finished working on?) I strongly and deeply urge you to give All About Spelling a try. Order up the first set (even if your children are a bit older. There’s a lot to learn in there!) and give it a good strong try. Follow through to the end of the book and you’ll be amazed at how eager and receptive children can be to learning spelling. When lessons make sense and have purpose, it’s hard not to get enthusiastic about the topic.
Oh, and don’t forget about the giveaway going on right now. Grab your chance to win a free copy of my new Journey To Verb Village file folder game with 8 follow up sheets! Giveaway ends on October 17th!
Sandra Modersohn is a devoted wife, mother, and homeschooler. She loves great graphic design and has a passion for creating beautiful and useful printable materials for children. Little Learning Lovies where she shares her creations with the world. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest and, of course, at the Little Learning Lovies Blog and Store.
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