kitchen table math, the sequel: WTM Forum on spelling programs

Sunday, July 5, 2009

WTM Forum on spelling programs

They like Megawords (Nick's Mama recommends!), Sequential Spelling,* All About Spelling (Orton Gillingham approach) and Apples and Pears.

department of oldies but goodies (you may need to hit refresh a couple of times)

On being your child's frontal lobes 5-3-2005
Great Moments in World History 5.14.2005
How to Spell 6-14-2005
How to Spell, part 2: Spelling Inquiry 6-14-2005
Megawords saves a reader? 6-14-2005

Speaking of Megawords, C. is finishing Book 6 this summer.

When he started Book 1, C's spelling was psychotic. That was the word that used to pop into my head whenever I caught sight of his spelling: 'psychotic.'

Today he can spell.

He can also pronounce unfamiliar words phonetically. A couple of days ago a copy of the Barron's guide to colleges arrived, and C. started reading the Most Competitive list out loud. He was getting towards the end of the B's when he said, "bou - doin."


Pronouncing Bowdoin "bou-din" when you've never seen the word before probably doesn't sound like much, but the fact is: in 5th grade C. could not pronounce a two- or three-syllable nonsense word phonetically. A single-syllable nonsense word: yes. Two syllables: no.

He was two years above grade level in reading, and suddenly, at the beginning of 5th grade, he stopped reading. We didn't know why and neither did he. He just seemed to lose interest.

Not long after he started the Megawords program, he began reading again and hasn't stopped since. I have to think that wasn't a coincidence.

Phonics Page
Don Potter's Education Page

* Ken's post on spelling, with comments about various programs including Sequential Spelling


le radical galoisien said...

Haha I still pronounce it "bow-dwin" even though I live in Maine ...

Crimson Wife said...

I like the "Words Their Way" book by Marcia Invernizzi et al. I like how the lists are not just a bunch of random words but are organized logically. For example, words with an unaccented final syllable ending in -r (similar, motor, farmer, etc). I also like how it's a single ungraded, non-consumable book that's relatively inexpensive (way cheaper than "Spelling Power").

Catherine Johnson said...

I spoke too soon.


C. is taking the Schonell spelling test today.

He doesn't know it yet.

Catherine Johnson said...

radical - love it!

Catherine Johnson said...

Crimson - thanks!

Catherine Johnson said...

My school uses Words Their Way.

Of course, my school doesn't refer to what they're doing as 'spelling.'


Here in Irvington, 4th and 5th graders engage in word study.

Catherine Johnson said...

I swear to God our administrators use these terms just to mystify the school board.

Anonymous said...

And to feel more erudite than parents.

Catherine Johnson said...

speaking of people feeling more erudite:

does anyone know what a "tight" spiral would be??

Crimson Wife said...

Well, the final stage in the WTW program does get into studying word derivations. So that's where the "word study" part would come in. My DD is in the stage before that one, however, so for right now it's simply spelling.

ChemProf said...

I think a tight spiral is one that comes back to the same topic quickly, but don't quote me!

le radical galoisien said...

Ah, spirals. There's a joke in here somewhere about educational induction and changing educational flux... but I won't push it.

Would would derivations be about attaching derivational morphemes or do they teach etymology in the final stage?

I do sometimes wonder about introducing linguistics topics early. I remember when I first went into it I did wonder often, "so why didn't I learn this in elementary school?" Things like what exactly is a consonant, what exactly is a vowel, or a liquid, and what's the exact difference between [p] and [k] and [s]. I do think an emphasis on sound is helpful when you're trying to teach young children *foreign* languages in the classroom. Take French for example -- if you think English spelling is hard, wait till you see the homophony of French and I know French adults who regularly misspell basic conjugations because they all sound the same.

Catherine Johnson said...


I can't rouse the old site.

What is that likely to mean?

Needless to say, I've not backed up any of it...

mack said...

This is fascinating.
I’d been taught that left-aligned labels are preferred, to support the prototypical F-shaped eye-tracking heatmap of web browsing. The idea is that it supports easy vertical scanning.
online education