Tag Archive | spelling curriculum

Spelling: Does it Matter?

With all of the subjects that need to be covered when you are homeschooling maybe you are wondering if spelling really matters. Well, if you don’t know how to spell correctly, things could turn out different from what the writer intended. For instance, look at this sign. According to this, it pays to be towed. ­čÖé


I believe spelling is intended to do the following:

  • clearly communicate~ (Do you mean their, they’re or there?)
  • provide a standard for our language~ Things get mixed up quickly if words are not spelled correctly. For example: I was reading a book or I was reeding a book.
  • demonstrate you are an educated person~ I once saw a billboard that said “_____’ s Toeing Service” I wasn’t inclined to have my car towed by that company due to how their misspelling of the word made me wonder if they knew what they were doing. I know that sounds harsh, but that was my thought.

So, here are some recommendations for spelling curriculums I have reviewed this past summer. Here are my top three picks:

  • All About Spelling While this is teacher-intensive at first, it is a terrific program and has been proven to work. It uses the Orton-Gillingham method of phonics and reading. If you have a child that is a kinesthetic learner it would be a great program since letter tiles are used. The whiteboard is also utilized for students who do not like to use paper and pencil.
  • ┬áSpelling Workout focuses on phonetic patterns with vocabulary being introduced at higher grade levels. It has crossword puzzles to reinforce skills as well as a short editing exercise to incorporate spelling and grammar. I like the idea of incorporating other disciplines of language into related subjects.
  • Sequential Spelling Patterns of words are studied instead of lists of unrelated words. (tall, fall, ball, taller, tallest etc.) This also uses the Orton- Gillingham method.


One concern that I hear voiced by home school moms is the issue of spelling. How do you help a poor speller become a better speller? I have read many articles about this and the general consensus is that you are either a natural speller or you aren’t. It’s similar to a person who has a natural tendency toward math or science. This doesn’t mean that you give up and don’t do anything about it. There are methods that will help them improve.

First, be certain they know the sounds each letter makes. Does your student “hear” the difference between the vowels? The short /e/ and /i/ sound similar so be sure and provide a great deal of practice before moving forward. Also teach a simple rule that each syllable must have a vowel.

Secondly, teach the phonics rules and patterns that make the sounds. Write lots of words that are examples of that rule and have your child copy the words while saying each letter out loud when writing it. For example: /a/  as in cat, bat, rat, tack, flat, etc. Review and quiz before moving on to the next spelling rule.

Third, some words do not follow a set of rules and are easier if memorized. There are 220 words and 95 nouns used in 50-70 percent of┬áour everyday reading and are known as Dolch sight words. Have your speller practice these each day- beginning with 5 words and then adding 5 more the next day if s/he is ready. Have your student do 10-20 words a week, depending upon their ability.┬áDon’t rush the process as it is like anything else that is being learned; it takes time. Here is a link for the Dolch words with flashcards that you can print. click here. Once your student has finished one list, move on to the next until they have mastered reading and spelling them.

Lastly, practice, practice, practice! We retain 90% or higher when we say aloud what we are learning. So, spelling words out loud while writing each of them, having spelling bees (competitions), or jumping rope while spelling are all great ways to reinforce what is being learned. Here are some games to make and play as well.

Bingo Games


Summer Spelling Pages

Looking for a curriculum or want some help in choosing one? Happy with your spelling program, but are looking for a supplement? Here is a list and a review of products from The Old Schoolhouse magazine. I have also added some choices to the list. This is by no means an exhaustive list so if you have a curriculum you like and find beneficial to your family please post a comment about it for others to read. Thanks!