Friday, November 9, 2012

Review: The Phonetic Zoo Spelling Program



I wanted to write a quick review on the Spelling curriculum I have been using this year with my third grader.  I first learned about the Institute for Excellence in Spelling's program while watching some of Andrew Pudewa's Writing Seminars.  Which, side note, the man is a genius...GENIUS!! 

"Spelling is the correct retrieval of sequentially stored, virtually random bits of information" --Andrew Pudewa

You can see his entire explanation on spelling here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-L6yWt6ZG4.  My simple break down was you can only receive a word in it's entirety like when you see a word..like  CAT..you get CAT.  But when you have to spell it, you need to know C...A...T, it must be sequential.  So then the best way to learn to spell a word is to hear it spelled..."C"..."A"..."T".  Because then your brain can receive the information in sequential order and only in that order.  I was sold!  
But I am not sharing this product with you because I bought the concept, but because I have tried it and really love it.  The child uses the product on their own, my daughter loves this (which may be a testament to how awful of a teacher I am).  They grade their own words, so each time they take a test they then check it by hearing all of the words spelled correctly.  Repetition. Repetition.  They move from one lesson to the next only when they spell all of the words correctly (15/lesson) two times in a row.
I must admit some of the harder rules like ie/ei drove my daughter crazy spending 3 weeks taking the same spelling test each day, but when she got it...she got it!  We just completed the 1st cd (of 4) and I can already notice a huge improvement in her spelling on other assignments.  I love that she does this by herself, I think she loves it too...as much as a child can love spelling.
I would, on an aside, say that my daughter is an older third grader because of her birthday and that we spent an extended time in Saxon Phonics 2 which deeply exhausts the skill of coding, so this may be attributing to my girl's achievement in spelling or maybe it is having a genius mom?..don't know?
That's just my two cents.  Any other great spelling curriculum out there?  Any horrible ones?

Love and Butter,

Mishelle
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