Need a spelling and word study program that makes sense? Need a way to teach sight words through methods other than rote memorization within the current spelling list (not as separate words added on to a pattern based list)? Want to give your reading program a boost by helping students make connections between words? The Spelling That Makes Sense word study program does ALL of that and MORE!
The most recent research in spelling has found that kids misspell based for three primary reasons: weak phonological awareness, poor visual imagery and scant knowledge of orthographic patterns. The Spelling That Makes Sense word study program teaches those three skills PLUS vocabulary and morphology (grammatical word endings, prefixes, suffixes, roots and stems). It is THE MOST comprehensive word study program available because it doesn’t focus on only one grade level, but how these skills develop over grades K-5th in order to ensure proficiency by the time students leave elementary school. While the word lists themselves make a tremendous difference in student learning, it’s the “how” of this program that is the miracle!
How is the Spelling That Makes Sense word study program different from other spelling or word study programs?
• The use of Fry's 1,000 sight words as the "pool" from which words were used. This means that teachers do not have to teach two different sets of words (spelling words and sight words).
• While some programs use a systematic approach with a few patterns, none are as comprehensive and integrated as this program targeting the 5 foundational skills needed for both reading and spelling. This is because it follows the developmental continuum of normal language acquisition; not a stage based approach where some aspects of words (language) aren't learned until much later (i.e. morphemes are learned until later grade levels, but yet they are used throughout student writing beginning in Kindergarten).
• Some programs differentiate the word lists based on student achievement. Higher performing students get more complex words, lower performing students get less complex words. However, ALL students need exposure to the same basic spelling principles (ever wonder why some gifted readers are horrible spellers?). The differentiation takes place not in the "what", but in the "how". This program gives teachers a way to identify what area of word knowledge needs remediation by looking at spelling qualitatively; not just quantitatively. In addition, it outlines which activities and strategies work best for each type or error.
• The program is based on a solid foundation of current research. It was also created by teachers for teachers who understand the constraints of what it means to be working in a school and the requirements from a district level down to the classroom. Quite simply, it lives up to its name... its logical and it just plain makes sense.
Included in the zip file are the following:
1. Grade level word lists. There are 30 units which also includes review weeks (same patterns, but new words that fit those patterns already taught) to ensure that the skills are mastered and generalized, not just memorized and forgotten. Each list has an explanation AND practice tips.
2. An explanation of ALL the rules/patterns taught in the Spelling That Makes Sense word study program; not just one grade level. This is because it is important for teachers to be able to explain any spelling rule that kids may ask you about AND for teachers to know what the spelling expectations are for each grade level (ex. should 3rd graders know when the plural /s/ should be /es/? Should 2nd graders know all of the vowel digraphs?)
3. Spelling tests aligned with each unit of study. These are not single word assessments! These are assessments that reveal student’s word knowledge based on a knowledge of each of the 5 foundational skills for decoding and encoding!
4. There is also a teacher’s companion document to assist with which words to call out/sentences to read.
5. A classroom WORD WALL list to be cut and used for whole classroom instruction. One of the great things about the program is that sight words are within the word lists themselves. This gives teachers an incredible amount of flexibility for HOW to post words on a word wall (alphabetically, by rule/pattern, by which patterns were the most difficult/most frequently missed, etc.). There are also Word Wall Banners to go along with each unit of study.
6. There is a list of more than 33 AWESOME activities for word study during the “Working With Words” instructional block. It is made even more fun by including a color based spinner. Then, students can choose which activity they want to do during that block. Some activities are whole group, some are individual and some are with a partner. These are NOT “rainbow words” or various types of word sorts. These are activities that build connections and activate learning and should take approximately 10 minutes! This ALSO includes HOW to DIFFERENTIATE instruction by pinpointing the TYPE of error the student is making and how to make improvements!
7. Parent letter to explain this approach to word study and how they can help their student at home.
8. Two types of spelling homework menus. One menu includes activities that can be done and turned in all on one page.
9. A spelling “book mark” that is a great tool for students to practice breaking words down one sound at a time and on the other side is a list of questions to identify what type of error may have been made. Just copy, fold, and laminate.
10. A list of ALL of the sounds in the English language to help with breaking words down by their individual sounds; a critical part of phonemic and phonological awareness.
11. There are only two “true” worksheets (as we know copies can be costly and just about all of the activities can be done on student’s own paper) which can easily be adapted to be done on student’s own paper. They are a “decode the code” practice sheet and a blank “matching game” sheet for visual memory practice.
12. An explanation of why spelling can be difficult and how we can make it make sense!