I was recently presented with the opportunity to review Spelling You See: Level F – Ancient Achievements. If you’re thinking, “That name sounds familiar,” you are correct. The company who brought you Math U See, now has Spelling You See!
My 11-year-old (Bookworm), who is diagnosed with Aspergers, reads on a college level but his spelling is nowhere near his reading ability. He is not a phonetic reader which stumped the evaluator when she tested him. We have tried a variety of spelling programs and none of them have been successful. Some of the programs are too basic for him now. For example, he isn’t into the silly Kindergarden stories that go along with a lot of spelling programs. In fact, he “checks out” because he gets incredibly bored. I needed a program that was a fresh approach for us, yet broke down the spelling while keeping it more “hip” and age appropriate.
Spelling You See has a unique approach in its presentation. The method was formulated by Dr. Karen Holinga. Her unique approach is done much differently than most spelling programs. It is based upon each individual child’s learning development in accordance with their stage of development. Basically, the program uses a method based on your child’s development rather than a grade level. When you have a child who is not in a typical grade level, it takes some pressure off them. According to Dr. Holinga on the Spelling You See website, there are five developmental stages of spelling:
3. Skill Development
4. Word Extension
5. Derivational Consistancy
Currently, Spelling You See has seven levels for you to pick from and each of them follow developmental stages of development and not grades. What I really like about this program is that it allows kids to develop their skills naturally. Kids learn how to spell by relying on memory that is obtained through the repeated readings, writing and daily activities. The daily activities include copy work, reading, speaking and listening instead of memorizing. The idea behind Spelling You See levels is that a child masters one before moving on to the next level.
One issue that Bookworm is having is short-term memory loss issues. I was very concerned about this because it is affecting his school work. As I began researching this concern, I found out this is “typical” for pre-teens on the spectrum. Bookworm has always been a great memorizer, so now this is an area that we are working on.
So how exactly does this all work?
We began with Level F and the idea behind it is that students study the spelling patterns through chunking, copy work and dictation. If you’re asking what is chunking, you’re not alone. I was asking what chunking was, too. LOL. It is pretty simple and makes sense when you see it. Chunking is a color coding system to mark various patterns in words. Here are some examples: “au”, “ou”, “ee”, “ey” and so on. Vowel chunks, consonant chunks, bossy R chunks such as “ir” are many of the chunking patterns used.
Spelling You See: Level F – Ancient Achievements focuses on stories from faraway times and places. Topics include ancient writing systems, the production of silk, mountainside terraces in the Philippines, the English longbow, Viking ships, and Incan counting systems.
How did we use it?
Because I desperately needed a spelling resource immediately for Bookworm, this could not have come at a better time. As I mentioned previously, I have tried so many different programs and they all had one thing in common – unsuccessful.
We added Spelling You See into our regular studies. The lessons are super short because the whole idea is to keep the child’s focus. Bookworm’s focus was focused! LOL! He LOVED it! What I have noticed since we added this program is that not only has it helped Bookworm’s memory on spelling words, it has also helped to increase his vocabulary. Although he reads on a college level, he must also learn to spell the words he reads. 🙂
Our set came with the workbooks, teacher’s manual and colored pencils. Bookworm was so excited when he saw those! He said “We get to use colored pencils for spelling?” A win-win! The only other thing you may want to have on hand is a regular pencil.
There are 36 weekly lessons and each are divided into 5 parts, A through E. Each day Bookworm read the passage aloud to me. I helped him with any words that he was mispronouncing. Next, he would find and mark the patterns in his workbook. That is the chunking I mentioned earlier. Then he would work on copy work and writing dictation throughout the week.
Students can work independently, but I prefer to be very hands-on with my kids. I sat with him to offer any guidance as he needed.
Oh, I almost forgot! Another bonus with this program are the online resources!! Each level has its own online resources containing additional materials that you can use. Those materials are wonderful and really enhance the program.
We absolutely love this program and will continue using it! I am also going to order the levels for my younger boys. I am very excited about finding a program that has finally worked for us!
I give Spelling You See 5 stars!