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Spelling Power Reviews

Cathy Duffy
Christian Curriculum Manuals

     Originally designed to teach spelling to an older student with spelling  problems, this very comprehensive spelling program uses a base list of about 5,000 frequently used words. (A list of the 12,000 most frequently used and misspelled words is included as a separate section. It codes each word showing when it should be taught, by grade level and in correlation with Spelling Power.) These words are broken down into groups with common elements. Diagnostic Tests place the students at the proper beginning point in the list. Then each student progresses at his own rate, studying only those words with which he is having trouble. Frequently used words are reviewed periodically to insure retention. A ten-step study process is used for each group of words to be learned. Parental teacher involvement is essential, although we can note daily activities on the study sheet for students to do on their own. Once you have used this system for a while, both parent and child should become familiar enough with the process that students do much of their work independently. The interaction required between teacher and child actually make this program more ideal for homeschoolers than for the regular classroom.

     In order to use this program, the student should be able to write easily and copy words correctly. Children with writing disabilities should get handwriting instruction before beginning this program.

     Reproducible study, test, dictionary and record keeping forms and a whole section of game and activity ideas are included. You can successfully use this one book to teach all of your children throughout their school years.

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Mary Pride's Practical Homeschooling Magazine

    What happens when you immerse your sixth grade daughter in an intensive phonics program to jump start her reading ability? Beverly Adams-Gordon discovered what other parents who begin homeschooling older children have learned: phonics works. However, Adams-Gordon's daughter Angie continued to struggle mightily when she was called on to express herself in writing. Angie's reading scores jumped 4 grade levels, but her spelling ability had improved only slightly. Frustrated with the lopsided, single learning modality
approach of available spelling products, Adams-Gordon developed "Angie's spelling program. " Though Adams-Gordon didn't reinvent the spelling wheel, she worked with the mind of a Detroit engineer to combine and refine what was out there. Spelling Power is the welcome result.

    The 338-page non-consumable text consists of an 88-page teaching manual, followed by tabbed sections that make it easy to locate the resource you'll need. you are coached thoroughly through the three main components of the program: Systematic Spelling Study, Integrated Functional Writing and
Discovery Activities. You'll begin by administering a placement test to your child, the results of which will target his individual instructional level. Spelling words and rules are attacked with a variety of visual, auditory and kinesthetic tools, then applied to the writing process, all in about 15 minutes a day. Dictation and proofreading help your child cement spelling words, not as isolated lists, but as part of the bigger goal of making him a better communicator. Constant testing and review and simple-to-prepare learning games round out the program.

     The only weakness is that the teaching manual section tends to read a little like a master's thesis. Know that you'll have to put some time In learning the program before you can teach it. If you're willing to do that, Spelling Power offers your child the academic equivalent of a daily trip to the gym: a well-balanced workout that pumps up those spelling muscles.

      (Note: Since this review was written, a 14-page "Quick Start" was added to the beginning of the Spelling Power program.)

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Ted Wade
The Home School Manual

     On the cover of her book, author Beverly L Adams-Gordon promises "15 Minutes a Day and This Book Are All You Need To Teach Ages 8 to Adult Comprehensive Spelling Skills!" The book grew from her daughter, Angie's, problem with spelling. In post-graduate teacher education, she had received training in "intensive phonics instruction." So she took Angie through a complete course. The girl's reading ability jumped four grade levels, but spelling improved by only one.

     Next she learned about visual configuration exercises. That method didn't really solve the problem either, so she set out to study what researchers had learned on the topic. Textbooks agreed with the research but, in the available materials, she found in important element being neglected The "facts" of spelling (related to phonetic facts) are not being adequately taught. That meant putting together her own program to help Angie. The girl didn't become a perfect speller but spells very well with proofreading, which is important in any writing.

     The book has just come off the press as I write this review (5/94). It is excellent, and may answer your particular need. Of course every home teacher wants to prepare good spellers, but time and financial restraints require making choices. I'll explain a little more so you can decide.

     How did Angie learn spelling? By a combination of approaches. Research agrees. The author recommends a systematic learning program, grouping words according to spelling rules. Habits of dictionary use, applying generalizations (good guessing) and proofreading are to be taught. The book guides you in this and provides lists that go through 5,O00 of the more commonly used words. There are also spelling games and diagnostic tools.

    In all, the work is a great contribution to spelling methodology. For Beverly Adams-Gordon, it should be worth life-experience equivalent course credits- or the major part of a master's thesis.

     If you decide on a different spelling instructional plan, teach your child to learn to spell words as they come up When using a computer spell checker, it's good, to take a moment to note the spelling of corrected. words. Learning to pronounce words correctly and to see them phonetically help, too.

 

 

 

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