I have gone through many phonics programs to help my kiddos learn to spell sight words like says, said, and any (to name a few). I followed the, “Think of said as s-ai-d “, among a few other ‘tricks’. The “think of” and other ways to teach my guys how to spell were not helping and didn’t work for them. In fact they were confusing. With See to Spell it only took a few days before Ethan was spelling any, said, and says, correctly. Amazing, he’s been misspelling those words for years!
I'm thankful my kiddos have a phonics based reading background but they need to move beyond that and that is where See to Spell comes in.
See to Spell teaches children to spell some of the most common sight words using pictures in the words. On one side of the See to Spell flashcard is the word with pictures drawn into it. For example the word wants used the letter a to make a girl and the letter n to make bunk beds.
Turn the card over and along with the word is a 1-2 sentence story.
See to Spell has 3 sets of card. Each set has 43 4x6 flashcards which includes instructions. They are super easy to use and only takes about 15-20 minutes a day.
What’s really neat about this program is your child is not learning a list of weekly words. What I did with Ethan was have him take an assessment using a free download - Student Sight Word Tracking List provided by See to Spell.
Any words that he could all ready read and spell I marked off. The words that he could read but had difficulty spelling was our list to work with but not in list word format. We used a more enjoyable way to learn them with the flashcards.
From the list that Ethan misspelled I pulled 4 flashcards we would work on for however long it took Ethan to spell the words correctly.
I would show him the flashcard and say the word out loud a few times and read the story. I would then have him tell back the story.
Next we both took a good look at the picture on the flashcard and described the pictures within the word, discussing the details of the drawing.
I would then have him look at the flashcard while I held it in front of him just above eye level. I would tell him to take a ‘picture’ of it mentally, then close his eyes and see the word.
With his eyes closed or opened (just depending on how we felt that day) I’d have him say each letter in the word in order. Sometimes I had him spell the word on the table with his finger and other times in the air.
Once we were done he would write the word in his composition book 3 times. As he wrote each letter he’d say it. For example with the word says he’d write and say, “s-a-y-s, says”. Then we’d move on to the next word.
The next day I’d give him a “spelling” test. If he spelled the word correctly I’d write the date next to it on the Spell to See Tracking List. If he spelled the word correctly for two days but the 3rd day missed the word then I’d erase the past two days marking and have Ethan start over with that word. Once he’s able to spell a word 3x in a row then it would be considered mastered. While doing this we are going over the words as described above.
I only use about 4 words at a time. So if we are working on 4 words and he masters one I then choose the next word on the list and add it to the previous 3.
I plan to have a review week where we’d go over the words that he mastered to support long term learning as suggested by Spell to See.
This method of teaching spelling this way is great for dyslexic children and those who have other learning challenges.
If you have a dyslexic child then you might know that when a dyslexic child learns to read they are using the right side of the brain not the left like non-dyslexic children.
From the See to Spell website:
- The right hemisphere of the brain stores visual and photographic memories. See to Spell uses visual cues, such as color and images, so that sight words are stored as visual memory in the right brain. Over time, the word, and how it’s spelled, transfers into long-term memory, and the child is on their way to mastering sight words.
- For students who find traditional, left brain learning to be grueling and unsatisfying, this is a great discovery. It means that the more the right brain is engaged in the learning journey, the more quickly and easily they will learn.