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Schoolhouse Review: Spelling You See

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Are you wanting to add copywork and dictation to your homeschool? Is this something you tried but just never kept up with it? Have you read why copywork is so important but just haven’t made the plunge yet?!?! I have answered yes to all of the above questions. I had read about copywork and dictation but just never got around to implementing it. That is until I started using Spelling You See with my boys.
Spelling You See
Review item: Spelling You See: Ancient Achievements (Level F) Instructor’s Handbook, 2 Student Workbooks, and erasable colored pencils

Review helpers: Caleb 8th grade and Brent 7th grade

About Spelling You See: Spelling You See is a unique program it doesn’t have the child learn a list of weekly spelling words with a test on Friday nor does it focus entirely on phonemes. Instead your child is learning to spell by integrating copywork, reading, speaking, and listening.

By writing via copywork Caleb and Brent are visually seeing how words are spelled (copywork), reading the passage aloud (reading and speaking), and listening (dictation).
Another unique aspect of Spelling You See is the research based 5 stages by Dr. Holinga which are:
  • Stage 1: Preliterate
  • Stage 2: Phonetic
  • Stage 3: Skill Development
  • Stage 4: Word Extension
  • Stage 5: Derivational Constancy
To find out where to start your child, Spelling You See has a Spelling Readiness Guide that you can download.

The Instructors manual has all the dictation passages, answer key, lesson-by-lesson instructions (my favorite part), and detailed instructions with how to use copywork, dictation, chunking, overlapping, etc.
Spelling You See Book 2
How Spelling You See (Ancient Achievement) Works: Ancient Achievement Level F is for the student who is at the end of the skill development (stage 3) and gives an introduction of the next two stages. This level continues with providing skill review. Once the boys have completed Ancient Achievement they will be ready for Stage 4: Word Extension.

The three core spelling activities are: Chuncking, copywork, and dictation. Most of us know what copywork and dictation are but some of us may wondering what in the world is chunking?!?!

Chunking is simply having the child find patterns of letters like the Bossy R, Vowel Chunks, Consonant Chuncks, Tricky y Guy, and so forth in the passage and mark them using a highlighter or the colored pencils provided with the program. Each combination of letters will have a specific color: Vowel Chunks-yellow, consonant chunks-blue, etc.

Ancient Achievement has a total of 36 lessons. Each lesson uses the same passage and will follow the same A-E format (like Math-U-See). The lesson for that week will indicate which letter combinations the child needs to chunk.

The first 8 lessons will have the child concentrate on one combination. For instance the first week Brent and Caleb only needed to find the vowel chunks, the second week (lesson 2) it was consonant chunks. By lesson 9 the child will begin to chunk more than one combination.

Lesson 19 starts with Split Review. This means that the first 3 days Caleb and Brent will mark (with the appropriate colors for each combination) the vowel chunks, consonant chunks, and Bossy R chunks. On days 4-5 the boys will mark Tricky y Guy and the silent letters.

How a week looks using Spelling You See: Ancient Achievements:
Day 1, the child will read the passage aloud and then have him mark the vowel chunks indicated using the correct color pencil. Use the Answer Key to check his/her work and go over any chunks that were missed. Once the passage has been corrected then have your child will copy as much as he can without rushing in 10 minutes. Have him mark the chunks using the model passage. Don’t worry if your child didn’t copy the whole passage.

Days 2 and 3 will look the same as Day 1 with the addition of the Spotlight. The Spotlight calls the attention of one or more words in the passage. The Instructors Manual will give you ideas with how to flesh out the Spotlight information.
 Spelling You See Ancient
Day 4 you will dictate the passage and offer as much as needed. Offer help if a word is misspelled. Stop after 10 minutes. Count the number of correct words and record it at the bottom of the page. The child doesn’t have to complete the whole passage.

Day 5, again you will dictate the passage but this time you will not help him spell any words. You may help with punctuation and capitalization. Stop after 10 minutes.

The reason for the 10 minute rule is you don’t want your child to become frustrated and/or discouraged.

How we used Spelling You See: Ancient Achievement: As soon as I found out I was selected for this review I purchased a second set of the student materials. I like keeping my two middle boys (they are only a year apart) together with using Spelling You See!
We used the program pretty much the same as I outlined above. Instead of stopping after 10 minutes I had them copy the whole passage. For the most part they were able to copy it in 10 minutes so it wasn’t an overwhelming task. If I found that it was too much I would definitely have them stop after 10 minutes.

Everyday I had the boys read the passage aloud. We alternated the days. One day Brent read the next day Caleb read the passage. Then they completed the chunking, copywork, and chunked their copywork.

On day 3 we would discuss the Spotlight information and sometimes flesh it out with an activity suggested in the Instructor’s Manual.

Day 4 we completed the first dictation. Before starting I would ask if there was a word that was difficult and we’d go over it.

Day 5 the final dictation! The kids loved the challenge of this dictation. I’ve been blessed with boys who actually find this fun. Their favorite part was counting all the words that they spelled correctly and recording it at the bottom of the page.

Caleb and Brent enjoyed competing with each other in a positive way.

Our thoughts: This is our second year using Spelling You See and we love it. I absolutely love that copywork and dictation are getting done. The boys are slowly improving with their spelling and reading too!

I like that the program focuses with how many words the child gets right when done with the dictation passage. My boys are on the older side and love counting the corrected words. 

Spelling You See Review
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