Sunday, February 15, 2015

Spell to Write and Read

Spell to Write and Read

I started using this curriculum with my 5 year old directly after the "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" book. We are still using it and loving it. My son is in 3rd grade now.

What I like:
1) You can use it for grades K-12 without having to buy new books each year. You need one new workbook each year that is $6. That makes this curriculum crazy affordable.
2) I love that this curriculum teaches the 70 phonograms (different combinations of sounds) in the English language independently. Before starting the curriculum, there are flashcards with all of these phonograms. Each card has the letter combination on the front and the different sounds on the back. There are game suggestions for interesting ways for your child to learn these. My son's favorite game is where he starts on one side of the room and me on the other. I hold up the card and if he gets all of the sounds for the phonogram correct, he takes a step forward. If he misses one or more sounds, I tell him the correct sound and he takes a step back. Learning the phonograms like this has greatly helped his reading. There are tests in the program to determine what grade level your child is spelling/reading, and my son is testing around the 5th grade level even though his is only in 1st grade. He is picking up chapter books and reading them for fun.
3) This curriculum teaches 99% of the rules in the English language. There are rules that I didn't know! There are rule cards like the phonogram cards that you hold up and have the child tell you the rules. We haven't worked on these quite as much, but I plan to get into these more this next school year. Most curriculum do not teach as many rules as this one.
4) When learning a new word, this curriculum uses many different senses. You read the word out loud, use it in a sentence, have the child repeat the word, sound out the word, spell the word, and then read the word after he has spelled it.
5) It is a Christian curriculum. I always prefer Christian materials.

What I didn't like:
Switching to this Spell to Write and Read curriculum after the previous "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" was a huge learning style/curve for me because the previous book had each lesson spelled out for the teacher--I just sat down and read it with my son. This curriculum is NOT that kind of curriculum. Most of it is suggestions and ideas that are not cut and dried as the child is first starting to figure out the sounds. I was really lost for the first two weeks of trying to figure out this curriculum. Basically you practice the phonograms until the child has them down and then move on to the spelling lists. Now it is easy, since I mostly just have my son learn 5 new words per day from the spelling list and go over the rules for those words that day as well as the extra grammar ideas that the curriculum recommends for that section (words are broken into sections with 20 words per section). Now that I have the program figured out, I love it and have been recommending it to all of my homeschooling friends. I have about 4 other friends who have chosen to use this curriculum also and they all love it as well.

Here are some samples of my son's spelling book:

This was his first page for List A:

This is from List E, which he did at the end of first grade and again at the beginning of second grade:

This is List M-1, which he just completed (he is nearly done with 3rd grade)

We focused on the Phonograms for the first couple of years and read the rules as we went. Now, in 3rd Grade, we have been focusing on the rules more and he is learning them well... as have I, lol.


  1. I used 100 Easy Lessons with my daughter when she was 3 and a half. It took us about a year to finish and she reads beautifully!!! She just turned 6 and I plan to start SWR in the coming weeks. It seems so overwhelming to me! How were you able to get started?

  2. Hi, yes, I felt overwhelmed when I switched to the new program also, but as soon as I got into it, it was pretty easy. The first thing you will want to do is have your daughter start learning the phonograms using SWR cards. I laminated mine to keep them in good condition. We make a game out of it--I hold up the phonogram card and my son has to say the sounds that phonogram makes. When he gets them right, he takes a step forward. If he gets it wrong, he takes a step back. The goal is to give me a hug. My boys both enjoy this game and it makes learning the phonograms pretty painless. When your daughter has learned many of the phonograms and can write letters, you can start the spelling lists in the Wise Spelling book. For each list, it specifies which phonograms to work on for that list. We started with just 5 words a week. I say the word, read the sentence using the word and have my son write the word by sounding it out. After it is written correctly, then you have your daughter mark the phonograms in the word and begin teaching the spelling rules (listed in the back of the book) as you do each word. Take it slow and mastery is not essential at this point. That will come the more you do the program. Then it gets easy. For each spelling list, you just use the phonogram flashcards covered for that list, dictate the spelling words, underline the phonograms in the words and mark and use the rules as you go. My son is in 3rd grade now, and we do one spelling list per week. We only do spelling once or twice a week and it only takes 10-15 minutes because my son has mastered most of the phonograms, so spelling comes really easy for him now. For each list, there are also lots of other suggestions you can use if you want further practice with grammar and sentences.

  3. I just posted some samples of my son's spelling book. The numbers are the sound of the letter. For example, on List A, there is a 2 over the s in "is," which means it's the second sound of s, which is the "z" sound. The 3 over the a in "all" means it is the 3rd sound of a, which is "ah," the bracket around words show that they are connected in some way (state of being words or present/past tense words).

    The Wise Guide tells you exactly what to do, and after the first several steps in the Spell to Write and Read book, you will hardly ever use it any more until the more advanced lists.

  4. Thanks so much! It sounds so much simpler the way you explained it. I think I will be ready to start within the next two weeks. She's almost done learning to write the lowercase cursive letters using the Cursive First program. Wish me luck! =)