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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp
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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp.  All rights reserved.
about the book
The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Homeschooling by Subject

Spelling Remediation, Review,
"Catch-Up's" and Enrichment

When it's time to really get to work on spelling...

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006

It may seem odd to have remediation, review, and enrichment options on
the same page... but, really, there is a lot of overlap in the materials.  
The same resource could be used by one student to try to "catch up" on  
spelling rules that were never learned, by another as a review before
standardized tests, and by another for self-enrichment or to prepare for a
spelling bee.  So, take a look at the following products to see which ones
will suit your child's needs.

If it seems that your student is having an unusually hard time with
spelling, even when presented with spelling rules and phonetic strategies
for "sounding out words"... then you may want to explore materials that
are designed to help those with dyslexia -- a reading disablilty that can
also affect spelling skills.  See
Related Issues (at the end of this page)
for more information on helping students who struggle with spelling
and/or reading.

Spelling Remediation, Review, and "Catching-Up"

Painless Spelling by Mary Elizabeth Pothaizer for Barron's -- This is a
resource book aimed at middle school and high school kids who need
help with spelling.  Presents both spelling rules and letter sounds in a
kid-friendly way.  Available at major book stores and from
Who might find this program useful?
This book would work well for those who want to construct their own
spelling program.  Could also be done, independently, by older students.

Spelling the Easy Way published by Barrons -- A single book
resource that includes a 10,000 word spelling list, exercises, and
achievement tests.  Chapters cover "why to bother spelling correctly",
spelling rules and mnemonics, better spelling by ear, British spellings,
most frequently misspelled words, tricky words, science and technology,
and medical terms. No Teacher's Edition available.  Available at major
book stores.
Who might find this program useful?
Older students who need a concise "catch-up" program.  Could be used
independently by older students.  Some students may need guidance to
see that chapters are not "breezed" over too quickly, but actually
studied.   Some students may be overwhelmed by all the information, and
would do better if the educator uses it as a resource guide to teach the
student (or try the kid-friendly resource "Painless Spelling,also by
Barron's).  Students with spelling disabilities may need more skill-specific
exercises than this resource provides.

A Visualization Approach to Spelling -- a great technique for
visual-spatial learners

Teaching The Right Brain Child by Dianne Craft MA CNHP of Child
Diagnostics -- manual, videos, and flashcards (sold separately), a former
homeschool mom and special ed teacher helps parents learn how to use
Right Brain Strategies to teach their children Spelling, Math, Reading,
Phonics, Sight Words, Vocabulary, Following Directions, and Study Skills.
Her website is rather bare bones... here is a description of
her program.

Lexia Learning: Strategies for Older Students -- interactive software
for students 9 and older to improve reading and spelling skills, starts
from the very beginning, with basic vowel  sounds, but allows students to
proceed at their own pace

Read, Write & Type -- a single software combines phonics, reading,
writing, typing, spelling and punctuation.  Directions are given orally (not
a lot of reading involved), kids progress at their own pace, aims to
protect self-esteem in vulnerable students who work at a slower pace or
tend to make lots of errors. Reportedly good for those with Dyslexia or
other learning disabilities

Teaching Phonics and Word Study in the Intermediate
Grades  by Wiley Blevins for Scholastic -- This is a single resource book
that is designed to improve the reading and spelling skills of upper
elementary to middle school students (grades 3-8).  It helps educators
provide a systematic, explicit phonics instruction to help students  
develop phonemic awareness, includes linguistics, phonemes,
phonograms, and spelling rules. Includes quick assessments; lessons,
fluency strategies; Greek and Latin roots, games, and activities.
Who might find this program useful?
This program would be helpful for those with middle school students who
are struggling with spelling and reading.  Provides remedial instruction to
students who didn't learn phonetic skills in elementary school and are
now struggling.  Useful for helping students with dyslexia.

If It Is to Be It Is Up to Me to Do It and Sequential Spelling by
Don McCabe with AVKO -- This program was designed for home use.  It
focuses on word families and intuitive spelling patterns, no phonics or
spelling rules are taught.  The program builds on simple words such as
"in" then adds to the word to arrive at "pin", "spin", "pins" "pinning",
"beginning", etc.
Who might find this program useful?
Older children and teens who need to improve their spelling and reading
skills.  Useful for those who dislike spelling rules, and for those who do
not do well with phonetic approaches to spelling.  Useful for students with
dyslexia.  The author recommends beginning with "If It is to Be..." then
proceeding to Level 2 of "Sequential Spelling".  If quick remediation is
needed, the author recommends doing two lessons a day (morning and
afternoon), 7 days each week, to finish the program in 2 years.  The
author adds that this will also help with reading skills.    

All About Spelling by Marie Rippel -- This is a multi-sensory,
sequential spelling program based on Orton-Gillingham methods (which
have a proven track record in teaching children with dyslexia). This
program was developed by a homeschool mom and is designed to be
used at home.  The program teaches phonics, phonograms, and spelling
rules.  The program is broken into lessons that include detailed teaching
tips and strategies, flash cards, spelling tiles, spelling lists, and an
interactive CD-ROM for learning the sounds of the phonograms.  The
program consists of instructional books at Levels 1 - 6 (only 1 - 4
currently available) that do not correspond to grade-level (see their FAQ
page for placement guidance)
Who might find this program useful?
Students who struggle with reading and spelling.  Students with a spelling
or reading disability, such as dyslexia.  This program can be used as a
comprehensive spelling program for any student or for remedial work with
older students.

How to Teach Any Child to Spell and Tricks of the Trade   by
Gayle Graham -- This is a single volume resource spelling program (with
student book) that teaches basic phonics rules and 6 key spelling rules
thru 4-step daily lessons.  No standard lists of spelling words are
provided, instead, spelling words are generated from errors in the
students own daily writing. This method requires either the parent or the
student to make lists of mis-spelled words for use in the program.  
Requires a companion book, Tricks of the Trade, used daily by the
student.  A good review is at
Rainbow Resources.
Who might find this program useful?
Students who can already read and write, and are accustomed to daily
writing.  Students who prefer to learn the spelling rules and apply them to
spelling words they actually use on a daily basis, rather than memorizing
generic lists of words.  Could work as a "catch-up" program for teens who
need to improve their spelling.
Note: This may not be a good approach for students who struggle with
writing -- they may balk at doing the daily writing assignments, and might
be discouraged by having spelling errors marked up in the papers they
have struggled so hard to write.

Spelling Enrichment

Spelling Demons Week by Week -- by Elizabeth Hagner for J.
Weston Walch Publishers --  Each 2-page lesson covers a list of hard
-to-spell words and gives rules and tricks/reasonings to remember each
one. Includes oral and reproducible written tests.  Available at book
stores and from
Rainbow Resources
Who might find this program useful?
Students who are generally good spellers but want to conquer the tricky
words.  Students looking for spelling enrichment.

Boxcars and One Eyed Jacks -- dice and card games for learning to
spell, phonics, parts of speech (and math)

How to Spell Like a Champ by Barrie Trinkle -- the basic rules and all
their annoying exceptions, plus 26 words of unknown origin, the four
most commonly misspelled word types, puzzles and games.  Good prep
for entering a spelling bee.

The Scripp's National Spelling Bee Study Resources --
includes free downloads of the Merriam-Webster's "A Dictionary of
Pre-fixes, suffixes and combining forms", an audio version of the Paideia,
and word lists

Spelling City -- a free online data bank of spelling words you can use to
practice by playing games, even add you own spelling lists!

A Word A Day -- by, free service delivers a new
vocabulary word to your e-mail every day

Merriam-Webster Word A Day -- a new vocabulary word e-mailed to
you each day for free

Kid's Daily Buzzword -- from Word Central by Merriam-Webster, free
service e-mails you a new word every day with definition and history of
use, also, kids can build their own online dictionary

Little Explorers Picture Dictionary from Enchanted learning -- a free
online picture dictionary for kids to explore and learn

Puzzlemaker -- from, free way to make your own
spelling list crossword puzzles

Why is English Spelling so Mixed-Up, Crazy, and Irregular? -- an
article for kids from the Simplified Spelling Society

Related Issues:

Trouble with Reading, too?

Could a spelling problem be a sign of dyslexia?

Looking for more vocabulary and wood root resources?

Introducing "Cut Spelling" -- from the Simplified Spelling Society,
which aims to reform the English language and return to its phonetic roots