Article updated on January 12th, 2018
For several years I listened to a friend talk about Spelling Power and what a wonderful program it is. During those years I looked at the program and could not get passed the price tag. If you’re anything like me, every penny counts when trying to stay within a home education budget. Each time I saw the jaw dropping price for just a spelling book, I shuddered. Then came a wave of sickness when I thought about spending money on magnetic tiles, activity cards and level notebooks to complete the program.
Several months ago, I came across a used third edition of Spelling Power, so I bought it. After doing a little research on the internet, I came to the conclusion that I really did not need any of the tiles, cards or notebooks. If we get to a point and need tiles, I can make them and since the book has a list of activities included, I can use those and any from our list of all time favorites. As for the notebooks, I have my loose leaf paper stash that I’ve collected over the years.
I have read many reviews that talk about how difficult it is to learn how to use the program. Once you get passed all the reading on how to use it and start the teaching process, it’s all downhill from there. Well, I have to agree! There is a lot of information in the book, and I honestly feel it is too much. If you buy a newer edition book you should find it has the quick start guide. This is what I used to help me in finding the way to use this program.
How I Use Spelling Power in 15 Minutes a Day
Spelling Power is a 15 minute a day program. It really is, and it shouldn’t take any longer to use.
The first step is Placement testing ~ You will want to use the Form A (beginning of the year) survey test. This is a list of 50 words that will be given until at least 6 words are missed or none at all. Then you will score the test according to a scoring scale. You will then move on to the placement test that is suggested when you scored the survey test.
For example: When I scored my son’s survey test, I was directed to placement test F.
On the placement test, you will give all the words no matter how many are missed, if any. On this test, it will tell you which level of words to start.
For example: When I scored my son’s placement test F, we were directed to Flow Words List G (spelling lists). I will explain what I did for this list in just a moment.
There are also prescriptive tests that are designed to help in determining specifics that your child may need. I did not use any of these, because my son has a strong phonics background.
My son is naturally a good speller. He does have a little problem with the way he hears certain sounds and this is due to his former speech problems. When I gave him the survey and placement tests, I did not help in emphasizing the sounds that he has a problem with. I did this so I could see the lower placement for him. This is why we were directed to the Flow Words List F.
I started with list G just to make sure I was not going to be starting a list that is too difficult. We have been working on this list for two weeks, and Jamie has only missed 3 spelling words due to true spelling errors. He has missed several words due to his speech and hearing. Because of this, I will be moving to a higher group of words in the list for another week. If we continue to experience this, then we will begin List H.
Step two is daily spelling lists and studying~ I have my son take out a clean sheet of paper each day. Each day I set the timer for 5 minutes. Within the 5 minutes, I dictate the words while he writes and spells out loud. As long as he does not miss any words, we keep going on the group of words until the five minutes are up or we run out of words for that group. For any words missed, they are quickly corrected during this time and we move on.
Once the five minutes are up, Jamie correctly writes the words on the back of the paper. He will then work on the “10 Step Study Process”. I do not use the forms that come in the book, since we use clean paper everyday. We also use this time to review past words in a game. I make a note of the missed words for the following day and they are added to the top of the group that will be used the next day.
So far, we are really liking Spelling Power. I love the idea of not studying words you already know and the “no filler” that is not included in this program. The year is just starting out, so I’ll be updating throughout our first year of using Spelling Power.