My seven year old is having trouble spelling. Since spelling was never difficult for me, I have to admit, I had no idea how to help him. To me, spelling just is. I felt like a bad mom for the last few months because I just couldn’t understand why he wasn’t understanding and I felt hopeless (you know the feeling, right?). When I had the chance to work on a Spelling You See review, I was thrilled. Not only was this a pressing need for my own child, I was also hearing from other homeschool moms that this program was fantastic. I had to find out for myself.
Spelling You See is an actual research-based spelling program (vs. a bunch of random spelling lists). I love this, as I want to make sure that what I am teaching my child, as well as the program I am using, is known to work.
The Spelling You See program incorporates the stages of language development and the five developmental stages of spelling into their spelling curriculum, seen below.
Now that you understand a little bit about their methodology, here’s info about the Spelling You See curriculum.
There are seven different levels of curriculum with links to a sample lesson below.
Spelling You See Review – Listen & Write Sample Lesson
Spelling You See Review – Jack & Jill Sample Lesson
Spelling You See Review – Wild Tales Sample Lesson
Spelling You See Review – Americana Sample Lesson
Spelling You See Review – American Spirit Sample Lesson
Spelling You See Review – Ancient Achievements Sample Lesson
Spelling You See Review – Modern Milestones Sample Lesson
All levels: 36 lessons, divided into five parts, A-E; short 10 minute lessons – you should start a new lesson each week, even if you’re not done with the previous week’s lesson.
Listen and Write –
Listen and Write is designed to move students from the pre-literate stage to the phonetic stage of spelling. It’s suitable for students that are just beginning to learn letter-sound correspondence, and focuses on lowercase letter formation, consonants, and short vowels.
Each daily worksheet is one page and can be completed in about 10 minutes. The first few worksheets may take a little longer as both teacher and student are becoming familiar with the program. Do as much as you can for the 10 minutes and then stop for the day – move on to the next worksheet the next day.
The first 15 lessons feature three-letter words and introduce one short vowel at a time. Later lessons move to four, and then five letter words.
All worksheets use letter boxes, as these help the brain learn sound-to-letter correspondence. The ability to make this correspondence is the most important predictor of reading success. (The neurological process of matching sounds to letters is complex and the use of letter boxes helps.)
In the beginning lessons, correct pencil grip is stressed (students should hold a tripod grip), and it’s very important that hand dominance is established (when kids first begin to write, many can use both hands equally well, so you need to decide on a hand, and make sure the same hand is used every day).
Other foundational skills taught such as correct letter formation (one stroke formation and letters should be written from the top down).
Jack and Jill –
Jack and Jill uses a nursery rhyme theme and begins with the phonetic stage of spelling and moves on to the skill-development stage.
Easy to say/easy to learn nursery rhymes provide an important auditory component during the phonetic/skill-development stages of spelling.
One daily lesson consists of two facing pages.
A new nursery rhyme is read together each week (guided reading approach) and each day students find different details within the rhyme. Students search for common patterns within the words and pay special attention to punctuation and capitalization.
Each day the student copies a short phrase/sentence and then fills in the letter boxes, while focusing on short vowel sounds.
As students write each letter, they create a complete word from individual sounds (this is called encoding).
As with the previous level, pencil grip, correct letter formation, and use of a dominant hand are stressed.
Don’t worry about penmanship – as long as you can read what your child writes and there is appropriate spacing between the words, just focus on spelling.
Wild Tales –
The nursery rhyme theme from Jack and Jill continues through the first seven weeks of Wild Tales and nonfiction passages about animals begin in lesson 8. Both the nursery rhymes and the nonfiction passages provide opportunities for vocabulary development and allow students to learn how to spell words in an interesting context.
A day’s work consists of two or four facing pages.
Each day, you read the passage with your student. Then you help your child find and mark various letter patterns in the passage – this process is called “chunking.”
Students also have opportunities throughout the week for copywork, free writing, and writing from dictation.
In Americana, kids read nonfiction stories about American history and culture. The reading level gradually increases, which helps with vocabulary development and allows students to learn how to spell in an interesting context.
This level includes three core student activities – chunking, copywork and dictation.
Chunking each passage provide hands-on experience with irregular letter patterns.
Copywork and dictation require the the brain to pay attention to details in print within a meaningful context.
Together, the three activities move words into a student’s long-term memory.
American Spirit –
Students read about various people and events in American history – the reading level continues to increase gradually.
Again, chunking, copywork and dictation are core activities.
Ancient Achievements –
In addition to spelling, Ancient Achievements covers interesting topics such as ancient writing systems, the production of silk, Viking Ships, Incan counting systems and more.
Chunking, copywork and dictation are core activities, with a Spotlight added in. The Spotlight provides interesting facts about words and the relationships between words and it prepares students for Word Extension, the stage of spelling that’s addressed in Modern Milestones.
Modern Milestones –
Modern Milestones is designed for those that are ready for the Word Extension stage of spelling – where students study the patterns that are used to create alternate word forms and how prefixes and suffixes are used to build new words.
Copywork and dictation are the core activities at this level.
The lessons also include a variation of the chunking activity used in previous levels. However, instead of marking chunks, students mark base words, prefixes, suffixes, and compound words.
Each week, students also complete a Workshop exercise that provides practice in using various word patterns. The Workshop activities are designed to reinforce the patterns being used and help students apply these patterns to other words.
Modern Milestones also provides info on artists, musician, scientists and others that have influenced our world in our recent history.
How to determine your where/how to place your child?
Placement is based on skill level, not grade level and is related to a student’s reading ability, which is so important.
Here’s the key to placement – students should begin at a level that is at least one reading level below their current reading abilities. Beginning readers should start with Listen and Write or Jack and Jill.
Still not sure where to start your child? The readiness guidelines on the Getting Started page for are very helpful.
What I like about Spelling You See (and yes, I like it A LOT!):
- The program works great – my son is doing well, and his spelling has certainly improved.
- This is a spelling program – not just a bunch of random spelling lists. I can’t stress this enough.
- A lot of thought and research went into the making of this program. That gives me confidence when I use it.
- As a parent, I learned a lot about spelling – different stages of spelling, etc. For instance – when a child is reading they see print, so a child should use print when learning to spell – and should use print (vs. cursive writing) when doing copywork.
- All of the activities (reading, copywork, speaking, listening and dictation) are designed to encourage close attention to words in the context of meaningful writing, and to develop a visual memory for common English words. Each activity is important in helping the brain learn spelling patterns.
- The methodology helps spelling become imprinted in long-term visual memory so the speller can use it naturally in everyday writing.
- The program includes phonics – but moves beyond phonics. Why? Because studies have shown that an over emphasis on phonics is counterproductive. You can read more about this here.
- The lessons include fun/interesting info (the raccoon pages above), as well as historical info. So kids learn history, etc. while they learn their spelling.
- Spelling You See lessons are short (and stress-free). That’s always a plus.
- Lessons are easy to implement (from the parent’s standpoint). Of course, I appreciate that (you will too!).
- The resources are of nice quality – wipe-able covers, good paper, etc.
- The website has great resources at this link- https://spellingyousee.com/resources/. I’m a fan of supplemental resources!
- There are no word lists to memorize.
- No weekly tests – another plus.
- The program is student paced.
- Spelling You See is part of Demme Learning, an independent family-owned and operated publishing company. Demme Learning has been providing homeschool curriculum since 1990. I like supporting family-owned and homeschool oriented companies.
Want to know more about Spelling You See? You can learn quite a bit by visiting their Facts and Question page.
Did you like this Spelling You See review? You can view our other reviews here: https://howtohomeschool.com/curriculum-reviews
- Spelling You See Review