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Spelling Wisdom 1
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Spelling Wisdom 1

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Publisher: Simply Charlotte Mason
Author: Sonya Shafer

List Price: E-Book: $14.95

Ages: 9-11 Years

Reviewed By: Virginia Jones

 
If you’re looking for a solid spelling curriculum, you’ve come to the right place. But don’t stop there! In using Spelling Wisdom, Book 1 your third- to fifth-grade student will be learning about such things as punctuation and capitalization, while reading and reproducing the writing of great minds from the past.

If you’re familiar with the writings of Charlotte Mason, you’ll know how she went about using dictation with her students. If you’re not, don’t worry; you’ll still find Spelling Wisdom an outstanding tool, with clear instructions and exemplary materials in the lessons. Here’s a thumbnail sketch of the principle undergirding Spelling Wisdom: Charlotte Mason, a British educator who lived about a hundred years ago, used copywork (Spelling Wisdom may also be used for copywork and handwriting practice, by the way) and dictation to teach such skills as grammar and spelling. Her idea of teaching spelling wasn’t to administer a test to see how many words the child missed, in order to generate a list of spelling words to study and re-test. She didn’t want the child to misspell the word in the first place!

When using dictation—essentially the student is writing words in the same manner as in a spelling test, with the difference of hearing them spoken in the context of a literary excerpt—Miss Mason advised that the teacher go over the passage with the student, making note of difficult words and studying them as long as needed to be able to spell them correctly when hearing them read aloud in context. If the student still had one or more wrong spellings, the teacher would quickly blot out the “wrong” word, so as not to ingrain it on the student’s brain, and make sure the proper spelling was written there.

Spelling Wisdom concentrates on spelling skills, and in addition I recommend that as you study the passage together with your student, also discuss punctuation and capitalization, to make sure these will be properly reproduced by the listening-and-writing student. (By the way, I was once in a Bible study that used this technique to memorize Bible verses. It was effective!)

The author has taken great pains to make sure that the 6,000 most commonly used words in the English language are represented in this curriculum, but the vocabulary is not limited to 6,000 words, not at all! As a matter of fact, more than double that amount is targeted in this book, meaning that your child, in addition to learning spelling, is building a rich and varied vocabulary.

Spelling Wisdom is available in e-book and printed form, in versions using either American or British spelling, and in five volumes ranging from third to twelfth grade. Each volume is suited to multiple grades. The selections begin simply and build in complexity as you proceed through the book, from a few words to several paragraphs in length. As the author suggests using this resource once or twice a week, the 140 exercises in Book 1 will last your student at least a couple of years!

The passages in Spelling Wisdom come from books in a variety of subjects, such as history and geography, literature (prose and poetry), science, and scripture. I recognized quite a few old friends when I looked at the included bibliography. (One of the beauties of Spelling Wisdom is that I don’t have to do the choosing and formatting!) The selections are uplifting, many suited to character formation and discussion. The print is uncrowded and in a font that is easy to read. An exhaustive index is included so that you can find passages containing specific spelling words, and the table of contents gives you a quick overview of the progression and origin of selections.

Spelling Wisdom is an excellent resource for teaching language arts concepts in a natural, unforced way that focuses on using the English language as great writers do (or did) to teach the student how to use the language in an equally effective way. I can tell you from our own experience that this method works! Highly recommended.
More Information
Available From: Simply Charlotte Mason
Address:
Phone:
Website: simplycharlottemason.com/
Email: (contact form on website)
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Virginia Jones
Virginia Jones hails from a small town in the Midwest, where "Nothing ever happens, thankfully!" Her family's interests include horseback riding, cross-country skiing, swimming, and, when they can manage to sit still, reading.
Copyright © 2008 Eclectic Homeschool Association
 

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