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Spelling You See Review

Today I am very excited to share our review of a brand new spelling curriculum. The publishers of the well-known Math-U-See program have just released a new curriculum called Spelling You See, which offers a unique and inexpensive alternative to typical spelling programs. If you are looking for a spelling program that is more than just rote memorization, but rather one that allows students to learn to spell new words in the context in which they are used, then Spelling You See might be for you. My children and I have been using, and loving, Spelling You See: American Spirit (Level E) for the past several weeks, and I am so happy to share our review with you.


Program Costs

Spelling You See is currently available at 5 different levels. These levels do not directly correspond to grade levels, but rather are based on student ability and developmental stage. A readiness guideline is available on the website, so that you can find out exactly which level is right for your student.  Costs of each level are as follows:

Spelling You See: Listen and Write (Level A)
Instructor’s Handbook $14
Student Pack $20

Spelling You See: Jack and Jill (Level B)
Instructor’s Handbook $16
Student Pack $30

Spelling You See: Wild Tales (Level C)
Instructor’s Handbook $14
Student Pack $30

Spelling You See: American (Level D)
Instructor’s Handbook $14
Student Pack $30

Spelling You See: American Spirit (Level E)
Instructor’s Handbook $14
Student Pack $30

At this time, the levels are equivalent to elementary level work, though higher levels of the program are already in the works.

About the Program

Most spelling programs have the same basic premise: spelling is best learned through memorization of a given list of words. True, some programs may have games and activities to make spelling more “fun”, but most still fall back to this same foundational idea. Spelling You See is something completely different. There are no lists to memorize. Instead, children focus on a passage for the week, presented in the form of copywork and dictation, in which the student is introduced to new words. This allows students to see the word as it is used in its proper context, rather than as just another word in a list. Because the student reads the passage, then copies it, and finally writes it from parent dictation, this method involves all of the senses, which helps greatly with learning and retention.

 How the Program Works

This program is meant to be done in small amounts every day. Each week’s lesson is broken down in the student workbooks by day, consisting of a 2-page spread for the day’s activities.  These activities consist of 2 sections. In section one of each day, students first listen to the parent read the week’s passage, then read the passage together with the parent, and finally go through the passage again in order to identify irregular letter patterns, such as double vowels, consonant blends, word endings, etc. The student marks these patterns with colored pencils. The program refers to this as “chunking”. The second section of each day’s activities is where the copywork and dictation come in. The first 2 days of the week, the student copies the passage, marking the “chunks” afterward. On the last 3 days of the week, students write the passage as it is dictated by the parent. The passages gradually increase in difficulty over the course of the program, and the “chunking” activities get a bit more extensive, but the structure of the program remains the same. There are no lists and no tests. Students learn spelling naturally. It really is that simple.

What We Liked About the Program

There are a number of things that set this program apart from other spelling programs on the market. Here are some of our favorite features:

  • The program done daily, in small amounts. By doing a bit each day, rather than cramming for a couple of days a week, students are truly learning, rather than memorizing only to later forget.
  • Parent involvement is essential. Students are not sent off to memorize on their own. Parents are directly involved in the learning process every single day.
  • The program combines the activities of copywork and dictation, vocabulary, spelling, and handwriting all into one package.
  • Students learn to pay close attention to detail. The copywork especially helps them to pay close attention to each word, as well as the punctuation used in the passage.
  • There are no tests, and no anxiety. As a firm believer that tests do not necessarily reflect ability or skill, this is a huge plus.

Final Opinion

My children and I really love this method for learning to spell. I have never been a fan of spelling lists and memorization. I believe that there is a HUGE difference between memorization and true learning. In fact, until reviewing this program, we have gone a long time without a spelling curriculum in our homeschool at all for this very reason. I think Spelling You See is perfect for parents who, like me, want students to truly learn to spell, rather than just learn to memorize a list of words. I only really have 2 issues/ suggestions for the program. I do wish that there was a cursive option for the student books, since my children are past the printing stage. However, we were able to do the dictation portion in cursive, since the workbook just has blank lines for that activity anyway. I also hope that the program is extended to include other topics. American Spirit (Level E) focuses on American history. I hope that in the future, the publishers might consider other options as well, such as literature-based passages. These things aside, however, I think this is a fantastic program, and definitely one of the best options I have ever seen for teaching spelling naturally. I think students can benefit more from this method of teaching than from methods found in most other programs.

For further information, please visit the Spelling You See website. You can also follow Spelling You See on Facebook and Twitter.

Click to read Crew Reviews



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