As a fan of the popular Math-U-See program from Demme Learning, I was excited when they announced a new sister program: Spelling You See. I squealed when I saw that the Schoolhouse Review Crew had the opportunity to review the five brand new levels of this developmentally based homeschool spelling program. Hot off the presses Supergirl and I received Spelling You See: Jack and Jill (Level B).
Years ago I fell in love with the idea of using copywork and dictation to teach language arts. Spelling would, of course, be a part of that process with students using copywork to learn the proper spelling and dictation would reveal any weak spelling areas. My reality didn’t match my theory. Copywork combined with dictation was not enough to ensure that my oldest daughter was learning proper spelling.
What makes Spelling You See different?
Spelling You See was developed by Karen J. Holinga and is based on The Five Developmental Stages of Spelling. Spelling You See does not include lists of words for students to memorize or activities to do each day for a specific set of words. Spelling You See utilizes copywork, dictation and chunking to help students develop their visual memory and to see patterns in words.
Description of Jack and Jill (Level B):
The student pack includes two student workbooks, a package of erasable color pencils and a laminated “Guide to Handwriting.” The program consists of 36 weeks of lessons divided into 5 days of work. Each day consists of a two-facing-page spread. (Note: in the last few lessons of Part 2 the second page says “turn the page to write this week’s story from dictation,” so those lessons contain 2, two page spreads.) On the left-side is the weekly rhyme or the next section of the weekly rhyme. On the right-side, depending on the lesson and day, the student will complete copywork or dictation or both.
Part 1 contains Lessons 1-18. These lessons start very simply with CVC pattern short vowel words used as copywork in Lesson 1 and progresses to 5 letter words from dictation in lesson 18. Part 1 uses letter boxes to help students make the correlation between the letter and the sound. Some of the boxes are shaded to indicate vowels.
On page one of each day’s work is a box with 3 instructions. I love that box! Or rather I love the variety of work covered with instruction number 3 part 1. These instructions are things like “help you student identify the rhyming words and underline them.” I especially like the instructions that point out punctuation or proper use of capital letters. Chunking replaces the 3rd instruction in Part 2.
Chunking, finding and marking patterns in the words, begins gradually in Part 1 and becomes a daily activity in Part 2. Students use highlighters or colored pencils, (I love the erasable colored pencils that come with the student pack!) to identify vowel chunks, endings, consonant chunks. There is a “Guide to Chunking” section of the Instructors Manual that starts on page 33. Specific colors are assigned to the different types of patterns.
Jack and Jill Instructor’s Handbook:
This isn’t a thick and unwieldy book; it’s only 72 pages, but it is stuffed full of information including instructions for each of the lessons, a guide to chunking, a description of No Rule Day, an explanation of Letter Box Dictation, an answer key, and more! In addition to a section about the philosophy of the program, there is also a bibliography. This is a separate purchase from the student pack but I believe this is necessary to successfully implement Spelling You See.
Using Jack and Jill (Level B):
When I was investigating this vendor to determine my interest level in reviewing, I fell in love with the description and the philosophy. I was, however, a bit concerned about which level to use with Supergirl. It was clear to me that Level A would be far too easy, at least at the beginning, but I was afraid that Level B would move too quickly and that Supergirl wouldn’t be able to keep up at the suggested pace. I thought I would have to slow down or make adjustments. I was wrong. Spelling You See uses a gentle, incremental, developmental approach. Jack and Jill is the right level for her.
I started out using the program 3-4 days a week so that we could concentrate on specific handwriting practice 1-2 days a week. Although it isn’t necessary to finish all five days of each lesson, I thought Supergirl would get the most benefit from using all five days so at first we completed a lesson every 1 1/2 weeks. What I discovered though is that Supergirl could indeed handle handwriting and Spelling You See so long as they were spaced out. She would work on her handwriting workbook in the morning and we would complete a day of Jack and Jill in the afternoon. The Guide to Handwriting has been very helpful for Supergirl. It’s a great reminder tool to help her remember how to form the letter so that her brain can concentrate on the spelling skill she is learning.
One cute side-effect of using this program: Supergirl has started to keep a notebook where she writes words she has learned. She particularly likes to write cat, mom, dad but also has been known to write words like fox. A second benefit that I’ve noticed: less reversing of b, and d. She is far more likely to correct write a b or d because she is learning the words in context and not in isolation. Her reading fluency has also improved from reading back (decoding) the words she has written (encoding).
Thoughts from Supergirl:
I like it because of the rhymes. I like how I get to use the color pencils. I used the eraser on the colored pencil. It’s not too hard. It’s just right for me. I like doing my copywork with my handwriting guide to help me.
I am pleased with the gentle, incremental approach. I love that my daughter is wanting to write words independently in her notebook. I love that she is doing copywork and being introduced to dictation. Supergirl has already asked if we can do Level C. I told her we still have plenty of Level B to complete but that yes, we would consider purchasing Level C when she is ready. I do highly recommend this program. I think this program would have helped Boobear more than any other program we tried.
- The Vender: Spelling You See
- The Product: Jack and Jill (Level B)
- The Author: Karen J. Holinga
- The Publisher: Demme Learning
- Format: Consumable workbooks with perforated pages for the student. Paperback Instructor’s Guide.
- Age Recommendation: Spelling You See is intended for elementary aged students. They can be used for older children needing remedial work. Each level is ungraded but placement information is available.
- Price: Jack and Jill (Level B) Instructor’s Guide is $16. The Student Pack is $30.
- Currently Available: Level A through Level E is currently available. Levels F & G will be coming soon!
- Visit the Jack and Jill (Level B) product page to find a link for a SAMPLE of that level.
You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews to find more great products.