My sweet daughter struggles with reading and writing; not sure why either because she can do both quite well. It seems to be more of an issue of confidence than ability. Because of that I am constantly looking for ways I can encourage her in her reading and writing – building confidence with simple skills, progressing to those more complex ones as she is ready. We were very excited to review Simply Classical Spelling Book One: Step-by-Step Words and Simply Classical Spelling Book Two: Step-by-Step Words, recommended for 1st-3rd grade created for special needs learners, from Memoria Press. I just love this company! We have been blessed with so many of their materials and every one of them has been a hit with my kids!
What do I love about this company? Maybe it is how simple their materials are to uses. It could be the way in which they train the mind; these materials aren’t about reading and reciting information so much as about developing care and concentration for the work at hand. Even something as simple as spelling can help our kids learn so much more: concentration, memory, attention, executive function skills (something new I am learning all about). With these materials my daughter is training her mind, word by word. Every page requires her to read, remember and recite.
There is a suggested pattern for how to use these workbooks (in case you need a little help getting started). These have fun names like:
- Memorize Monday
- Hands-on Touch Tuesday
- Write High Wednesday
- Thursday Quiz Day
- Optional Fifth Day
My daughter was SO excited when these books arrived and she learned that there were all for her! She got to work right away; I actually had to stop her so we could go over everything together. I love when I see enthusiasm like that in my children. Especially when its in one who tends to get more anxious when it comes time to work. Book One contains 34 weeks of instruction with 30 spelling lists. Only 70+ pages, this book introduces basic sight words; this is a simple start that, for my daughter, was more about confidence building than anything else. Four days of lessons, with an optional fifth day, each week had its own list of spelling words for her to master. There are so many creative ways to be able to learn and master spelling and reading!
How do we get started using this? There is a spelling list for each week that we start with, reading those words, then moving on to write them. We moved through these pretty quickly; Since a lot of this involved words she already knew, she was quite eager to do her pages each day. I love that this really built up her confidence, making her more sure of her abilities. Each day’s lesson was short and simple so she wasn’t overwhelmed or overworked. She had a great time reading and spelling words both on the pages and out loud. Other days were dedicated to remembering how to spell the words – some days she would spell them out using playdough or tiles from our bananagram game. It was fun to use our whiteboard too and make games for her to play as she practices remembering the words and the letters in them. We also had fun each week quizzing the words she learned. She could sing them, write them or just shout them out while playing outside.
The second book challenged her a bit more (in a much needed kind of way). Book Two contains 34 weeks of instruction and focuses on words grouped by vowels, consonants, and other sounds. Here we began to really focus on proper capitalization and punctuation in writing. For this book we worked for four days on spelling words (five days if there were some words she was struggling with). There were also flashcards and games that were played to help make remembering the words much more fun! One of my daughters favorite things to do was to bounce her ball or jump rope as she spelled out her words for the week. A great way to get that extra energy out while still working on the things we need to have done for the day! This book also includes pages for dictation and assessments. There is even a certificate of completion of the book.
This is such a fun and simple too, way to learn and grow in our vocabulary. I know my daughter daily looked forward to doing her pages. She is hoping for the chance to do some spelling bee so I am thrilled that she is enjoying and wanting to do more! I think the multisensory approach that these books take is a real benefit for any struggling learners. For us mommas, this is so simple because all you need is right there. This really is a simple, gentle approach to spelling that helps to build their confidence with small lessons, slowly building their abilities. I cannot say enough how pleased we have been with these books. We will certainly be continuing to use more of their materials with our daughter. What a wonderful way to encourage our younger, or struggling, learners in a fun and gentle way.
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