Recently, members of the crew were offered their choice of four curriculum available from Memoria Press ranging in subject and grade level.
For this review, I selected the Simply Classical Spelling program. This included two books - Simply Classical Spelling Book One: Step-by-Step Words and Simply Classical Spelling Book Two: Step-by-Step Words. This spelling program is for grade levels 1st-3rd as well as struggling writers. I selected this selection because while my son excels in many different aspects of his homeschool education, language arts has always been a huge struggle with him.
Written by Cheryl Swope, Simply Classical Spelling approaches word/sound recognition using a multi-sensory approach. Students work thru necessary skills such as concentration, memory work, and phonological processing to help students to master spelling. This program uses a phonics based oral spelling method .
We were given both Book One and Book Two of the Simply Classical Spelling program. These are consumable workbooks that the student completes their work in. No other materials are needed to teach this spelling curriculum.
Book One works to introduce beginning sight words as well as consonant/vowel/consonant words, silent e words, plurals, consonant blends, consonant digraphs and possessives. Book one includes 34 weeks of lessons with 30 different spelling lists. It is a softcover book printed in black ink on white paper and is 76 pages in length.
Book Two continues with more advanced combinations of phonograms, multi-syllabic words and includes more challenging words each week. After studying words each week, students then can be tested to identify specific sounds, write the words that are comprised by those sounds, and then write full sentences using those words. Book Two also includes 34 weeks of lessons. This softcover book is 154 pages in length and is also printed in black ink on white paper. The last 20 pages of this book include an index that include weekly dictations, weekly assessments (spelling tests), a scope and sequence for the course, and a "Certificate of Merit" at the end that is presented to the child after completion of the book.
How We Used It
While Garrett is above the target age/grade for this program, I really thought he could benefit from it. Garrett has really struggled with reading and spelling. Being a special needs student, Garrett has a hard time making connections between letters in order to create sounds. For example, Garrett recognizes the word "car" and will pronounce it properly most of the time. However, the word "care" will more times than not trip him up and he will want to pronounce it much the same as "car". If I remind him "What does the E make the A do?" he will instantly make the connection and then pronounce the word properly and proceeds until he comes across the word again and the cycle continues.
For our review period, we initially began working with Book One. However, after two weeks, we switched to Book Two simply because I thought he could benefit more from the format as well as the more advanced words included in those lessons.
Because Simply Classical Spelling takes a multi-sensory approach, it seems to read Garrett on a different level then simply repetition does.
This was the Week 1 work from Book 1. These lessons consisted of two pages per week with activities using these words spread out over the course of the week. The spelling list consisted of 5 spelling words along with two to three "Words to Know".
For Monday, Garrett would have to read the word aloud, spell each word out aloud, and also read the words in context section. Tuesday, he was asked to again read and spell the words aloud and he would identify the patterns he found find in each word (CVC words, short e words, ect). Wednesdays again he would read and spell the words aloud from the book and then we would have him close his book while I asked him to spell the word for memory. Thursday we would do a spelling test where he would write the word dictated to him. Depending on how he performed on this test, he would spend Friday working on the words he misspelled until he could recite it correctly.
After two weeks of using Book One, I made the decision to instead switch him to Book 2. Our use of this book following much of the same format as the weekly schedule for Book One, however, the weekly lessons in Book 2 are much more time consuming.
Book 2's spelling list consists of 8 words (although a few lessons have 9 words) as their Key Words as well as five "Words to Know". Each week, the Key Words follow a specific spelling rule, such as Short A words, Double Consonant words, CK words, ect. Each lesson consists of 4 pages in total to be works over the course of the week.
Using Book 2 was much similar to using Book 1. Day 1 was spent introducing the key words and the words to know. Garrett would read the words aloud and spell them and well as reading the sentences provided in the "Words in Context" section. He would also take the time to write the word one time on the provided blanks. On Tuesday, he would again read and spell each word, and read the sentences. Day Three he would again recite the words and on this day he would write each of the words a second time on the blanks provided.
Thursday he would again have a quiz where he would have a quiz. This quiz would simply be my reading each of the spelling words aloud and Garrett would have to write them properly from memory. Any words incorrect he would then have to go back and correct and write three times in order to help him remember next time.
The final part of the program is the Friday Dictation. I would simply use the list provided for each week in the appendix in the back of the book. These dictation quizzes included him having to identify the sound I dictated, write the words dictated, and write the sentences that I dictated to him.
While we are only a few weeks into Book 2, I am finding that it has been helping Garrett develop some confidence in actually writing in another curriculum that we are using. While he's not composing large paragraphs, he is writing more than he has in the past without complaints, using many of the words he has studied so far with this program. I highly recommend Simply Classical Spelling for any family who has a very reluctant writer/speller, especially special needs students, as it's approach really seems to work well for these types of students.
For more information about Simply Classical Spelling or any of the other offerings from Memoria Press, be sure to visit their website. You can also find them on the following social media platforms:
Members of the Crew were offered their choice of four products for different age/grades from Memoria Press. Be sure to click the banner below to read their reviews.