Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spelling You See: Listen and Write - Level A {Schoolhouse Review}

We are always excited to try new things when it comes to homeschooling.  Our homeschooling style is eclectic which makes it very easy to add in new programs at any point in our schooling.  Spelling You See has been a great addition to our daily lessons at home.

Spelling You See was created by the brilliant people who also created Math-U-See.  I have heard many, many great things about Math You See over the years but never had to opportunity to use their program.  That word of mouth advertising though, is the main reason that I jumped to apply for this review of Spelling You See and I have not been disappointed.

I was able to choose from any of the five levels of Spelling You See to review with our family.  The level that fit best was Spelling You See: Listen and Write - Level A.  This level is for children who are just beginning to learn about writing and develop important skills like writing letters.  I chose it for Laycie who will be turning six in April.  I think this level could be used for children in the 4-6 age range, those who are able to recognize letters but are learning their sounds and shapes still.  Laycie fits this stage of writing.  She knows her basic skills but is learning to write them all.

Spelling You See: Listen and Write - Level A contains 36 lessons.  Each of these lessons are divided into 5 separate parts of A-E levels.  Since this is for younger children, these lessons should take no longer than 10 minutes daily.  Some of our lessons took less time and some took  more time depending mostly on Laycie's interest for the day and her skill at writing that particular letter.

Our Spelling You See: Listen and Write - Level A lessons came as a printable PDF file for review purpose only.   As I mentioned above, I chose this level to use with Laycie since she is currently learning to read and write her letters along with simple words.  It's worked great for us.

Spelling You See: Listen and Write - Level A came with a printable Guide to Handwriting sheet that shows letter formation.  This was great for me to be able to view at a quick glance as I worked with Laycie.  I printed a copy for myself and a copy for Laycie to practice writing on.  So it could be reused, I quickly ran Laycie's copy through the laminator.  This allowed her to practice her letter formation with the guide over and over again, which helped her see how the letter formations related to each other and also allowed her to be able to write the letters that she wanted to write at the time.  Since I received this product as a PDF set for review, I am unsure if the Guide for Handwriting comes laminated or not when purchased.

We also received a the Listen and Write Instructor's Handbook with our Spelling You See program.  This 48-page handbook covers everything you need to know to "teach" the Spelling You See program to your child.  Since this handbook is only 48-pages in length it can easily be used without the educator becoming overwhelmed.

The Listen and Write Instructor's Handbook begins with an Introduction to the Spelling You See program following the Table of Contents.  In this section, you learn about the ideas behind Spelling You See. It also covers the Five Developmental Stages of Spelling from Preliterate up to Derivational Constancy.  Curriculum Sequence and Placement is also covered in this section and on the website as well to help you choose the best fit for your child's educational level.

The next section is Getting Started.  This section tells you exactly what your student will be covering in this level of the program.  An explanation of how the Daily Worksheets will be used is covered in Getting Started.  The Writing Skills covered in this particular lesson level are covered next, followed by the which important concepts are also covered within this lesson level of the Spelling You See program.

In Spelling You See: Listen and Write - Level A covers the vowels of A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y and W.  It teaches that every word has at least one vowel.  It teaches all the consonants and that every letter that is not a vowel is a consonant. 

The first three lessons of Spelling You See: Listen and Write - Level A cover Letter Formation beginning skills and recognizing consonant sounds.  The fourth lesson begins teaching your student dictation skills and each subsequent lesson continues building upon these skills, along with introducing other important spelling skills.  Lesson 7 teaches the child to read the word back to the teacher which helps strengthen the student's reading skills.

In the back of the Listen and Write Instructor's Handbook, there are lists of resources for dictation instruction.  There is a Daily Dictation List to choose from or a General Dictation List, depending upon what the lesson being used calls for.  These lists contain simple words that are easily learned by children.

There is also a mini-glossary in the back of the Listen and Write Instructor's Handbook to explain basic Spelling terms and their purpose for Spelling You See.  Following this is a Bibliography of the resources used to create the Spelling You See program.

Last but not least, we received Spelling You See: Listen and Write - Level A Student Workbook.  This workbook begins with a short explanation of how to use the workbook.  Following this section, the workbook jumps directly into the student's worksheets.

Each worksheet in this workbook begins with a page number and the focus of the worksheet.  Next is a short checklist of important steps for the student to follow such as using the correct pencil grip, following the handwriting guide, using lowercase style lettering, and speaking the sound as it's being written.

The next part on the page is the instruction line which tells the child what to do.  The letters which are to be traced follow this section and the child will need to view the Handwriting Guide to learn the correct letter formation or be accompanied by an adult to ensure the correct formation for writing the letter.

 Following this is another set of instructions to listen to words and then write them.  These instructions are followed by two lines of boxes.  The first line contains the full words in the box written in gray so children can trace the words.  The second set of boxes contain two blank boxes and one letter box so that children can learn to write the words for themselves.

This pattern continues until all the letters of the alphabet are covered in lesson 7.  During lesson 8 children begin to do letter and word review, using mostly dictation to complete the lessons.  By the end of Spelling You See: Learn and Write - Level A children will be able to read and write simple 5 letter words.

We've been working through this program for a few weeks now and Laycie loves it.  She's learned so much about her letters, writing and reading through it.  We don't rush the lessons and she works through as she wishes to, working a little daily.  A few days we've repeated lessons because she wasn't as interested the day before.  The lessons are so simple that sometimes we do them on the weekends.

This program has been great with the older kids too.  I've surprised them with reviews of simple three, four and five letter words while we've been reviewing this product.  They also enjoy the design of the worksheets, as does Laycie, even though they are each at different levels.  It works for each of them and I believe this program will be great for Jackson when the time comes as well.  He's still a bit young for it though.  I'm currently looking into upper levels of the program for the older kids to use.

Spelling You See: Listen and Write - Level A is available for purchase only in print.  Though my review product was PDF, it is not an option for purchasing the program at this time.

Spelling You See: Listen and Write - Level A costs $20 for the Student Pack.  This pack includes the student workbook, a sticker packet for use with the program, and the Guide for Handwriting.  The Spelling You See: Listen and Write - Level A Instructor's Handbook is available for an additional $14.  This handbook explains how to correctly use the program as I mentioned in my review above.

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