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Natural Speller: Review & Helps

Natural Speller: Review & Helps

Natural Speller by Kathryn Stout is part of a series of books from Design-A-Study that help the DIY homeschoool Mom craft her own custom curriculum, focusing on going at the student’s pace, while working toward mastery.  It is the only book you need to teach spelling from the time your child is reading well to the time he enters high school.  Let me tell you how we used it.

Teaching spelling has been one of the most fascinating learning experiences…for me!  If I had to summarize what I have learned about the subject it would be: learn to spell, spell.  No, really.

We don’t learn to spell by memorizing words and taking spelling tests!  But then, most of us know this from personal experience.

Since a person’s intelligence is frequently measured by how well he can spell, the subject cannot just be left to itself.

The greatest aid to learning how to spell is simply building the habit of focusing on spelling.

We used a three-pronged approach:

  1. Since our children were writing every day, any words they had trouble spelling were pulled from their own writing and added to a list of words to focus on.  These are words they were already using and were interested in learning how to spell correctly.  This method draws from the motivation within to build a better speller!
  2. At the same time, once our children were reading well, we spent a short season focusing on how words are spelled, or word families.  What spelling principles does that word they are trying to spell follow?  This is where Natural Speller came in.
  3. Once they developed the habit of paying attention to the spelling of words (somewhere around the eighth-grade level), we spent another short season focusing on commonly misspelled words.

Natural Speller is basically a series of word family lists sorted by grade.  So, for example, the one vowel short a sound list includes:

  • an
  • and
  • ran
  • can
  • man
  • than
  • plan
  • am

Other words that are useful for the grade level are also included in additional word category lists, such as number words, colors, homophones, and contractions.

Spelling and grammar skills, activities, dictionary skills, and writing suggestions are available.  For the older student Greek word parts and Latin roots are also included.

The teacher will find spelling rules in the back.  We had the student keep a spelling notebook and write these principles at the top of his paper before working through the words on the list.  You can read more about how we did this in our 10 Steps to Build a Better Speller.

Natural Speller is truly the only book you need to teach your children how to spell while building the habit of focusing on their spelling.  Since it allows a child to proceed at his own pace, it is an excellent resource for those with advanced or delayed learners.  An valuable tool for the homeschool handy mom!

 

Additional Resources

10 Steps to Build a Better Speller
How we taught spelling.

10 Ways to Use Notebooking: Grammar10 Ways to Use Notebooking: #5 Grammar & Spelling
A few spelling notebook ideas.