We are embarking on our first tour of Essentials through Classical Conversations. And I have been spending much of the summer thinking about and creating resources to help my first time student with the work. I try to create everything beforehand and get everything lined up, so we can have breathing room during the year.
One of the things I came across when perusing the massive Essentials of the English Language guide, tucked in the very back, were spelling lists for each week, divided by tour. At first glance I didn’t think I would utilize these spelling lists. They seemed too easy for my first tour Essentials student.
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Our Experience with All About Spelling
We have been doing All About Spelling for the past two years with our two oldest students. We started Level 1 with our oldest at the beginning of her 2nd grade year. And we started our second student at Level 1 at the beginning of her 1st grade year.
Currently my new Essentials student is 4 lessons away from Level 6 and my 2nd grader just about half-way through level 4.
We have zoomed through these All About Spelling levels because we LOVE the process and procedures. I absolutely love All About Spelling because I am learning so many, many things I had never known before. It is unique because it teaches the student to analyze a word in order to break it down and follow the rules. Even I enjoy this analysis.
My students’ favorite part of All About Spelling is the homophones. They simply delight in them. The introduction to homophones is in Level 4 of All About Spelling. At least 4 times a week, one of them will run up to me and announce, “Mama, I have a homophone!” Then they will regale me with the two words, their spellings and will use them in two sentences to show me the difference.
I guess you could say we are creating little grammar nerds around here.
Essentials Spelling Meets All About Spelling
Anyway, back to the Essentials Spelling Lists – they are way over-simplified for my students. But I am a big proponent of review. So, I am taking the opportunity to review All About Spelling with the weekly Essentials Spelling Lists.
I have created some resources for these lists. I made some “bookmarks” for each week. There are 3 different versions for three different scenarios of Essentials classrooms within the home.
These versions should hopefully cover your current tour of Essentials, even if you have students in two different tours this year. You can get the appropriate sets of bookmarks to meet your needs in my shop.
NOTE: if you are new to All About Spelling and/or Essentials, I recommend you go to Level 1 of All About Spelling for your spelling instruction. Or you can take a placement test for All About Spelling that will gauge your student’s appropriate level.
I do not recommend that you do All About Spelling and the Essentials Spelling lists concurrently. I am only using the Essentials lists to review material already covered by our studies in All About Spelling.
Matching-up Essentials Spelling and All About Spelling
I wanted to go a bit further and create a match-up for the All About Spelling levels and the Essentials Spelling lists. That way, if we run into trouble with a certain word or list, we can easily review the concept in our All About Spelling books – which provide superior instruction beyond a simple list.
As I did this, I was more an more convinced that All About Spelling is the way to go for teaching spelling. To me it is much more logical and incremental. For those of you that know my love of Saxon Math, you know I love incremental development!
It appears to me the Essentials word lists (based on Spelling Plus) are attempting to teach the student the different ways a phoneme can be used in a word all at one time. All About Spelling does the same thing, but in a much more methodical, review-heavy way. Both programs utilize the Orton-Gillingham method of teaching phonetics, but with drastically different time-tables.
I noticed there were many times when a particular Essentials spelling list included words taught in up to four different levels of All About Spelling. That said, I recommend All About Spelling’s pacing – it feels a bit less schizophrenic to me.
Anyway, as I said, the match-up I created for Essentials Spelling list A shows the words in the list followed by the Levels and Steps you can find those specific words taught. I also noted Rule Breakers and words not taught in All About Spelling.
I hope it is a blessing to you as you endeavor on your first Essentials journey. Stay tuned for match-ups for Essentials Spelling lists B and C.
More All About Spelling Resources
As I mentioned I LOVE our choice of All About Spelling. I have some posts to help get you started and keep your kids motivated through the lessons. Here’s a handy reference list:
- Simply All About Spelling – the keys to spelling success
- Organizing All About Spelling – we only lost one letter tile in our years of using AAS!
- Alliterative Affirmations bookmark – a fun way to delight your children and expand their vocabulary as you work through Spelling lists.
- All About Spelling Sheets – I created simple printable worksheets to help with penmanship and organization
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