All the spelling rules, spelled out for you! Wanda Sanseri has revised her well-known compendium of 2300 common and oft misspelled words. She has done an amazing and intricate job that takes tons of hassle and wonder from the shoulders of busy moms.
Those of you who use and love Wanda's W.I.S.E. Guide to Spelling and her newly published accompaniment, Spell to Write and Read, will love this little book. Mrs. Sanseri has taken 2300 English words and, listing them alphabetically, has marked them to visually depict how a word is constructed. The words in the Alpha List have been gathered from several sources, including the 2000 words in the WISE guide and Cathy Duffy's list of the most frequently misspelled words. States, continents, days, months, years, and many others are broken down and marked by their smallest parts, or phonograms. Mrs. Sanseri states that if a student can spell and read these words and their simple derivatives, he can spell and read 85% of everything he will ever encounter in the English language. Quite a goal, and one I'm sure is true after reading the list for myself. It is very comprehensive and very understandable.
I believe the Alpha Lists' most frequent job will be to solve the "how do I spell it" blues. This guide explains the reasons behind almost every spelling question you could imagine. Everything from why we have a 'U' in biscuit to why we drop the 'e' in argument. Your kids will be most impressed and they, in turn, can impress the socks off their friends! I use and love the Spell to Write and Read program and the WISE guide. The Alpha List will be a great guide for my older kids and speed up the process of answering my own questions and those of my always-curious eight-year-old son.
Each two-page spread in the guide is divided into four columns. The words are listed down the page and are marked according to the phonogram markings introduced in The WISE Guide. The next column across shows the placing of that particular word in the WISE guide. They are ordered according to when they were introduced in the spelling lists. This column is primarily of use in cross-referencing for the teacher. Next comes the comments column where you will find the answers to all of those questions you wondered about. This is also where you will find pronunciation pointers, plurals, roots, and an array of interesting explanations.
The next column shows which spelling rules apply to this particular word. Twenty-nine rules explain 99% of the one thousand most frequently used words. This column is important because when you learn the rules you can apply them to any word in any situation! It's a great feeling to finally say "oh, that's why!"
This great little guide is not a complete dictionary and many words are not here. It also does not give full definitions of all the words within. What it does do is teach us how to spell and, just as importantly, WHY to spell-and it does that well.