Cynthia sent me a copy of her workbook after we had been chatting about Wanda Sanseri's spelling and phonics program, Spell to Write And Read. I have used and loved Wanda's program but was experiencing some difficulty with my older son. He was resisting using the program because his younger brother was also using it and Jon didn't feel he "needed" it any longer. The trouble was, he did need spelling instruction. That's where Cynthia's program came into our lives. I am very thankful that it did!
Aimed at older students, I think this program is the perfect complement to Spell to Write and Read. Those who have or are using SWR, will find this program very familiar. For those who aren't, it would be a good companion to most text based spelling programs.
My Spelling Workbook contains lesson by lesson review and progression/development of the 70 basic phonograms used by Mrs. Sanseri. It also uses the same marking system for identifying the phonograms. Cynthia provides short lists with each lesson and focuses on a specific skill or a specific phonogram with each lesson. Spelling rules are incorporated into each lesson and the progression is quite rapid. Because it is designed as a complement to existing programs, the spelling lists are quite short and the lesson time is spent working on skills and building mastery of the rules needed to become proficient spellers. You could add this program into any "memory" based course where the students are given a list and expected to memorize the words for a test on Friday! The students will learn how to attack words they don't recognize and analyze them so they own them forever. Through the marking and identification process, the kids internalize the rules that govern spelling. There really aren't that many and by learning all the sounds that all the letters make, alone or in combination, your students will find their spelling woes disappearing and deciding on how to spell a specific word or knowing "why" it is spelt the way it is will no longer be a mystery.
The lessons in My Spelling Workbook move quickly and the complexity level increases rapidly. There are 180 lessons and the children will be dealing with words such as "contagious", and "allegiance", by the time they reach the end of the book.
I wouldn't recommend this in place of SWR, especially for younger students who need the one on one instruction and for whom the dictation process is still a vital part of their learning. If you have a child like my son, however, who needs reinforcement and extra practice with the rules of spelling, this workbook will be a great asset to you. Don't just hand it to your child and expect him to go through it totally on his own. The parent/child interaction is still needed and is an important part of internalizing these spelling rules.
This workbook is a great way for my son to absorb things he may have missed, come up to speed on areas he was dragging in, and build his self-esteem and confidence. I am pulling words from the higher lists in Sanseri's W.I.S.E. guide so he has a few more words with each lesson. The analyzing and interpretation skills he is honing will stand him in good stead the rest of his life.
Some of the specific skills the students work on include identifying and locating multi-letter phonograms within words, syllabication, and rule identification as they apply to certain types of words. Sometimes they write out a whole rule, sometimes they will fill in blanks of missing words to finish the rule. This enforces the memorizing of rules that they will carry with them in every writing experience they have. You may find if your child has been using a program that relies on memory rather than reason; he will have a bit of difficulty starting here. Cynthia has started very gently for that very purpose and you will soon see your child's self-confidence soar as he experiences success after success.
There are teacher's notes provided as well as a full set of answer pages. Cynthia is very approachable and is happy to answer questions. My Spelling Workbook is currently available through her via e-mail but hopefully it will soon be added to Wanda Sanseri's catalog page at Back Home Industries.
This is the perfect complement workbook. You can use it with any program to reinforce and encourage your child's spelling abilities. I am very happy with the format and the speed at which it progresses keeps my son motivated. It is a great fit for us!