One of my kiddos has a hard time with spelling, so when members of the Crew were given a variety of options from Memoria Press, I selected their multi-sensory spelling curriculum. We’ve been reviewing this program for the past several weeks, and I am astonished. It’s been an amazing fit for this child, and we’ve definitely noticed some improvements in his spelling abilities.
Simply Classical Spelling Book One: Step-by-Step Words and Simply Classical Spelling Book Two: Step-by-Step Words make up the Simply Classical Spelling curriculum. It’s very different from anything we’ve used for spelling in the past, and I must say, I truly think this is a phenomenal product for kids who struggle with spelling.
What Is Simply Classical Spelling?
Created by Cheryl Swope, Simply Classical Spelling uses a multi-sensory approach to word and sound recognition. As students complete each lesson, they work on concentration, memory work, and phonological skills. These all work together to offer fantastic support for a struggling learner. This program uses a phonics based oral spelling method that integrates many different areas of the brain.
Simply Classical Spelling is a two-book set, Book One and Book Two. These are consumable. There isn’t a corresponding teacher’s guide, as the Teaching Notes are included in the beginning of each book.
Book One has 34 weeks of material, including 30 weeks of spelling lists. Book Two focuses on spelling patterns, with an emphasis on phonograms, multi-syllabic words, and vowel patterns. In Book Two, there are also 34 weeks of instruction.
Each book has an Appendix at the end, with additional material, including a scope and sequence.
In the Teacher Notes section, you will find a recommended schedule to use to work through the material.
A Multi-Sensory Approach to Spelling
By now, you may be wondering exactly what a multi-sensory approach to spelling is. Simply, it’s a way to engage more of a student’s brain by utilizing multiple senses.
In Simply Classical Spelling Book One: Step-by-Step Words , students are involving their senses of touch, sight, and listening. On the first day, they are saying the words out loud and spelling them orally in a rhythm that is easy for them to remember.
Rhythm really helps kids memorize material. Think about how quickly they learn the words to a new song.
On the second day, it’s time for some hands-on practice to really help cement the material in your child’s brain. They trace the letters, and have the option of writing them on a board, using sidewalk chalk, or doing any number of creative, tactile practice with the words they are learning.
Each day provides a new opportunity for practice and review. This repetition helps students to really learn the spelling of the word.
On day three, the students write the words in the air, and pictures the words in their mind.
An oral quiz on day four helps ensure the student has learned the word. And on the optional day five, students review any words they missed and practices writing them.
Simply Classical Spelling Book Two: Step-by-Step Words, the activities are a little different, but they still have the goal of involving multiple senses to learn to spell.
On the first day of each week with this book, students work on memorizing the spelling of the words. They focus on the phonetic pattern in the Key Words for the lesson. In the Words to Know section, kids learn that some words are rule breakers, and they just have to memorize them.
Students then see the words in context, and create their own oral sentences using the word..
On day two, students trace the words and play a game with the words they haven’t yet mastered.
On the third day, students write in the air and do a focused word study to provide additional spelling practice. Another game is used at this stage, to help reinforce the words in an engaging manner.
This book ends with a quiz on day four and dictation practice on day five.
How We Used This Product
I had my son start with the first book, even though the words at the beginning are simple words like nut, give, and face. I opted to start here, as I wanted him to gain confidence in his ability to succeed in spelling before he started learning new words.
This approach seemed to work, and he enjoyed this program more than the spelling curricula we’ve tried in the past.
Since we only homeschool four days a week, we skipped the optional review on day five. If I felt like more review was needed, I wrote the words he needed to practice on index cards and we played some games with them.
Game based learning is really motivating for this particular child.
Why I Think This Is the Best Spelling Program for Kids Who Struggle with Spelling
I’ve had the opportunity to check out many spelling programs over the course of my seven years in the classroom and years of homeschooling my own kids. I have tried many different products.
But, Simply Classical Spelling really stands out in my mind as superior. Here’s why:
It’s Not Grade Based
You can’t look at this book and know that it’s for grade 1 or whatever. Yes, it’s designed for kids working at a 1st-3rd grade level. But, it doesn’t flash that on the cover.
When you have a child who is struggling and knows they are struggling, it can be very discouraging for them to be working in an “out of grade” book.
It Doesn’t Have a Lot of Writing
I really appreciate the role that oral learning plays in this curriculum. My son struggles with writing, and most spelling curricula have tons of written practice involved. By being able to practice orally, spelling became less of a struggle.
It’s Simple, But Not Babyish
The words in this book start off simple. But, there are no “babyish” pictures, or anything else to remind kids that they are working on simple words.
Both books are very simple, with no distractions.
There’s Enough Space
Since writing is a struggle, letters tend to be written on the larger side. I really appreciate that this book provides ample space for practicing.
It Helps Build Confidence
This book not only helped improve my son’s spelling, but also his reading. As he worked on memorizing the new words each week, he as able to find many of them in his reading material. This gave him confidence and helped him more eagerly approach many subjects, not just spelling.
If you have a child who is struggling with spelling, I highly recommend Simply Classical Spelling from Memoria Press. I am going to have my son continue with book 1 and start on book 2 when he finishes. I’m excited to continue watching his progress!
Members of the crew had several different products to choose from, including some neat looking history products: The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set and 200 Questions About American History set. To learn more about the products we explored, and how we used them in our homeschool, click on the banner below.