It’s a new season for so many of us in homeschooling and I wanted to take a moment to have a conversation with you about why Spelling You See uses guidelines instead of assessment tools for our placement process.
Spelling You See and Grade Levels
Parents often ask, “So what grade level is Spelling You See for?” Grade level really has nothing to do with it. Rather, the focus of the program is to create that visual response that is the hallmark of a good speller. “Does that word look right?” is such an important phrase for a good speller. Spelling You See is for any age student who desires to improve their spelling. We even have parents who have used it successfully alongside their children!
Why We Focus on Reading Skills
In the Spelling You See curriculum, once we step into levels C and above, we look at placement predicated on reading skill. Why, you ask? We need a student’s spelling experiences to be easier than their reading experiences. If a student must focus on the pronunciation of words to be able to understand their meaning, then they do not have the ability to focus on the patterns in the words to commit them to memory. Typically, spelling skill lags about two years behind reading skill.
You see, once we have cracked the code of reading, then reading skill usually takes off. Since reading is also known as decoding, the more we read, the better we can read, and the more adept we become at decoding and reading those words we have not encountered before.
Developing Spelling with Context
However, spelling is the opposite skill of reading. When we spell, we do so visually, and in fact, sound becomes errant. Context becomes key to developing the visual skill of spelling. Prove it, Gretchen. If I ask you to spell a word in English that has three different forms: “there”, “their”, and ‘they’re” you must know in what context I want the word in order to know what spelling to offer in return. This example also points out an inherent flaw in spell check – because spell check does not verify context. If the word pattern is correct, spell check will not bother with the fact that you have the wrong form of the word in the sentence.
Spelling You See Placement
Placement for Spelling You See is dictated by guidelines, which consider the age and reading skills of your child(ren).
If your child is…
• Not yet reading
• Beginning to show a desire to read
• Can identify most letters of the alphabet
• Can write fairly comfortably
• Understands that letters makes sounds
…they are a perfect candidate for Spelling You See Level A, Listen and Write.
• Can your student:
• Focus on a worksheet for ten minutes?
• Write fairly comfortably?
• Give the sounds of most letters
AND is beginning to read, they are a tremendous candidate for our Spelling You See Level B, Jack and Jill.
Level C and Above
The guidelines for Levels C through F are predicated more on reading ability. Placement is more dependent on your student’s reading skill.
For placement in levels C and above there is one caveat that has to do with those students for whom spelling is difficult in all aspects. You may have a student whose spelling skill set suggests that they would be best served in Level C (or below) – but they are an older student, age 10 or older. Then we must return to the question about their reading proficiency. A 14-year-old would be better placed in Level D, as long as he or she could read the passages without difficulty, to maintain interest levels.
Since developing the skill of visual spelling can take up to four years we will always suggest that a student who struggles never be placed higher than Level E – doing so gives them time to develop that visual skill.
Spelling placement is not a hard and fast rubric. Instead, we want to place a student where their experiences are, as my grandson says, “easy peasy, lemon squeezy”. Use the guidelines as a starting place for your student’s placement.
We Are Here to Help You With Placement
If you experience any hiccups with placement, we encourage you to get in touch with us so that we can help you. We want you, and your student, to be successful in your spelling journey.