Skip to main content

Spelling Lessons with Explode the Code

DSC01684A couple of people have been asking on the boards, as I was at this time last year, how to transition from phonics to spelling. 
The assumption out there in education-land seems to be that phonics is baby stuff and spelling is how big kids learn.  Maybe they’re thinking of BOB Books and their ilk.  Since our disappointing experience with Spelling Workout earlier this year, and our return to Explode the Code, I have realize that this popular perception is not necessarily the case.  Why would they make Explode the Code books all the way up to level 8 and beyond – at least to a Grade Four level – if phonics becomes irrelevant (or less important) the minute a child is reading somewhat successfully?
In fact, it’s only now that Naomi’s reading fairly well that the phonics rules are starting to make sense, and Explode the Code guides her gently through understanding and navigating the maze that is spelling in English.
The only thing I really liked about Spelling Workout was the idea of a spelling LIST, and spelling TESTS that would check to make sure that she was absorbing the material.  And then I realized, a couple of months ago, that there’s no reason I can’t use Explode the Code lesson words as a spelling list in just the same way.   So I’ve developed a technique that works extremely well for us, offering (kinda) rigourous spelling review along with a thorough, rules-based phonics curriculum.
Here’s what I do:
  • Before we start phonics, I give her a sheet of paper to number 1-6 in the margin.  NOTE:  I only do this if her current work is a continuation of a previous day's activity.  I would never "cold-test" a child with words she hadn't worked with before!!!
  • I remind her of the “lesson rule.”  Today’s rule was that the “oh” sound is more often seen as “oa” INSIDE a word and “ow” at the END of a word.
  • Then, I hold the phonics lesson pages and choose 6 words from the current lesson to dictate.  I number them so I don’t forget which words I picked.  Today, she asked me to quiz her on “February” as well, because we did this in First Language Lessons last time, so I added it in as #2.  Why 6 words?  I felt like 8 was too many; 6 gives me some idea of whether she’s mastered the current rule and the “lesson words.”
  • Then, I mark her spelling test.  She loves seeing her mark, no matter what it is!  Today, she drew in the fraction, leaving the numerator blank so I could fill in her mark out of 7 (which was 7).
  • If she’s gotten a word wrong (100% is rare, because her spelling is still kind of random!), I give her the phonics pages and have her correct it right away based on the correct spelling.
  • THEN, if the current lesson doesn’t contain a “test” – the wrap-up page at the end of a lesson – I do another test at the end of our phonics time.  She usually manages to get 100% the second time around.  Today, I didn’t make her do it a second time because she got 100% the first time.  I don’t see any point, never have, in testing kids on words they know well already.
 DSC01685
(In today’s lesson, she decided the “toad” looked too much like a frog – so she’s written in her own choice at the top of the page, then circled it and written it neatly on the line below.  Hurrah for independent thinkers!)
As with everything else, this is what works for us… I’d love to hear what you’re doing to adapt the programs you love as your kids get older and more capable!

Popular posts from this blog

לימודי קודש/Limudei Kodesh Copywork & Activity Printables

Welcome to my Limudei Kodesh / Jewish Studies copywork and activity printables page.  As of June 2013, I am slowly but surely moving all my printables over to 4shared because Google Docs / Drive is just too flaky for me. What you’ll find here: Weekly Parsha Copywork More Parsha Activities More Chumash / Tanach Activities Yom Tov Copywork & Activities Tefillah Copywork Pirkei Avos / Pirkei Avot Jewish Preschool Resources Other printables! For General Studies printables and activities, including Hebrew-English science resources and more, click here . For Miscellaneous homeschool helps and printables, click here . If you use any of my worksheets, activities or printables, please leave a comment or email me at Jay3fer “at” gmail “dot” com, to link to your blog, to tell me what you’re doing with it, or just to say hi!  If you want to use them in a school, camp or co-op setting, please email me (remove the X’s) for rates. If you just want to say Thank You, here’s a

Ancient Auction Secret: If Chinese auctions are racist, why do Jews love them so much?

Ah, Jews, Jews, Jews, Jews.  You sure do love your Chinese auctions, don’t you? It seems that even in an era of political correctness, within certain circles, this term just will not die . And frankly, I’m mortified. I’m not Chinese, but I have family who is Chinese.  Some are Korean, as well.  I guess this makes us more ethnically diverse than many Jews, but I suspect most Jewish families are moving in this direction.  Still.  Even if we don’t know a single Chinese person, we should still stop calling it that. First of all… is it actually racist to call it a Chinese auction? I figured I’d let Chinese people decide.  But when I turned to Google to find out how Chinese people feel about Chinese auctions, what I found was mostly… nothing.  Silence.  I did find some debate (presumably among non-Chinese people) over whether it was too far in the direction of political correctness to refer to these as a “silent auction” or (as in some parts of the States) a “tricky tray.”  (Ok

Hebrew/ עברית & English General Studies Printables

For Jewish Studies, including weekly parsha resources and copywork, click here . If you use any of my worksheets, activities or printables, please leave a comment or email me at Jay3fer “at” gmail “dot” com, to link to your blog, to tell me what you’re doing with it, or just to say hi!  If you want to use them in a school, camp or co-op setting, please email me (remove the X’s) for rates. If you enjoy these resources, please consider buying my weekly parsha book, The Family Torah :  the story of the Torah, written to be read aloud – or any of my other wonderful Jewish books for kids and families . English Worksheets & Printables: (For Hebrew, click here ) Science :  Plants, Animals, Human Body Math   Ambleside :  Composers, Artists History Geography Language & Literature     Science General Poems for Elemental Science .  Original Poems written by ME, because the ones that came with Elemental Science were so awful.  Three pages are included:  one page with two po