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Thread: seeking direction with a struggling speller

  1. #1
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    Default seeking direction with a struggling speller

    Hi, I have one homeschooled child who is on the MP full core, but this post is about my second grader who is not homeschooled. I was considering getting him tested for (stealth) dyslexia because he is a strong reader and a poor speller. He also says that sometimes he sees sentences going diagonally and up and down and sideways when he's reading. I spoke to a good neuropsych and she suggested I get him some specialized extra help at school first. If he doesn't improve with the extra help, then we should discuss testing. When I talked to the school, the resource teacher said, "Who cares about spelling anyway?" because he can use "talk to text" and spellcheckers when he gets older. So I'm taking matters into my own hands...

    I love the MP program and value the expertise of those on this forum. I am looking for some direction and ideas with the tutoring he needs. Can the Traditional Spelling program be used independently? I have First Start Reading Level E already, which is about where he is. Would that be enough by itself? I've also heard good things about the Barton program, but it seems time consuming. Homeschooling him is not off the table, but would probably not be feasible until next school year.

    Thank you so much for all of your expert advice!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: seeking direction with a struggling speller

    Good morning! Yes, you -- or a tutor -- can teach Traditional Spelling independently. This could give him just the tools he needs.

    You might begin with TS One. Unlike other options, you will be able to teach TS immediately and without special training. TS will improve his spelling and strengthen his reading even further while giving you more "data" about whether or not to move forward with testing.

    I think you will enjoy Traditional Spelling. Best of all, he might too!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: seeking direction with a struggling speller

    Spelling is a tricky subject but after reading your post I think you are right to be investigating. You could use FSR Book E since you already have it and work through that first remember it will reference Classical Phonics and the Phonics Flashcards. Traditional Spelling CAN be used as a stand alone subject but it too uses Classical Phonics and the Phonics Flashcards for best results. TS Level 1 is the introductory level. There are only 10 list words each week with varying number of common words and follows a plan of phonograms studied. TS II follows the same plan of introduction with more challenging words and a 15 word list. So you could start at either level. If his spelling is terrible and you feel starting at the beginning is best, begin with level one. If his spelling just isn't where it should be, begin with level II. Remember that regardless of which level to choose, mastery is the goal. If, after all the week's work, your student misses more than two, you need to take some time and go over those phonograms for another week reading with them, dictating them, playing games etc. At the end of that week retake the test.

    Blessings,
    Michelle T

  4. #4
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    Default Re: seeking direction with a struggling speller

    Yes, excellent points, Michelle! Thank you.

    By using TS "independently," I was thinking of teaching it apart from a full core, but yes, you will want to teach TS with Classical Phonics and the Phonogram Cards. We do this in SC, just as in MP. The phonics cards will be especially helpful for your son because they are large, easy to isolate, and easy to see.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: seeking direction with a struggling speller

    About seeing things diagonally, etc: a friendís elementary-aged daughter said that letters moved when she was reading. They took her for a vision therapy evaluation (more in-depth than an optometrist visit) and found out that her field of vision was about the size of an orange ó if that. She had no idea this wasnít normal so she had never said anything to her parents. You may want to consider having an in-depth vision eval. done as vision problems can mimic dyslexia in their result.
    Last edited by jen1134; 10-31-2018 at 09:35 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: seeking direction with a struggling speller

    Quote Originally Posted by cherylswope View Post
    Yes, excellent points, Michelle! Thank you.

    By using TS "independently," I was thinking of teaching it apart from a full core, but yes, you will want to teach TS with Classical Phonics and the Phonogram Cards. We do this in SC, just as in MP. The phonics cards will be especially helpful for your son because they are large, easy to isolate, and easy to see.
    This is so helpful! To clarify, I would need to order TS 1 (probably the best place to start), the phonogram flashcards, and the book Classical Phonics? Are the teachers manuals separate or one for the whole program?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: seeking direction with a struggling speller

    Quote Originally Posted by musdir26 View Post
    This is so helpful! To clarify, I would need to order TS 1 (probably the best place to start), the phonogram flashcards, and the book Classical Phonics? Are the teachers manuals separate or one for the whole program?
    Only Traditional Spelling I has a teacher manual. Classical Phonics and the Phonics Flashcards are resources that will be scheduled within the spelling manual.

    HTH!
    Michael
    Memoria Press

  8. #8
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    Default Re: seeking direction with a struggling speller

    Traditional Spelling has a Teacher Guide for each level but Classical Phonics is a stand alone text. The flashcards and Classical Phonics pages are scheduled within the teacher guide.

    Blessings,
    Michelle T

  9. #9
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    Default Re: seeking direction with a struggling speller

    You might like the handy practice sheets too.

    For TS 1, simply order everything visible in this link.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: seeking direction with a struggling speller

    I don't know if the OP is still checking this, but I had my 2nd grader checked for dyslexia before 1st trade because she complained of the same types of problems: words jumping, switching places, letters hovering in the text after she covered them up. It sounded like classic dyslexia. It was not. After a thorough evaluation by the Dean of the Dept of Child Psychology with an emphasis on how children learn, she reassured me over and over that more and more parents are chasing a diagnosis for typical manifestations of a burgeoning reader. All children are better at decoding (reading) than encoding (spelling), and all children benefit from a systematic approach to phonics instruction. Of course, many children do have dyslexia, but it will become much clearer as your child reaches 9 years old. I was actually warned not to test again for at least 2 years to let the brain mature. It's amazing what has happened in that time. My 2nd grader is thriving with MP's Traditional Spelling in a way that she had not before. Part of that is developmental maturation, but the rest is MP curriculum and her diligent study of spelling rules and phonograms.

    Coming from a different program, I really like the idea of word lists and spelling families in the Classical Phonics book. It's my daughter's favorite part...and I was surprised at how challenging it can be to read words in isolation given how proficient a reader she is.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: seeking direction with a struggling speller

    Quote Originally Posted by enbateau View Post
    I don't know if the OP is still checking this, but I had my 2nd grader checked for dyslexia before 1st trade because she complained of the same types of problems: words jumping, switching places, letters hovering in the text after she covered them up. It sounded like classic dyslexia. It was not. After a thorough evaluation by the Dean of the Dept of Child Psychology with an emphasis on how children learn, she reassured me over and over that more and more parents are chasing a diagnosis for typical manifestations of a burgeoning reader. All children are better at decoding (reading) than encoding (spelling), and all children benefit from a systematic approach to phonics instruction. Of course, many children do have dyslexia, but it will become much clearer as your child reaches 9 years old. I was actually warned not to test again for at least 2 years to let the brain mature. It's amazing what has happened in that time. My 2nd grader is thriving with MP's Traditional Spelling in a way that she had not before. Part of that is developmental maturation, but the rest is MP curriculum and her diligent study of spelling rules and phonograms.

    Coming from a different program, I really like the idea of word lists and spelling families in the Classical Phonics book. It's my daughter's favorite part...and I was surprised at how challenging it can be to read words in isolation given how proficient a reader she is.
    Yes! You've eloquently described what the neuropsychologist was trying to explain to me over the phone. I think I'm going to start by using Traditional Spelling as a supplement to what he's already doing in class, so as not to overwhelm him with too many words to learn each week. We also know he isn't applying the rules when he writes because he's told us he isn't. This is where I prefer the classical method so much more- to learn by imitation, and to hold off on applying the rules until they get older. I tell you, I am so unhappy with this "common core" curriculum that I am getting closer and closer to pulling him out of school!
    Son- 3rd grade
    2 younger children in Catholic school
    1 more munchkin up to no good

  12. #12
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    Default Re: seeking direction with a struggling speller

    And thank you Michelle, Cheryl, and Michael for your help with the resources!
    Son- 3rd grade
    2 younger children in Catholic school
    1 more munchkin up to no good

  13. #13
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    Default Re: seeking direction with a struggling speller

    Yes! I don't think I would have believed her had she not homeschooled her two children through graduation and gone back to work for the past 8 years working with identifying special educational needs in children. She patiently answered questions on the phone with me for an hour after I had already had my explanation of test results meeting, explaining science's latest understanding of reading, child development, and the brain. Thankfully, her guidance was spot-on.

    It sounds like you're getting excellent care.

    Can I make a book rec? I'm loving Reader, Come Home by Maryanne Wolf. I had to read her 2nd chapter "Letter Two: Under the Big Top" very slowly, but it described the intracacies of the reading brain so beautifully that I think I shall never forget it. I came upon the book when a radio show interviewed her on the documented changes in the brain caused by screens and digital media. It is so, so good.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: seeking direction with a struggling speller

    Quote Originally Posted by enbateau View Post

    Can I make a book rec? I'm loving Reader, Come Home by Maryanne Wolf. I had to read her 2nd chapter "Letter Two: Under the Big Top" very slowly, but it described the intracacies of the reading brain so beautifully that I think I shall never forget it. I came upon the book when a radio show interviewed her on the documented changes in the brain caused by screens and digital media. It is so, so good.
    Thanks, Iíll check it out!
    Son- 3rd grade
    2 younger children in Catholic school
    1 more munchkin up to no good

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