If kids hope to excel at school, work, and in life, they're going to have to learn to spell. Part of the reason so many students struggle with spelling is that they're never taught how to approach the discipline in a straightforward way. Instead, they get random words and rules thrown at them, all of which they're expected to memorize before being bombarded again with more words, more rules, and more general confusion and mental mayhem.
Fortunately, the Building Spelling Skills series from Evan-Moor offers a much-needed corrective to much of what passes for spelling instruction these days. Every book (one each for grades 1-6+) includes 30 weekly units with five days of work per unit presented in a clear and consistent fashion. Most kids probably won't like the constant repetition/review too much, but it's what they need if they're going to become good independent spellers who don't have to rely on spellcheck for the rest of their lives.
A particular strength of these titles is their usefulness to parents whose children are not homeschooled. If your kids are in public, private, or charter schools, the Evan-Moor spelling products are great ways to make sure they're up to speed and comprehending at their grade level. These are also excellent titles for teachers who wantto supplement their curriculum with extra homework or in-class practice, or who simply need more ideas for instruction.
At the beginning of each text instructors will find a scope and sequence for the 30 weekly units, as well as how to present each daily lesson and assignment. Similar words are grouped together so students can begin to identify patterns, and to see how spelling rules apply over a broad selection of their vocabulary. Answers to all activities are included in the back of each text, along with master word lists, spelling record sheets, and more.
These are designed to ensure your students are up to grade-specific national spelling standards, and work best either as remedial texts for catch up, or as supplements for kids who may be struggling with a more comprehensive spelling program. The Building Spelling Skills books certainly aren't flashy (they aren't even illustrated), but they are excellent helps for both students and parents or teachers who need a fresh boost of energy either for learning or teaching the essential skill of good spelling.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.
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