One of the homeschool products we’re reviewing is All About Spelling, a multi-sensory approach to teaching your child to spell. The primary learning styles are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. All About Spelling utilizes all three, since students learn better when taught through their strongest mode, but more importantly because “when students are taught using all three pathways to the brain. . . they learn even more than when they are taught only through their strongest pathway.”
A phonogram is a letter or letter combination that represents a sound, such as “ck” for the sound /k/. Multi-colored magnetic tiles containing phonograms are used in conjunction with an optional magnetic dry erase board for hands-on, kinesthetic learning. Watching new spelling concepts demonstrated with the tiles and seeing the spelling words written down provide visual learning. Auditory activities include oral flashcard review; segmenting the words out loud; and saying the sound of the phonograms as they are written down.
With All About Spelling you teach all possible sounds of the phonograms at the same time, and don’t use the typical method of keyword association:
“We want the student make an instant connection between seeing the phonogram and saying the sound. Requiring key words such as “/n/ as in nest” or illustrating the phonograms with pictures will slow down the formation of that connection.”
Keywords are printed on the back of the flashcards, however, for your convenience as the teacher. The Basic Phonograms audio CD-ROM is a Windows/Mac compatible program that your child can use independently to reinforce learning the sounds of the basic phonograms. See the demo here.
I recommend the magnetic letter tiles for multiple reasons: the kids enjoy working with them; they provide tactile activities to reinforce the lesson; and they stay in place on the board so you can set it aside without having to set up the tiles again each day (see layout below). We bought the 2′ x 3′ magnetic dry erase board from Costco. An index card box is also a wise purchase for setting up the Spelling Review Box, which will contain four sets of flashcards: Phonograms Card, Sound Cards, Key Cards, and Word Cards.
All About Spelling has provided me with an excellent resource for my five-year-old daughter. By using the magnetic tiles and magnetic dry erase board I was quickly able to determine which letters and phonograms she already knew and which ones we needed to learn. The phonogram flashcards provide an easy method for teaching and reinforcement.
Two more spelling books will be added in 2009, completing the series and bringing the students up to high school spelling level.