When we first started homeschooling, spelling was one subject that I thought I could easily handle with a workbook. We trudged through many years of Abeka spelling books and then switched to Spelling Workout for a few years with the youngest boys. By the time I reached my third child, spelling lists and tests had begun to try my patience. It seemed silly for them to be studying words for a whole week that they already knew how to spell. It did not seem like an efficient use of time so I started to look for some new method of working on homeschool spelling. Which brought me to Spelling Power.
In my research I discovered Spelling Power and I ordered the book. I tried to look at the cost of the book as an investment, an investment in the last spelling system I would ever have to purchase. Turns out it was an investment in building confident spellers.
No more mindless workbooks or studying words they already knew how to spell. Spelling became easier and less stressful for all involved.
For grades 3 through college this book provides all the spelling lists from beginner to advanced in one volume. All the master worksheets are provided using various line spacing so you can print off appropriate pages for young and old.
The system is easy to start at any age, ability, or time of year using the Quick Start Steps in the beginning of the book. The Spelling Power system uses a placement test to place each child at the appropriate level in the book. Your child then starts working on a short list of words by pre-testing the next list in the book and eliminating any words they already know. So each list of words is made even more manageable and your child only studies words he is unfamiliar with each week. A thorough study of spelling is done in 15 minutes per day.
“Spelling Power is for students ages 8 to college level. While there is an adaptation for students under 8, it is fundamentally designed to be developmentally appropriate for students over age 8. Spelling Power assumes the student has completed a basic phonics program (basic consonant sounds are not reviewed) and is reading above the second grade level.”
Spelling Power uses the 5,000 most frequently used and misspelled words. Each Spelling Power level is organized around spelling rules. Your child is memorizing the spelling rule as he goes along. For instance you can have a list built on the rule, “Consonant letters are often doubled after a short vowel in short vowel words such as egg, fluff, sniffle, and mess”. Each day that you work on this list, you review the rule and work on a few more words. Most rules are covered in multiple levels so you will have plenty of review of each rule as you work from year to year.
Each word shows up on several lists so there is also a built in review. This is something that really drew me to Spelling Power. The ability to test retention in a painless way is already designed into their spelling lists. There is little chance of your child only learning a word once for a test and then forgetting it.
The Spelling Power study plan is based on providing various means of getting the word imprinted in the brain using a preset method each day. Each day’s activities starts with having the child pronounce the word correctly with the assumption that many times a child misspells a word because he is not pronouncing it properly. The method is the same for all ages from the youngest to the oldest. Once you learn the routine, your spelling is the same from year to year.
The Daily Routine
The daily routine goes something like this:
- Pronunciation-say the word properly out loud
- Cover and Spell-write the word, cover it, write it again, check it
- Tactile Spelling-use your finger to trace the word on some textured surface like sandpaper or rough clothing
- Visualize Word-close your eyes and mentally spell the word on your mind’s “chalkboard”
Even though it sounds like a lot, it only takes a few minutes to do with a short list!
Complete An Activity
After the daily routine, you then complete a short activity to cement the spelling into the child’s memory.
The Appendix of the Spelling Power book lists dozens of short spelling activities.
Each year that we used this book, I would go through the lists and pick appropriate activities for the boys to choose from each day to study their spelling words. These activities are in addition to the daily routine process listed above.
I made index cards with each of my approved activities and they would choose from the stack of cards how to study each day.
Spelling Activities We Used
(Please note that you can purchase a whole box of spelling activity cards to go along with your Spelling Power book if you don’t want to make up your own cards.)
- Write your words with dry erase markers on the window or mirror.
- Write your words on the sidewalk with chalk.
- Use the Scrabble letters, sticker letters, or a label maker to spell your words.
- Pronounce and spell your words into a tape recorder.
- String your words with the letter beads.
- Write your words in sentences.
- Use graph paper and make a “crossword” with your spelling words.
The whole spelling process took ten to fifteen minutes a day. I know that seems like we did a lot in a short period of time but with an average of five words to study each day, proper training, and having your activities organized you really are very efficient.
Now that my boys are finished with Spelling Power and in high school I rarely need to correct their spelling. If they happen to misspell a word, I can usually point it out to them and have them correct it. The rules learned in Spelling Power have trained them well enough to get even complicated spellings correct or at least really close so they can look it up in the dictionary.
This multi-level, multi-year program is self-paced and a great value for families. It was the last spelling program we ever purchased.
Purchase Spelling Power
Spelling Power Manual – You can purchase just the Spelling Power Manual either from The Spelling Power Website or from Amazon (where you can also find Student Record Books)
To purchase the Activity Task Cards or the Spelling Power Packs go to the Spelling Power Website
Spelling Power Basic Pack – Includes Spelling Power Manual, two Student Record Books, and a set of Activity Task Cards.
Spelling Power Deluxe Pack – Includes Everything in the Basic Pack plus a set of the Magnetic Letter Tiles in a storage box & the Word Bank Box with 400 color coded cards.
More Spelling Reviews at The Curriculum Choice
- Middle School Spelling and Vocabulary – From A Beka
- Spelling Workout Review
- A Review of Soaring with Spelling and Vocabulary
- Evan-Moor Building Spelling Skills Review
Originally Published September 2009 by Barb-Harmony Art mom. She also blogs at https://harmonyfinearts.org/
Love this curriculum! We haven’t been using it long, but I really like having one book from now to the end – and it seems to be helping my kiddos!
I definitely want to try this- i have a friend with it, and spelling is a struggle with us- so much of it seems useless and unconnected to me, and my experiences have been very similar to barb’s… so i will give this a try! thanks!
Barb-Harmony Art Mom says
I love that Spelling Power is something you can keep using through the years. You can take a break and come back and it is still as valuable.
It is also such a savings over buying consumable workbooks each year that are mindless and boring.
Barb-Harmony Art Mom
.-= Barb-Harmony Art Mom´s last blog ..We Finished Week Six! =-.
Thanks so much for this post. I bookmarked it. I just purchased Spelling Power to try with my kids, but I don’t feel like I’m in the groove with it yet.
.-= Rhonda´s last blog ..Botany with the Outdoor Hour Challenges =-.
We use Spelling Power too. I think your highest recommendation of it was, “It was the last spelling program we ever purchased.” That pretty much says it all. It’s expensive, but it’s all you ever need.
Merrilee McCain says
Thank you for sharing with us all. I am an older and very frugal new-at-homeschooling mother, artist, and violin teacher, so this site is exciting to look at! Of MathUSee manipulatives, my 7 year old artsy Maleah says, “I like this math game!” I hope she will say the same about Spelling Power. We need lessons I can use with my 5 year old son when she is done, so less consumables would be great. (I am able to make my own workbook pages with brightly colored markers and used copy paper. It gives the lessons a personal appeal, but realize I may not be able to keep this up.) Please keep the helpful tips coming!
Beverly L. Adams-Gordon says
Thank you for the lovely review.
I would like to tell you and your readers that the picture shown with the review is of my 3rd Edition book. In April 2006, I came out with a new 4th Edition. It has a new cover, so some of your readers may be confused if they look for a book that looks like the one pictured. The new 4th Edition does have a few changes inside as well. The biggest change is the 4th Edition comes with a Quick Start Seminar DVD and a Teacher’s Resource CD-ROM.
The CD-ROM allows you to print all the needed forms from your computer — rather than photocopying. It also has the skill-building activities from the book that fall into the “Activity Task Card” category pre-typed 4-to-a-page. When cut apart they will fit in a large index box or can be added to the optional Activity Task Card box. Saves moms from having to hand copy them onto index cards. The CD also has other printable skill-building sheets, like word search puzzles and handwriting sheets. By the way, the optional Activity Task Card Box contains an additional 365 activities that are not included in the book. (As with the book, some of the activities are drill type like Barb mentions above and some are skill-builder meant to teach and reinforce the phonetic principles or spelling rules.)
The Alphabetical List of the 12,000 most frequently used words is now computerized to make it quicker to use as part of the proofreading process described in the book. This new Searchable Word list is also on the CD-ROM.
Another new item included on the CD-ROM is the Digital Tutor. It is a fun drill activity — even drill is fun if it is on the computer.
The program is exactly the same. We have moved some things around in the manual, included more graphics, and made the type larger, but the procedure is exactly the same. All of the changes were the result of user input, so I am sure you will find them all changes helpful.
I would like to correct one error in your review if I may. Spelling Power is for students ages 8 to college level. While there is an adaptation for students under 8, it is fundamentally designed to be developmentally appropriate for students over age 8. Spelling Power assumes the student has completed a basic phonics program (basic consonant sounds are not reviewed) and is reading above the second grade level. Up to about the third grade the words students are learning to read and spell are the same. After third grade, reading soars ahead while spelling tends to lag behind. This is the time most students should begin a formal spelling program separate from phonics and reading instruction. Before this level of reading, your student is likely to become frustrated being pretested on words they have never seen before. This tends to be more of a problem for boys than for little girls. I have a lot of theories why this is so, but won’t bore you with them.
Thank you again for your gracious reviews.
Beverly L. Adams-Gordon
Author, Spelling Power
Ok, This just did it for me, I am getting Spelling Power~ I do wonder if I should be getting the students booklets~ I am not sure about that its hard to know if I need them or not. But I am getting this for sure. I have been working with many spelling programs and none work for them they get all 100’s on all the lists but then when they go to write in their notebooking pages they fail miserably with spelling words that were not on the list. SO, I went ahead and started using an ILS “Individual Spelling List” but after reading Karen Andreola’s review, yours and Jimmies. I am getting this in addition. thank you for this Barb!
What age did you start your sons? I have a child in my Sunday School Class that has been tested, or so they say for reading but, the child can not spell and i was told that he has a learning disability, I don’t believe that and want to help him so bad. He does everything else well except reading and spelling, they go hand in hand, he is 10 years old in the 4th grade and reads at a 1st grade level, I know he can do better, he is a whiz at games, he is good in math but he shrinks away when it comes to reading, writing and spelling,
Barb-Harmony Art Mom says
Lucy: You can start Spelling Power as soon as you want to since the lists start off with extremely simple words and progress as your child progresses.
It’s hard to find knowledgeable people for this topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about!
Thanks for your review of Spelling Power. I have been going back and forth between Spelling Power and All About Spelling. SP seems much more user (Mom) friendly but AAS seems to cover the rules of spelling in greater depth. Do you feel like SP adequately covers all the spelling rules?
Barb-Harmony Art Mom says
Spelling Power covers the rules more efficiently than any other spelling program we tried. In fact, I just recommended this plan to my very good friend and she is using it with her two boys and loving it!