Institute for Excellence in Writing may be a familiar company to many homeschoolers. They are top notch in many of their writing programs including spelling. My children are less than stellar spellers. We reviewed Phonetic Zoo Spelling Level A [Starter Set]
after taking an assessment to see where we should start. My 16 year old started at square one so we went with that for him, my 13 and 11 year old. I decided to start them all together with the Phonetic Zoo to better equip them for spelling.
This is an audio product on CD. It comes with study cards that include each of the words in the lesson as well as the teaching tool to help them remember the spelling rule. There are also smaller cards which you can utilize to make a 'zoo' on your school room wall after they get through each lesson. Because I was working with older kids, we chose not to create the zoo component.
This set also includes a link to the video Spelling and the Brain, downloadable teacher notes, and personal spelling cards to keep track of the words your student needs more work with.
Auditory input with spelling is very important to young learners, but often not utilized in spelling. For the student to see the word, hear the word, and write the word, they are able better to retain it.
There are 47 lessons, and it really will vary on how long you can utilize the program. We worked daily, but we weren't able to master the lists each day. It is recommended to get 100 % on the lesson twice in a row before moving on to the next lesson. There are 15 words per lesson.
We all began on lesson 1. The student does get the opportunity to study the words on the first time through the lesson. It is encouraged to use a pen which I thought was interesting. During IEW classes, there is a "no erasing' rule! The time spent erasing and rewriting can get extremely long, and takes focus on concentrating on the English composition. Also the contrast between the ink and the white paper is better for the eyes than the carbon pencil. (Interesting facts to throw at you!)
So PEN in hand we start the CD, and the nice older gentlemen states the rule, gives plenty of time for the student to write the word. He goes through about 3 words and then repeats the spelling rule.
The next track on the CD will be the correction of the lesson's words. We had our students correct their own words so that they are seeing their errors and writing it correctly next to it.
It was easy at first keeping them all together but we slowly started having the oldest pull ahead, which was excellent! He would master the level much quicker than his 11 year old sister and I was pleased with that. We are now each on different levels of Phonetic Zoo, but we just stagger when each student does it.
It is suggested to use headphones to really emphasize the audio portion of the program. It can block out other sounds and help them focus. When we did it all together, we really couldn't use the headphones. I do like for the other kids to hear each others lessons for reinforcement too. We may look into using headphones now that they are all in separate lessons.
The nice thing about the resource cards is that you can use them with level B and level C as well. You will only need to purchase the next level of CD's or MP3 downloads.
This is an excellent series. It is not 'degrading' for the older kids, nor is it too 'articulate' for the younger ones. Perfect combination for all the levels we were using.
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