Sequential Spelling (SS) is an incredibly inexpensive, comprehensive, effective, and versatile spelling program that you can very easily tailor to your situation. Before you read about how you can customize the Sequential Spelling program to meet your specialized needs, please read the page "How Do I Use Sequential Spelling"
first. You should also read over the full Sequential Spelling 1 sample lesson
for the complete instructions and script of what the instructor does and says. This will provide you with the foundational information you need before you consider customizing the program.
1. Speed Up Sequential Spelling
While there are many reasons why you might wish to speed up Sequential Spelling, the most common reason is because your student is an above average or gifted speller. For those children, the program can seem annoyingly repetitive and boring. Don't worry! The program is very flexible and adaptable and can accommodate their need for speed.
There are many ways you can speed it up. You may only need one of these ideas or you may wish to use a couple.
Administer more than one lesson a day.
As long as there are two to four hours separating lessons, there is no problem with doing more than one lesson per day. Do not do the lessons too close together because we do not want you to run into the situation where the student simply memorizes the words, regurgitates them back, and then forgets them.
Omit individual words in the lessons.
There are 25 words per lesson in Sequential Spelling. For some students with short attention spans this may make the lesson too long for them. Other students may not need as many examples of words in certain word families to master the concept. Many of the words are included more for vocabulary building and reinforcing the spelling patterns of more common words than they are for mastery of their own spellings. The most important words to learn are those that are bolded. Omitted words could be assigned for used in other lessons, such as handwriting, dictation, vocabulary exercises, and writing practice rather than lengthening the spelling lesson.
Condense the 4-day "chunks" of word family lessons into fewer lessons.
Sequential Spelling is set up to generally cover a word family over the course of four lessons. The first lesson covers the base words (code, e.g.). The following three lessons generally cover the other forms or derivatives of that word (coded, codes, coding). If your student has master adding suffixes or structural endings (-s, -ed, -ing, etc.) and does not need as much repetition, choose only one or two of each structural endings for the lesson. For the -all family, you could condense the four lessons into one: taller, stalls, installing, called, recalls, etc.
Use an egg (kitchen) timer or a stop watch to time your lessons and keep you on track
Lessons need to be as short a possible to keep your student from getting overwhelmed, frustrated, or bored. Spelling should be automatic. Keeping the lessons moving quickly will keep the student from over thinking the spelling. After you have done a few lessons and gotten into the rhythm of Sequential Spelling, you will be surprised at how quickly and smoothly the lessons will go. For the first few lessons, set the timer for 15 minutes and stop the lesson when the timer goes off. To encourage the student to work quickly, you might choose to give either a positive or negative incentive. For example, if you do not finish the word list in the 15 minutes, the student has to do as many pushup as there are unfinished words in the lesson. Or, if you finish all of the words in the lesson before the timer goes off and the student has written the words neatly, they gets a sticker. You can gradually reduce the timer to 10 minutes as you and your student become more familiar with the process and get faster.
Consider using Sequential Spelling 5, 6, or 7 for your advanced speller.
If your student has mastered the regular word families but struggles with the foreign imports
(lasagna, potpourri, hors d'oeuvres, etc.), silent letters (psychic, debris, yacht, etc.), and other
advanced words (queue, eulogize, acquisition, etc.), he need Sequential Spelling 5, 6, or 7. These levels cover patterns that are rarely systematically taught in traditional curricula (eu = /yoo/, ch = /k/ in Greek words, etc.). They also cover foreign words that have become well know and are often used in their original language and words that do not follow the phonics of common one-syllable base words.
2. Add or Substitute Words from a Word Family
Sometimes a student needs more practice with a word family than there are examples in the Sequential Spelling lessons. Or, you might want to substitute in other words that your student is not familiar with. You can do this easily with The Patterns of English Spelling
. Simply turn to the page(s) listed for that word family and select words you would like to use. The Patterns of English Spelling
book is often available through libraries. This book series is available as free e-books when you purchase an AVKO Membership (available here)
3. Teach the Spelling Rules:
Although most students find learning spelling rules to be cumbersome, confusing, and unhelpful in many circumstances, some users of Sequential Spelling would like to teach the rules in a more formal manner than the embedded and application manner found in Sequential Spelling. Our personal preference (JOY Center of Learning - not AVKO) is to teach the rules as part of a complete grammar and writing course. We recommend that you look at Climbing to Good English.
It is a comprehensive language arts program that integrates many spelling rules throughout the course.
4. Assigning Grades:
If your particular system requires that a grade be given for spelling, we recommend that tests for grading purposes not be given during the regular spelling test/lesson. Tests for grading purposes should be given at a separate time. Students should be graded on their learning of the spelling of sounds - not the individual words as most tests for grading purposes are constructed to do. AVKO give permission to duplicate the following tests to teachers using Sequential Spelling for classroom/family use only. When giving the test, read the sentences to your students. All they have to do is fill in the blanks. Notice that you are not testing on the whole word but rather on the spelling patterns taught. That is why the initial consonants or blends are given to the child. Note: You can also use these tests as a pre-test as well as a post-test to show real gains. How you grade these tests is up to you. One option is to use the following scale: 0-1 wrong = A, 2-3 = B, 4-5 = C, 6-7 = D. We do not expect that you will have any E's!
• Level 1 Evaluation Tests
• Level 2 Evaluation Tests
• Level 3 Evaluation Tests
• Level 4 Evaluation Tests
• Level 5 Evaluation Tests
• Level 6 Evaluation Tests
• Level 7 Evaluation Tests