Hooligan Zoo

Two Zookeepers… many Hooligans… It's always feeding time at this zoo!

TOS Review – All About Spelling

on December 8, 2009

I have issues.  Many many issues.  The one that is relevant to this here topic, however, is spelling.  Seriously, a word spelled incorrectly in a certain spot could make me fall down and have a seizure right then and there.  For example, this sentence, “Smile YOUR on candid camera!”  could possibly cause my head to explode (admittedly, that would make a small mess, but I digress.)

So, while I was pondering how I was going to keep my children from giving me grammar seizures?  In the mail (NOT male) came,

Guess what?  It really is All About Spelling!

I excitedly tore into the box, only to pass out from the sheer amount of STUFF in there.  I was blessed to receive level one, as well as level 2… which meant two sets of cards to tear apart and set up… it took me an episode of House, and half an episode of whatever was on after House to do that.  Fold, fold tear… fold fold tear… you get the idea!

Now, personally I think that you need to have a good basis in reading to be able to spell correctly, and Zi definitely fits into that category.  I might give Ephraim a good go at it when Zi is finished with level one, but I didn’t want him struggling along while she zipped ahead.  His reading is coming nicely (he is only six, after all), but too much pressure may cause him to spontaneously combust.

All About Spelling is great because it offers a multisensory approach.  It is also mastery based, which is so important… you don’t move on until you have mastered a previous technique.  There’s also constant and continuous review… a good thing so that those pesky little “rules” don’t just fall in the dust after a while.

This is a really neat program to implement.  It’s actually quite simple, and once you have it set up, ie: paper cutted fingers have neatly sorted the cards into a handy dandy little file box… there isn’t too much prep.

December09

Zi says that spelling is her favourite part of the day.  I’m not sure if that’s because she’s good at it?  Or because she just likes that she can spend one on one time with Mama for a little while.

Now, the program suggests that you purchase a magnetic wipe off board that you can set up the (magnetic) letter tiles on, but we had this old piece of metal that we used to use as a magnet board.  It’s brutally heavy, so I just had Ja mount it on the wall.

December09 033

The different aspects of the program, intertwine together quite nicely.  I like that it has flashcards that you then move to either “review” or “mastered” after the concept is introduced.  The kids love the letter tiles, even my youngest likes to match them up.  They also do a bit of writing, so, they’ll listen to a word or a phrase, and then have to write it down.  Great practice in listening AND writing.

What I don’t like is that the lessons are all quite long.  By the time you get finished with reviewing, then start the lesson, then do examples, then do dictation… that’s a long time for a little guy or gal.  Zi does fine with it, but Eph will have to take it in in smaller chunks.

I also don’t like some of the standard “rules”.  Now that is a problem with the english language in general, NOT with the program itself.  It just seems that for every rule, there is always an exception.  Kids think in such black and white terms, that it’s hard to tell them a “rule” only to refute it a month or more later when you come across a word that doesn’t fit into those nicey nice terms.

I also like that this is non-consumable. You don’t write in the books themselves, or on the flashcards.  The letter tiles are just letters and blends, and it can all be reused.  Now, that being said, I do believe that the difficulty would come if you had two children on the same level.  You would definitely need two sets of flashcards, unless you could come up with a way to remember who needed review with what cards, etc, etc…

I can also see some difficulty with the letter tiles… but, my intent is to just put the level two tiles in the baggy at the end of level two lessons.  That will actually be good for Eph, because if there’s too much distraction on the board, then I know he’ll have trouble focusing.

Bottom line on this spelling program?  I like it a lot.  I like that my hooligans like it, and I like that it give a good solid basis in spelling (regardless of the difficulties of the darned language.)  I will absolutely keep up with the program, and am hoping to eventually get the next levels!

A starter kit will run you $26.95 (American funds), but you can buy the pieces separately as well.  (handy if you need two sets of cards.)
Level 1 Teacher’s manual is $29.95 (all other levels are $39.95)
Go and check it out! You’ll be happy that you did!

Disclaimer: The only compensation that I received for this review was a free copy of the materials. I will give honest and truthful reviews, and where concern is warranted, it will be noted.

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One response to “TOS Review – All About Spelling

  1. […] Well, click on over here!  I’ll […]

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