Topic: Homeschool Product Review
What do you do when you have a child that is horrible at spelling - like my son John Allen. I am constantly correcting his writing pages, grammar pages, anything that involves putting words on to paper. But, what do I do? Do I wait until that word comes up in his spelling book? Do I go back and review the word from a previous spelling list? Do I have him write the words that he misses ten times each? Would he even remember how to spell that word a week later if I did? Recently I found the answer! AVKO's Sequential Spelling. Now before you start shouting at your computer that this is a spelling program that has spelling books, and wouldn't that be the same as looking back at former spelling lists, let me explain.
Recently, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a free membership to the special AVKO member section of AVKO's website in order to try it out and review it on this blog. As you can see on the banner above, "AVKO is a non-profit organization devoted to helping teachers, parents, and researchers since 1974". You are correct in saying that AVKO does have a series of books called Sequential Spelling. I had been looking at it for some time to possibly buy for either John Allen or Joshua. But, did you know that anyone could take the principles that Sequential Spelling is based upon and use those principles themselves? Neither did I, until I began looking around AVKO's membership section. In fact, they not only tell you how to develop your own spelling program, but have downloads with word families to help you develop your own program.
Let me first explain how Sequential Spelling works. You first begin with a word family - let's say the in family. You would dictate to your student the word in first. You would then dictate a word such as pin. You may then add an "s" and ask them to spell pins. Then you might add the doubling rule and ask them to spell pinning and possibly spinning. Later you might add the word bin just to make sure that they are understanding that all words in that family are spelled alike. You get where this is going. Instead of learning a rote list of words that they will forget in a weeks time, your child is learning practical word families. If you buy the books, all of this is done for you. Unfortunately, you are then stuck to waiting until a particular word comes up in one of the future lessons, or, if he learned it previously, go back and review it. If you buy a membership to AVKO's membership section, then you can download for free their great, over 1600 page (yes I said 1600 pages) book The Patterns of English Spelling Plus Word Families in Sentence Context.Â This fantastic book has all of the word families listed so all you have to do is look up a word and develop a spelling list around it!
Recently John Allen spelled the word because - becaose. So, I'm going to develop a word list to help him learn how to spell this word. I look in my downloaded book, find the word "because" in the alphabetical list and it tells me that the word family that "because" is in is word family 436. I look up word family 436 and see that I need to begin with the word cause then progress to causes, and caused, then because, clause, applause etc. It's as simple as that. I have now developed a spelling list for a spelling problem that John Allen is having right now. I don't have to review or wait until later! I can do the same thing with any word that he is having trouble spelling.
But, that's just one really neat thing that I found that you can do with an AVKO membership. There are a lot of great ebooks that you can download that will help you with your homeschooling. In fact, if you bought all of the ebooks that you get free with a membership, it would cost you into the 100's of dollars! They also have a large section titled "Readings for Comprehension". It includes puns, funny stories, inspirational stories, humorous quotations for comprehension or dictation, puzzles and quizzes and more. There is even a link to a great website called "Spelling City". AVKO has teamed up with Spelling City to create spelling lists for those of you who don't want or have time to create your own.
What does all of this cost? Hundreds of dollars? Nope! It's just $25 a year for a Basic Membership or $100 a year for a Deluxe Membership. Here are the differences between the two as described on the AVKO website:
Benefits of AVKO Deluxe Membership
Institutional Membership is open to individuals as well as tutoring centers, schools, learning centers, homeschool resource centers, etc.
Access to all of the benefits of AVKO's Basic Membership (see below)
25% discount off all materials ordered
Read-only access to ALL AVKO curriculum materials (except for Sequential Spelling and Engaging Language Kits)
Access to AVKO's newest e-books:
Word Family Supplements 1-7 for Sequential Spelling
Spelling Remediation Test Kit
Benefits of AVKO Basic Membership
Discounts on AVKO printed materials
Hundreds of dollars worth of FREE e-books (PDF)
The Patterns of English Spelling (All 10 Volumes) with Word Families in Sentence Context
To Teach a Dyslexic
Starting at Square One
The Teaching of Reading & Spelling: a Continuum from Kindergarten through College.
The Reading Teacher's List of Over 5,500 Basic Spelling Words
Access to the Member Only section
AVKO Newsletter with freebies, discounts, resources, and promotions
Access to Don McCabe's most popular workshop recordings in MP3 format.
Supplemental Curriculum Materials including word games, worksheets, activities, and more!
Access to Pretests and Placement Tests
Access to the Answer Keys for the Unscramblers and Family Reunion exercises of the Engaging Language Kits
As you can see, there is something for everyone in AVKO's membership section whether you use the Sequential Spelling books or not! An AVKO membership is something that you can use for your child if you homeschool or if you are just trying to supplement your child's public or private school education. Even if you don't want to become a member (but I'm sure you will), there is a free section on the AVKO website that you can use. To check out AVKO's website, just click here, or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. To see what the other TOS Homeschool Crew members are saying about AVKO, click here. I am really sold on AVKO and I think you will be as well. Check it out today.
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Updated: Wednesday, 18 November 2009 11:21 PM CST
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