(I wrote Spelling Zoo on their Stenograph Notebooks – but meant Phonetic Zoo.)
We have been fortunate to review The Phonetic Zoo from the Institute For Excellence in Writing as a part of our This Old Schoolhouse Review Crew.
We started by taking their Spelling Placement Test . Both boys seemed to need to start at the beginning – so we choose List A . You can read all about how fantastic the Phonetic Zoo is, how to do it, and what comes with it on their website – http://www.excellenceinwriting.com/page/getting-started-excellence-spelling .
The boys quickly started with the first set of words, and have been working through them. We have taken quite a bit of time off – holidays – illness – but we are working along. Nate is now on 7 and Jon is on level 5. We LOVE it.
I love that they listen to the CD’s with head phones. They have to stop. Listen. Take in the words and rules. They have to Pay Attention. Quickly. Most of the first week was learning to Be Ready for spelling, with their tools, ready to write quickly. It took the first week to Be Able to Write Fast Enough to get the words right. Focus.
In the Phonetics Zoo – they need to do the words as many times as it takes as to get 100% and then move on. Two tries – Eight Tries – it all works to ingrain the rules and words into memory. And so far- it has worked.
So far – it is also increasing their vocabulary – the Pen Idea has increased their desire to use larger more elaborate words in their writing. The Permission to Fail – get messy – not get it right the first time – has given them the freedom to translate what they think and speak to paper – without fear of writing it “wrong”. They know they can just mark through the word or phrase and write it better above.
Jon says, “I like the challenge. He talks a little fast, so it helps you write faster, which helps you with your spelling. On the first couple of days it hard– but in at least three days it gets easier, you know his voice and how fast he talks, after three days you can spell and write pretty fast.” From mom – “Jon was frustrated at first but stuck it out, when he got his first 100 % – he was floored – eager – ready to do it again!”
Nate says, “I like that it takes less than five minutes so it is easy to do every day – it is so fast – it helps me to learn how to spell and write fast – it has helped me all the way around”. From Mom – “Nate probably could have started on Level B, but the words on Level A are challenging enough for him, since he could spell them all correctly and move along quickly – I do not see the harm in the review. He is learning vocabulary, cementing the spelling rules – and is eager to do it every day.”
My advice – no matter what spelling program you have – you need a way to implement it every day. You need a way for the kiddos to work on their spelling even when you are unable to read the words. You need the accountability of forcing them to quickly remember what they have heard in narration and accurately record it. This is that Program.
Disclaimer –we received this product for free for our honest opinion as a review after the children used the product. I recommend full heartedly this program for children of various ages – for moms who want their kids to have vocabulary, phonetics, and spelling – and for those of you who don’t think you have time to teach spelling individually to more than one child – or, the single child that you have.
To see their Excellence in Spelling products – click here – http://www.excellenceinwriting.com/catalog/spelling-1
They have a bargain budget pkg for 29 dollars that does not include the recordings – up to the full starter package for $99.00. Each extra level of CD’s is $79.00. This is one product that I think the cost is VERY much worth it – non consumable, multiple children can use this product like we have.
Want to see what my fellow crewmates had to say? They represent many families of various sizes and learning types – see if one them might encourage you! http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783541/
I did not review this item, but am seriously considering buying it for my youngest students. It looks great!
My 12 year old special needs daughter has just started Level A, she is on lesson 3. She actually likes it and I like that I don’t have to be the bad guy. I am sure she would not have done well with it a few years ago, but she does not know Level A makes her “below grade level.” Oh, I keep calling it spelling zoo to!
Great Review! I’m going to have to check it out!