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May 23rd, 2011, 08:46 PM
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Jill0924 Jill0924 is offline
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Location: Cape May, NJ
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One of my favorite programs for spelling (and reading since they are closely tied) is SPIRE. I use it with my special ed students and will use it with my girls when they are older. It is a basic phonics program that concentrates on each spelling skill and links it to both spelling and reading. I don't use it "by the book" but follow and Orton Gillingham approach (which SPIRE is based on so it lines up really well). Basically you review previous skills (reading sounds on flash cards) introduce a skill, practice spelling words with the new skill (this gets the child looking at this skill in practical words), then practice spelling words using previous skills taught, then practice writing sentences (reinforcing capitalization, punctuation, and spelling). It sounds like a lot, but you only spend a few minutes on each section. The kids really like it because for the word "writing" we write in shaving cream, pudding, sand, rice (on a cookie sheet), ... whatever I find. The sentences I do on a wipe off board. And of course new skills aren't introduced every lesson either, only after the previous one has been mastered. When I am not introducing a new skill, I will throw in a game of some sort as well. For the reading component I have the children read sight words (that don't follow spelling patterns) - these are introduced one or two at a time through the various lessons and in SPIRE are underlined so the child knows it's a new sight word. Then we read some words that go with the spelling lesson we are on and maybe a few that go with previous spelling skills learned. Next we read a story, these come with the program and focus on the skill being learned while using all the previous skills learned as well. The stories are short and mostly interesting to the children. I will admit some are kinda dry, but since they are short the children don't mind. Then we do the corresponding workbook pages that focus on comprehension skills. Of course picture books and novels (with much more interesting stories) are used as part of our reading instruction as well, but the SPIRE is the backbone for learning "how" to read. I like the program quite a bit and like that I can move through it pretty quickly. I also like how easy it is to tailor it to each child. I hope this helps!

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