The way Julian was being taught spelling at school, where words that sound the same but have different spellings, are all bundled into the same spelling list, was not working for him. The only way for Julian to learn these lists was to memorise the spelling. He’d remember how to spell for the test, but very quickly forget it for the future.
We attended tutorial classes with Julie Bradley from Smart Achievers, and quite quickly, Julian’s confidence in spelling returned. I sat through all of his tutorial sessions and also learned so much about the spelling rules so now when Julian can’t remember how to spell a word, we workshop it together using the rules that Julie has taught us both. I don’t feel so helpless anymore and spelling homework is a lot less stressful.
We have been using the Smart Words Spelling Program at Mel Maria for roughly 10 years. Our teachers were amazed at all the new spelling rules that they learnt whilst implementing the program. The rules and generalizations that govern spelling are taught explicitly and revised constantly throughout the program. Our teachers love the fact that the program differentiates for them. Each child is given a Placement Test and then grouped accordingly so that they are working at their level. I love the fact that word meanings and their extensions are covered in order to put the spelling in the context of language. The children (particularly in the junior years) are very enthusiastic and enjoy the ‘routine’ aspect of the program. I have seen the program expand and evolve especially in the last couple of years since Julie Bradley has taken over the reins. She has introduced new resources such as ‘Spelling Rules with Tips and Tricks cards’ and the ‘Grammar chart’. She has a wealth of knowledge on anything to do with Spelling and the spelling process. I would recommend the program to any school that wants an explicit, differentiated, phonics based program where phonemes and graphemes are sequentially taught and constantly revisited and all with the backup and support of Julie’s team.
~ Jo Ciccarelli ~
Thank you so much for your continued help, support, and encouragement of our boys.Luke and Alec
Tyler commenced tutoring as he was failing the weekly spelling tests at school, usually scoring about 3 out of 25. Initial testing showed that he was well below the expected level. Even though he was in Year 4, he had gaps as far back as Year 1. Tyler brought in his weekly spelling lists from school, and we teach him explicitly on the phonics and rules related to the list. Today Tyler is scoring perfect or close to perfect, in his class spelling tests. We are closing the gaps quickly and aim to have Tyler moving into high school being able to read and write efficiently. Recently, when I praised Tyler for his incredible improvement in spelling, he commented ‘It just seems to seep into my head!’Tyler