I was recently given the privilege of trying out and reviewing Spelling Scholar. Spelling Scholar is a word study based program. That was probably my favorite part of this program. Word study means that my child was not simply memorizing random lists of words, but actually understanding how words are built through the study of families of similar words. This method helps to solidify phonics skills while building spelling ability.
I found this program to be quite thorough including worksheets, games, lists for additional resources, as well as detailed teacher guides.
The things I liked the most about this program were:
- Word sorts: This allowed me to have my child attempt to group the families of words together on her own. I found this a great way to analyze if she truly understood the concepts and was able to apply them on her own.
- Personal words: This area allowed me to specify specific words that my particular child had problems with and include them in her learning.
- Document format: Both the student pages and tests are available in pdf and word formats allowing me to modify them if needed.
- “Launch Pad” section of the teacher’s page: This section is a wonderful resource which includes games and websites that I can use to reinforce the concepts taught in the lesson.
- Staff: The staff was incredibly helpful in making sure I placed my child in the appropriate level as well as being readily available to answer any questions I had.
- Dictionary skills: I loved that this program had the addition of dictionary skills as well as word etymology.
I did have a little difficulty deciding on placement for my daughter, but I blame that primarily on the fact that she was already fairly far into another phonics/word study based program when we began using Spelling Scholar. As I mentioned above, the staff was very helpful in walking me through this process and provided suggestions as to how to still implement the program while possibly even using multiple levels at once.
I also found that for me this program was a bit overwhelming. However, my threshold for information overload is really quite low, so this was likely just a personal issue for me, but I do think it is important to note that there is significant setup and planning involved. If you are one that prefers a more “open and go” approach, this program is probably not for you.
Overall, I found this to be an incredibly thorough program that (most importantly) works. I was very surprised at the amount of information presented to not only the student, but the teacher as well. I think the word study format is a wonderful approach that creates a strong foundation built upon phonics principles. I would encourage anyone considering this approach to give Spelling Scholar a try.
Kiki Lynn is a homeschooling mother raising four children in eastern Iowa. Her homeschool journey began four years ago when her oldest child with anxiety, ADD, and likely Aspergers didn’t fit the mold at the local public school. She has since fallen in love with the tremendous benefits of having her children home with her each day and looks forward to being an integral part of their growth and learning. “Crunchy” and more introverted than she ever realized, Kiki Lynn enjoys dance, gymnastics (as a coach), and crafting.