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Spelling: How Much Time Should I Spend?

Child writing from spelling Sound Card

If you’re wondering how much time you should spend on spelling lessons, you aren’t alone! This is one of the most frequently asked questions about the All About Spelling program.

Fortunately, there is a really simple answer that works in most situations.

How Much Time Should I Spend?

I generally recommend spending 20 minutes a day, five days a week on spelling lessons.

Of course, this general recommendation may not fit your family’s situation perfectly. You may need to customize the length of your lessons to fit your child’s specific needs.

But that’s the great thing about All About Spelling—it’s easy to customize. Here are a few more things to think about as you plan your day:

  1. Take your child’s age and attention span into consideration. If your child is young, has a hard time sitting still, or is just starting out in spelling, you may want to start with as little as ten minutes per day. You can gradually build up the time as your child matures and his attention span grows.
  2. Child writing on whiteboard
  3. Short lessons every day are more effective than longer, less-frequent lessons. In a short lesson, your child’s attention is less likely to wander, and you’ll find that you can accomplish more when your student is actively engaged in the lesson. Keep the lessons upbeat and fast-paced to hold the child’s interest. Even if you are working with an older child who can focus for a longer period of time, 20 minutes is all you need to review old material, teach the new concept, and write several sentences from dictation. Students can only absorb so much new information at once, and then the rest isn’t retained.

    Sometimes we hear from moms whose kids balk at spelling lesson time, only to find out that the mom is trying to push through multiple lessons in one sitting, or is spending an hour on extra lessons in order to “catch up.” Even if they were just as effective as short lessons, long lessons make spelling seem like drudgery. As much as possible, we want to keep lessons light and fun.

  4. Remember that you don’t need to complete an entire Step in a day. In fact, sometimes a student will need a whole week to complete a Step. The speed at which your child masters a Step depends on the student’s age, attention span, prior experience, and the concepts being taught. The All About Spelling program is completely flexible and customizable so you can breeze through sections that are easy for your student and spend more time on difficult concepts.

    If you’re new to All About Spelling and are wondering what a “Step” is, download this free lesson sample from Level 2, Step 16. Each Step teaches one new concept, and in this Step, students learn words with the sound of /ar/ as in farm.

    Lessons samples from All About Spelling Level 2

    There are three main sections in each Step: Review, New Teaching, and Reinforcement. If you can’t get through the entire Step in a day, simply mark the page to hold your spot. The next day, start with a quick review of the flashcards (Phonogram Cards, Sound Cards, Key Cards, and Word Cards), and then pick up where you left off the previous day.

  5. Use a timer. After you’ve determined the best length of time for your situation, set a timer at the beginning of the lesson. This will help you stay on track and not make the lesson go on too long. Your child will be encouraged to stay focused because he knows that the lesson will end, and you won’t be tempted to keep pushing past the time you agreed upon.

The Bottom Line

The most important thing to remember when planning spelling lessons is to keep them “short, sweet, and consistent.” Your child’s brain is like a muscle, and consistent exercise does much more to develop muscle than occasional big bursts of energy. And shorter lessons keep your child coming back for more!

Short, effective lessons are just one of the ways we make spelling easy! Download my free e-book, “Six Ways We Make Spelling Easy,” to discover six powerful features of All About Spelling that will revolutionize your teaching!

Six Ways We Make Spelling Easy Report

Photo credit: Jamie at The Unlikely Homeschool and Michelle at Delightful Learning

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Roxana

says:

Using a timer is a brilliant idea! It allows the student(s) to give their all for just a short amount of time and feel confident in their accomplishments once the timer goes off.
Thank you for sharing your advice

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Roxana!

Rahul Vasanth R

says:

It has been quite helpful to do short sessions of around 20 minutes. My kid and me manage to sometimes squeeze in a quick session in our schedule and complete a part of a step, instead of planning to complete one full step in each session.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m pleased to hear that the short lessons are working out so well fo you, Rahul!

Connie

says:

This is our first year homeschool and I’ve started using this curriculum to fill in gaps for my kids. It’s even helped me understand spelling rules I didn’t know

Sara Hagy

says:

This is my first year using AAR & AAS. My second grader recently finished her lessons for AAR 2 and AAS 2. My kindergartener is enjoying the pre-reading level, but I made the mistake of starting him on AAS 1 too soon. He is learning and improving, but he currently does not look forward to spelling. He has a language delay, sensory processing disorder, and I believe he has a poor working memory and comprehension. The steps take many days for him to complete. He becomes frustrated and discouraged easily. He also doesn’t like the fact that his sister has more stickers on her progress chart. I have started using a timer with the spelling lessons, so we don’t go too long. I wonder if I should finish AAS 1 with him or discontinue it until he has completed AAR 1?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sara,
We recommend waiting until a student has finished All About Reading level 1 before even beginning All About Spelling. Spelling is more difficult than reading, so having a good foundation in reading helps make learning to spell easier.

If your student was doing well in AAS, it would be okay to go ahead with it since you have already started, but since he is having difficulties, I recommend stopping All About Spelling. When he finishes AAR level 1, then restart AAS 1 at the beginning. He will likely move through the steps that are review quickly, but starting at the beginning again will ensure nothing important was forgotten during the break.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions.

Michelle Kramer

says:

We do about 10 minutes a day and my first grader is loving it!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great to hear, Michelle!

Jennifer You

says:

I love the idea of a timer!

Karen McLain

says:

Thank you for the great ideas!

Charissa Reed

says:

Good to know this info as my son has a short attention span.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Charissa,
Yes, short attention spans are especially benefited from short lessons.

Ellery

says:

Excellent advise.
Ellery

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Ellery.

Michael's Mom, Patricia

says:

This program is really working for my son, who has dyslexia! I can’t tell you what it has done for his confidence. On level 2 and looking forward to growing to Level 3!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m so happy to hear that your son is gaining confidence, Patricia!

Ana

says:

Starting on AAR 2 and we are having so much fun while learning!

Kelly Keefer

says:

The unnecessary learning of sight words has led us to AAS

Allison

says:

My daughters have improved so much this year in AAR1. I can’t wait to start Pre Reading with my 5 year old when it comes :-)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

It’s wonderful to hear how well your daughters have been doing with All About Reading, Allison! Thank you.

Carolsue

says:

I was always a good speller in school, so it’s frustrating that my kids aren’t and don’t even seem to try!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Spelling comes very easily and naturally for some learners, Carolsue, and it is near impossible with traditional the weekly spelling lists approach for others. Once spelling is broken down to make sense, these students almost always start having success. Check out our 7 Ways to Make Spelling Logical blog post.

Danielle Fisher

says:

I love that the lessons are short but impactful.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We agree, Danielle!

N Laine

says:

Thanks for the info!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome!

Judith Martinez

says:

These are helpful guidelines. I’ve tried really hard to keep our lessons short.

Christina Holbrook

says:

Love you spelling and reading curriculums!
They make teaching and learning so enjoyable!

Michele

says:

My 8yo son has so much fun doing his spelling lessons. He is always asking to do another lesson. He used to hate spelling and now that he is finally understanding the rules, he loves it! Thanks AAS!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m so pleased to hear how well your son is doing with All About Spelling, Michele! So great!

Ashley

says:

So many of my friends have recommended this for learning to read age and I can’t wait to start using it with my little one!! :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m excited that you have had All About Reading recommended to you by multiple people, Ashley! Let me know if you have any questions, need help with placement, or need anything else.

Melanie Shea

says:

Looking forward to starting this program.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Do you have any questions or need help with placement or anything as you start, Melanie? Just let me know.

Candace Lamkin

says:

I love this article. I really like the idea of review, new teaching, reinforcement. I also like the idea of short effective lessons!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Candace. Yes, short lessons done consistently really pay off!

Jennifer

says:

How many new words should we practice spelling in a day?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Do you mean new words from All About Spelling, Jennifer? After the concept in the step is taught, students are usually ready to practice all 10 of the words from that step that day. However, some students really need more time to master the concept and practice it, so it may be best to practice the 10 words from the step the next day.

That is why some families use a timer. They get as much as the child can get done in one 20 minute period.

Does this answer your question? Please let me know if you need more information.

Andria Gipson

says:

I didn’t realize I had questions until I read so many of the comments. So maybe you’ve already answered this in the comments below but I don’t have the time to read all of them. I’m hoping you can take the time to help me even though I’m not taking the time to read through the comments. Sorry about the consumerism nature of that.

At any rate my daughter has severe dyslexia it took us over 3 years to complete level one of AAR she’s 8 now and we are chugging along through level 2 and plan to start AAS after the New Year. She is improving a lot in handwriting but because of her dyslexia it’s still fairly laborious for her. I usually do 20 minutes a day of AAR and she is usually assigned a small writing assignment each day (work book, copy work, or a complete the thought type of assignment that should easily be able to be done in under 10 minutes) I planned to do AAS for about 15 minutes a day. What should I add next and at what point do you know it’s time to add more (LA related obviously :) )

I also have a 6 year old without dyslexia who is doing great she is about to complete level 1 of AAR and will start AAS and her handwriting is the same as her sisters at this point as well as her time frame spent on each topic.

Thank you so much for your help!

Merry

says: Customer Service

Hi Andria, great questions! I think you have a good plan laid out for both of your girls–adding a little at a time instead of changing too much at once. This article on Lanugage Arts can help you think through your priorities each year and what you want to focus on: https://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/language-arts-in-my-household/

All About Spelling has a gradual progression for increasing the student’s stamina and fluency in writing that’s very helpful for beginning and struggling writers. It starts with just words and short phrases in Level 1, bumps up to phrases and short sentences in Level 2, and progresses to 12 dictation sentences per step in Level 3.  Partway through this level, the Writing Station is introduced.  In this exercise, students write sentences of their own that they make up using some of their spelling words.

In this way, students have begun to use words in a more real-world context through dictation and writing, to help them transition to longer writing assignments.

Dictation and the Writing Station both serve as an important bridge between spelling words in the context of lists (where the patterns are similar), and more “real world” writing.  By the end of Level 3, students have mastered about 1000 words from the regular and reinforcement lists, and they have developed stamina and some beginning editing skills that will help them when they start a formal writing program.

I would also encourage you to check out our Dyslexia Resources page if you haven’t already: https://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/category/dyslexia/

Good for you and your daughter for persevering with reading! I know that’s hard work, but it will pay off. I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions. Happy New Year!

Danielle

says:

I’m just starting AAS 1 with my daughter who just finished AAR 1. My question is…Is it possible to get too far ahead in the spelling steps, to where you overtake what they have learned in reading? As in, would it be a problem if she was one day working in AAR 2 but already up to AAS 3? I don’t know if this will end up happening, but just am wondering if I need to KEEP it from happening by accident, if it would cause problems with her not having enough background knowedledge to complete the spelling lessons?

Thanks so much!!

P.S. I used to teach in public school with Spalding and was also briefly trained in Orton-Gillingham methods…I LOVE your materials and how user-friendly they are, to the point where I can easily recommend them to friends without a teaching background – I coudn’t say that about Spalding, with its more complex learning curve. I’m so thankful I found your program!!

Nicole L Schofield

says:

I commented on this thread a year ago, but I’ll address your question now. We have been using AAR and AAS for seven years with five kids, now. I have found that usually, the child has a reading “leap” somewhere between ages 6 and 7 and finishes the reading program years before the spelling program. Just to give you an idea: Our oldest son, age 13, finished AAS 7 a few months ago; he took 7 years for Levels 1-7 in spelling. I didn’t do AAR with him, as he was reading at an advanced level prior to my knowing about AAL Press. Our 5th grade daughter finished AAR 4 at age 8 and now, at age 11, she is eight steps into AAS 6. Our 2nd grade son is gifted in language, so he finished AAR 4 at age 7 and is blasting through spelling–he is nearly done with AAS 4 already and will likely finish AAS 5 before June. Our 1st grade son, age 6.5, is in AAR 3 and AAS 1. I do teach letter sounds starting at age 3.5-4 and do the AAR pre-reading book at age 4; we start AAR Level 1 at age 5. But even if you start later and start AAR and AAS at the same time, at some point the child will get ahead in reading, at least in my experience. The AAR practice sheets become a lot shorter in late Level 2 and Levels 3-4, and the child’s fluency builds, so it doesn’t take them as long to complete steps and read stories. But there’s no reason to worry. If spelling is overtaking reading, just back off until the child’s reading catches up. Also, spelling is really easy in Level 1. It gets more complicated in Level 2 and on, especially when learning rules for things like adding suffixes and the various ways to spell the same sound. So slowing down will likely be needed, unless the child is just naturally good at spelling (like my third child). My oldest two are NOT naturally good at spelling, so they need(ed) more time. You mentioned below that you need to stop planning ahead so much. YES! I am a planner too and like to know when kids will accomplish certain things. BUT in these kinds of programs, it is less stressful to work consistently through the programs, adjusting the pace as needed, and trust that you will make good progress and that you have the freedom to hold off on one program to accommodate their progress in the other.

Danielle

says:

Thanks so much, I appreciate hearing the varied experiences of all your kids. Also the info on how the AAR practice sheets progress in Levels 2-4. And it’s nice to know that AAS Level 2 gets more difficult…skimming Level 1, it looked so easy – thus my question! It’s so interesting how this method uses phonics/reading to inform their learning of spelling, where as a method I used previously (in public school) used their phonics/spelling work as the basis for beginning their reading. Either way, the basic foundation is the phonograms, which I love. And the way each child learns differently can be so different from child to child…amazing! It’s such a neat process, watching them learn and progress, and I love how we’re blessed to see that over the course of 13+ years, if we choose to!! Yes, I’m sure as you say I can trust they’ll make good progress and just keep going with it! Thanks!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Danielle,
My youngest child got ahead in spelling when she was in All About Reading 2. It was fine!

As she continued in All About Spelling, she naturally started slowing down. The concepts and many ways of spelling one sound required us to review more and in time she got a little ahead in reading again. When finished AAR 4, she was in the second half of AAS 4.

This is not all that common, but it does happen occasionally. Kids usually don’t stay ahead for long though. Remember that there are 7 spelling levels but 4 reading levels because spelling is more difficult. That’s one reason Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately. AAS Level 1 tends to be pretty easy for kids, at least until the last 8-9 lessons. The dictations gradually get longer in subsequent levels, and sometimes that will help to slow a child down too. You can spread a lesson over as many days as needed so that the writing is not too overwhelming.

One thing I noticed was that since my daughter didn’t have the visual reinforcement of reading, sometimes it took longer for her to really solidify certain spelling patterns. For example, when to use the AI phonogram such as rain versus when to use the A-consonant-E pattern, such as bake. At that point, I had my daughter read a word bank every day, no matter if they are scheduled or not (word banks are introduced in AAS 2). I also required her to always read what she wrote (and I had to remind her to do it each time). It was weird, as sometimes she would have to slowly sound out the word she just wrote quickly without hesitation.

I also spent more days on each step as the different patterns and ways of spelling sounds were introduced. With your training, you know to slow down as needed for your student. But if your daughter doesn’t need you to slow down, it is more than fine for her to keep going forward with spelling!

Thank you for your kind words about our materials. Let me know if you have any questions or need anything else.

Danielle

says:

Thank you so much, that’s really helpful information! It’s nice the program can flex to the kids’ needs…I just need to let go of the feeling that I want to plan out all the coming years and just take one week at a time!! :)

Beth

says:

I wouldn’t worry about it too much. If one program starts to feel a bit difficult, you can back off and focus more on the other for awhile.

Danielle

says:

Thanks!!

Amberly

says:

I started doing AAR with my 8yo dyslexic son last March and it has made a world of difference! We did level 2 and part of 3 and then we took the summer off (traveled for 8 weeks, and couldn’t take everything with us). I think I’m going to review a few lessons and pick up AAR for 20 minutes a day. We are going to homeschool this year, and I want to start AAS, as well as do cursive and another ELA program (Moving Beyond the Page). I’m thinking I might only have time for 10-15 min a day if I try to do all of this. How long will it take us to get through a level if we do 10-15 min a day?

One thing I am concerned about is that he is a very reluctant writer, mostly because he freezes up when he doesn’t know how to spell a word (which is most of the time). I’m concerned that his writing will be impaired if I don’t move quickly through the spelling so that he has a strong base of words that he can spell. Does that make sense? I’ve heard that sometimes, students dictate their ideas to the parent so that they can focus on the concepts on the writing, but I don’t want to help “too” much. How should I handle this?

By the way, I’m excited about all of the good things you have to say about IEW. I’m going to keep my 12 yo home this year too, and have chosen to do IEW (along with MBTP) with him. I’m hoping to do it with my 8 yo in a year or so, once his reading and writing are a bit stronger.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

It sounds like you have a great, strong year planned out, Amberly! I’m very happy to hear that All About Reading helped to make such a difference for your son and after such a long break, I agree beginning with review is a good idea.

I think you will find our blog post Language Arts in My Household helpful. In it Merry discusses the progression from the beginning of learning to read through higher level writing and grammar. The foundations of Language Arts need to be solid before a child is ready to learn the higher things, but the good news is that even if your child is older by the time they are ready for the higher level things, they will be able to catch up without too much trouble if the foundations are in place.

In order to find more time in your day, however, you may consider limiting how much of the Language Arts portion of Moving Beyond the Page that you do. I’m not familiar enough with that curriculum to know how necessary the LA parts are to the rest of the program, but if you could leave out the LA parts while doing the rest, you may find a few more minutes in your day to focus on your son’s progress in All About Reading, All About Spelling, and cursive.

However, I think your son may be able do well with 10 to 15 minutes a day of All About Spelling, if that is all you can fit in. In fact, it is more important to do consistently do a shorter time daily than spending longer time fewer days a week. This blog post discusses how a mom spends 35 minutes daily divided between All About Reading and All About Spelling. It has been very effective for her active boys.

I cannot tell you how long it will take your unique student to get through levels of All About Spelling. Like All About Reading, it is designed to be used at each child’s individual pace and I cannot foresee how quickly he will master the material. However, it is common for level 1 to take students well under a year to complete and even at just 10 to 15 minutes a day I think that is a possibility for your son. Higher levels tend to take longer but depending on how much your son struggles they could still be under a year each.

All About Spelling has a gradual progression for increasing the student’s stamina and fluency in writing, from words and short phrases in Level 1, to phrases and short sentences in Level 2, to 12 dictation sentences per step in Level 3. Partway through Level 3, the Writing Station activity is introduced. In this exercise, students write sentences of their own that they make up using some of their spelling words. In this way students have begun to use words in a more real-world context through dictation and writing, to help them transition to longer writing assignments. The dictation is meant to be spread over several days so you can take as much or as little time on that part as your child needs.

You can have your son dictate writing assignments to you, but it isn’t necessary. Once he has a good foundation in spelling (typically around level 3, although if he struggles a lot with spelling it may be best to wait until after level 3), then begin IEW. IEW is designed that it repeats the instruction each year, so students can start wherever they are and not miss anything. One of my students was almost 13 before he started IEW and yet was on grade level for writing within a year. However, one tenet of IEW is that it is impossible to help too much. If you attempt to help too much, your student will show you in one way or another that it was unneeded, such as working ahead of your help or just telling you that he doesn’t need help.

I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have further questions or need anything.

Nicole Lynn Schofield

says:

To add to this, when my daughter was 8, in addition to reading (she had finished AAR 4, so she was reading independently and then narrating what she read back to me) and AAS, we did Well Trained Mind Press’s First Language Lessons Levels 1-2, grammar sections only (skipping narration and picture study, as we cover these elsewhere). That took about 5-10 min per lesson. The next year, she started Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) Fix It Grammar Level 1, about 10-15 min per day. For writing at age 8, we did IEW. Writing takes longer, about 30-40 min per day. In general, each day she either wrote an outline, wrote a paragraph based on the outline, or recopied an edited paragraph; for longer reports/essays, she worked on a paragraph at a time and then put them together at the end. At age 8, she did the IEW Bible Heroes book; this year (age 9) she did the Myths and Fairy Tales book. I did the IEW parent training for an older child, so I am very familiar with the method. I highly recommend IEW as well as their parent training DVDs or streaming videos.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nicole,
IEW is one of the few writing programs we recommend when asked as it does a great job of breaking writing down into incremental and explicit steps. I personally switched to it a few years back and I’m loving the results I’m seeing in my kids’ writing!

Thanks for the recommendation.

Nicole Lynn Schofield

says:

AAL Press recommends 20 minutes on spelling and 20 minutes on reading per day. With two kids doing AAR and three kids doing AAS, all at different levels, I find that I cannot do that. Instead, I spend 10-15 with each child per lesson. We make great progress with this and I am not frazzled. For AAR, that might look like this: Level 1 (young child), read half the story, I read a sentence, he reads a sentence. Or we read two sections on one side of the fluency sheets, then a few of the sentence sections on the other side, I read one, he reads one. Level 4 (older child who just had a leap in reading) introduce the concept and have him read the green cards and the fluency sheet (they are much shorter in L4) to ensure he can read the words with that pattern, then he reads half the story in the next lesson that reinforces the new words. Next day, he reads the other half of the story. At this point, he reads aloud while I do dishes, with me helping him with a word or two but usually not more than that. For AAS, my Level 2 kid does the review box for about five minutes, then new spelling words for about five minutes, then he writes 2-3 phrases or sentences. Level 4 daughter does review box, new spelling words, 3 sentences. Same with Level 5 son. At this rate, we do an AAS step in about 3-4 school days; I slow down when we need to and spend more days, but always just 10-15 minutes per lesson per day.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

What an excellent break down of how to make multiple levels of All About Reading and All About Spelling work, Nicole! Thank you so much for sharing this. We do recommend 20 minutes a day, but the most important part is the consistent day after day. It sounds like your kids are doing very well and you are a mastering of making it work!

We have a blog post on “Tips for Teaching Multiple Kids Together”. I think your comment would be really helpful there, so I am going to copy it and link back to this as well. Here is the link to the comment I posted.

Again, thank you.

Wendy

says:

How much time do you recommend for my 8 year old for phonics, reading, composition, grammer, and spelling?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Good question, Wendy.

We recommend spending 20 minutes a day on reading and 20 minutes a day on spelling. If your child still needs work with handwriting, 10 minutes a day on that is often a good amount. If your child is struggling with reading, spelling, or both, then it may be best to only focus on these things for a while. However, if he or she is doing well in reading, spelling, and handwriting, then it might be time to add in writing and/or grammar for about 20 minutes a day. At 8 years of age, about 60 minutes a day total devoted to Language Arts subjects may be a good amount.

I think you will find our blog post titled Language Arts in My Household helpful. It discusses the progress of Language Arts from the earliest phonics and handwriting through formal writing and grammar study and how much time to focus on each aspect.

I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have questions or need anything more.

Wendy Zamorano

says:

Thank you so much. I went through the blog post and it answered all my questions. :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad that Language Arts blog post was helpful for you, Wendy. However, if you have any further questions, just ask.

Lynn Schofield

says:

Question: How many of you fast track by skipping some of the dictation sentences, writing station, etc.? And if you do that, what does it look like?
Background: We have been using AAS for four years. I have always had the student write out all the new words, more words, phrases, sentences, and writing station over the course of a week or ten days per step. My oldest, a 5th grader, is now nine steps into Level 5. He spells most of the words right after the first dictation. I am trying to figure out a way to fast track him so that we can finish his mom-intensive spelling lessons before we add a fourth child to AAS in the 2019-20 school year. He has an advanced vocabulary, so the words in AAS Levels 6-7 are those he already uses in speech and writing; his challenge is sitting down and manually writing sentences. In addition to AAS, in his IEW grammar program, he copies an advanced sentence every day; he also writes outlines or paragraphs daily in the IEW writing program. For AAS, he’s not going to write all twelve sentences in one sitting, nor do we have time for that—it takes him a long time to write. Thus, I only ask him to write four of the sentences at a time in our daily spelling lesson (and one session per day is all I can fit in with my five kids). At this rate, takes us three days to do the sentences, and 4-5 days to complete each step. I think we can fast track in terms of his grasping spelling, but all the writing is slowing us down. What approaches do others have to a situation such as this? Thanks.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lynn,
I understand being worried about time with a new speller coming up behind. I use Fix It, Grammar and IEW as well, so I am familiar with them.

When your son does the dictation sentences and Writing Station, how much does he get incorrect? How often do you have to remind him to check for errors in spelling, capitalization, homophone use, or punctuation? If he is still making regular errors in the dictation, then it is still beneficial for him. Even if he averages just one error per sentence, he is still learning from the dictation.

However, if he is averaging less than an error per sentence, especially if he averages maybe only one error per every four sentences or so, then I would be inclined to think that all twelve dictation sentences aren’t as necessary for him. If that is the case, you could try picking out just four of the hardest sentences from each Step and then move on. However, be on the lookout for needing to slow down as he moves forward.

One approach you could try that would allow him to continue at the same pace but make spelling more, but not completely, independent for him would be to teach a lesson on one day, and then record (using an app on your phone or other means) the 10 words, the More Words, and the Dictations. Then your son would listen and write those words and dictations. You would still be needed to correct and reteach the words that he may struggle with, but it would free up some of your time. This can sometimes work for students who don’t have a lot of spelling struggles. Students who do struggle, however, need immediate feedback so that they aren’t reinforcing misspellings.

I hope this helps some. Let me know if you have questions.

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