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How to Handle Spelling Rule Breakers

Learning how to spell words that don’t follow the rules can be…well…a bit boring. And we can’t have that! So the All About Spelling program has a fun and motivating way to teach these Rule Breakers.

We throw them in jail, of course!

That’s right, we put these words behind bars. Words like said, who, and once—they don’t follow the spelling rules, so they deserve to be locked in the slammer.

A jail is included in All About Spelling Levels 2 and 3, but if you don’t have one yet, you can download one here.

Download a jail for handling rule breakers

To prepare the jail for teaching, cut out the spaces between the bars so the Rule Breaker can peek through.

throwing a rule breaker word in jail

Then the fun begins.

Let’s say your child is learning to spell the word said.

All About Spelling Word Card - SAID

See the bad guy on the Word Card above? He’s a Rule Breaker. The letters “ai” almost always work together to say the long A sound, but in the word said, they say the short E sound. That’s breaking the law! So, here’s what you do:

Your child circles the “ai” (the letters that don’t say what we expect them to say). Next, he colors in the circle to highlight the problem, and then throws the Rule Breaker in jail. In the final step, he writes the word said on paper.

Here’s a silent film-style video straight out of the old West that shows our strategy in action.

Keep this strategy in mind even if you’re working with older learners, since older kids like this treatment of unruly words just as much as younger ones do. Try it and see how it sticks in their minds!

Two More Ways to Handle Rule Breakers

  1. Writing Intensive

    1. Look at the Word Card and then look at an empty spot on the table.
    2. Picture the word on the table and spell the word aloud three times.
    3. Using a finger, “write” the word on the table three times in VERY BIG LETTERS.
    4. Spell the word on paper three times.

    In the space of a minute or two, your child will have practiced the word nine times.

  2. Tactile Practice

    In this exercise, your child “writes” the Rule Breaker on a tactile surface, using his pointer finger instead of a pencil. Some surfaces to consider include:

    1. Sand in a shoe box lid
    2. A sheet of fine sandpaper
    3. “Feely” fabrics such as burlap, velvet, or corduroy
    4. Salt poured into a baking pan
    5. Plush carpet square

We treat Rule Breakers differently from other words to help kids learn them soon after they are introduced. Two effective ways to burn something into memory are frequency (repeated review) and intensity (different and surprising treatment), so keep these ideas in mind as you handle the Rule Breakers. Doing whatever it takes to enable your student to spell these words correctly right from the start will prevent problems later.

Most Words Do Follow the Rules

Thankfully, the vast majority of spelling words do follow consistent patterns. And when kids first start out, we are careful to work only with words that follow the rules. This helps kids internalize the fact that there are reliable rules and that they can make sense of spelling. They discover that they don’t need to resort to guessing or memorizing strings of letters.

So, before introducing the first Rule Breakers, make sure your child can spell hundreds of “law-abiding” words. Then–and only then–begin teaching the unruly ones.

Which spelling words cause your child the most difficulty? Let me know in the comments, and then download my free e-book called “Six Ways We Make Spelling Easy” below!

Six Ways We Make Spelling Easy Report

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Leave a Comment

Lydia R.

says:

Thank you for this download! Now my younger one can have his own set of rule breaker cards when it’s his turn to use AAS.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Lydia. I have a younger one too that wants to color the rule-breaker cards and would be disappointed using her brother’s already colored ones.

Another benefit I have found with these printable rule-breaker cards is that when we put a card in jail, I tend to forget to review it after the first day. I look through the review box and forget to look at the jail on the wall. Now we throw the printed card in jail but I can keep the green card in the review box so that I remember to review it.

Deidre

says:

That is such a fun idea!

Trish

says:

Tee hee hee! This is a fun one!

Mindy Walls

says:

My son loves throwing words on jail!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mindy,
My kids love throwing words in jail too! I think they like the feeling of authority. 😉

Jessica Hamer

says:

My boys love when they see “rule breakers”! For some reason they think it’s just so funny to them! 😁 We Love AAR & AAS!!

Whitney P

says:

It’s always great to have a visual reminder.

Brenda Goodwin

says:

Thanks! Like the tactile ideas

Carol

says:

I like your rule for jail breakers idea!

Tracy

says:

These are such engaging, simple, practical ways to help students begin to get spelling–for rule breakers or rule followers–into their bodies. I feel certain that putting rule breakers in jail would motivate many spellers.

Cassidy

says:

I have twin girls that learn spelling together. Circling the rule breaker and putting it in jail is highly anticipated. They both insist that it is their time, every time!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Cassidy,
Well, now with the printable word cards in this Rule Breaker’s download, both girls can circle the rule-breaking letters!

Lacy Carter

says:

Thanks!

Toni H

says:

This is such a fun idea!

Linda Ortell

says:

Can’t wait to get started with this program.

Carol

says:

I like your spelling rule breaker. Will help me a lot.

Gale

says:

I like the idea of coloring the part that breaks a rule. We also keep a list where we write the word and every time we add a new word we read all the other words on the list, to remind us.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I like your list that also serves as additional review, Gale! Thanks for sharing this idea.

Sherry

says:

My oldest has loved the jail so far! She is ready to start level 6. We have the jails laminated and she writes the rule breaker words in the jail with a dry erase marker. That way she can refer back to her jails to see all the words that she has thrown in there so far. Thanks for the download of the jail, because her jails are getting a little full!!! This way my youngest can have her own set of jails to write her own rule breakers on too!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I love your approach, Sherry! It’s like a Tricky Word List introduced in Level 6. Thanks for sharing this.

Renae B.

says:

I like how the words are treated as different visually and how they are learned. My 3 year old who likes to tag along with my first grader while he is doing school, sees one of these cards and runs to go find the jail card to put it behind.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Renae,
I can totally picture your 3-year-old’s excitement about the jail! Sounds like lots of fun learning going on!

Julie

says:

Great ideas!

tresa

says:

That’s a neat way to get kids to focus in on words that don’t follow rules – jail time!

Jayne

says:

I love this! This will put some fun in our lessons!

Becky Jermeay

says:

Great article and ideas for help spelling difficult words! I’m definitely going to try some of these tips with my own kids.

Amanda Schaeffer

says:

I think this would be a really useful tool for my second grader. Certain spelling rules really make her frustrated.

I love all your stuff, so helpful!

Audra Hatfield

says:

I would love to win All about spelling for my son.

Jennifer Chandler

says:

AAS looks like a fun way to teach spelling!!! My children are going to love this rule-breaker activity.

Luci

says:

My girls love role playing police officers, so this is a great way to engage them! Haha cant wait to introduce it to them. Thank you

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Luci,
This activity will be so much fun for kids that like playing police officer!

Helen Peters

says:

This is a great program! It went too slowly for my daughter, who finds spelling really easy, but for my son, who struggles with it, it worked well. I love that they focus on rules and also point out e rule breakers in a fun way! It makes spelling more interesting. 😉👍🏻

Sarah

says:

This looks amazing! I’m in a unique situation as my husband home-schools our kids, but I am a public school teacher! In my school teaching spelling has been optional the past few years. I agree with not having kids just memorize 20 words every week, but there needs to be something that they can use to understand how to spell/write words. I know this also flows into their reading. Understanding the rules and rule breakers helps them all around! I would love to try this at home to get familiar with it, then bring it into my classroom and to my colleagues!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
We have a blog post on 12 Reasons Teachers Love All About Reading and All About Spelling that will I think you’ll find helpful. Let me know if you have any questions or need anything.

Kim

says:

All About Spelling is a great curriculum that is easy to teach and easy for students to understand. My son has been able to apply the spelling principles he’s learned even to words that he has not yet “studied”.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kim,
I love that your son is able to apply spelling rules and patterns he has learned even to words he has not studied! That is one of the great benefits of All About Spelling’s approach.

Hadiyah

says:

This looks like a fun, fascinating spelling activity. English definitely has quite a bunch of rule breakers. I wish this is was around when we were growing up =D
Gratefully though, our youngsters will have access to this.

Jenn Braswell

says:

What great tips. Thank you

Leah Harris

says:

This program looks interesting! Spelling is incredibly important! Thank you for the information.

Amanda L

says:

My oldest is about to start level 7 is AAS! Your program has been a blessing to all of us- I wish I had been taught these logical spelling rules instead of an over reliance on sight words.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Congratulations on making it to the last level of All About Spelling, Amanda. How exciting!

T. Pressley

says:

I have been using AAS for 2 years with my son and we both love it!! His spelling has improved so much!!

Lisa young

says:

I would love this for my kids!

Lori Cook

says:

We are about to hit those in spelling next year.

Nicole

says:

This was very helpful!

Krysta

says:

This is cool! Personally I hate rule breaking words and homonyms.. and homophones… very frustrating when spelling is a weak area. Love the advice!

Julie Scheele

says:

I LOVE your program and am so glad we found it! It has been a life saver for our son who has auditory processing issues. Can you just imagine how he did when we used a sequential spelling program… it was a miserable failure for both he and I. Thank you for the free downloads; they will be very helpful.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Julie,
It’s wonderful that All About Spelling is working out so well for your son!

Jamie

says:

My son would love this.

Elize van der Merwe

says:

Rule breakers are definitely giving my visual/auditory learner son a difficult time. He says “but they look the same as the others”. Going to have a look at your e-book, thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Elize,
Your son is so right; rule breakers don’t look any different than words that follow the rules. That’s part of makes them so tricky. Tell him great observation!

Jen

says:

So many great ideas! I will be bookmarking this page to refer back! Thank you!!

Leigh

says:

Jail is very inventive way to help the child remember the rule breakers! I like that!

V. Masterson

says:

Sounds like a fun way to teach these!

Laura Malzon

says:

My kiddos love putting the rule breakers in jail, and I’ve been surprised by how effective this is in helping them remember the spelling for these tricky words!

Sherri O.

says:

What a great way to remember rule breakers!

Jackie

says:

I love this fun activity!

Christine M.

says:

This was such an easy activity to put together and the kids loved it!

Terri Moore

says:

A fun idea and I love the tactile practice too. Thanks so much.

Sally Chancellor

says:

We just got to this lesson for the first time in AAS 2 with my daughter, and she loved it! Thanks for the great idea :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for letting us know your daughter enjoyed using the jail, Sally!

Katrina Angele

says:

I like this teaching approach.

Meagan Ramer

says:

What a fun idea to remember rule-breaker words!!

Julie Patterson

says:

We use this rule breakers idea with AAS and AAR. Great!

Cara

says:

Seems like a very fun interactive way to help our kids learn.

Jenn A

says:

This will be so helpful with my discouraged daughter. Thank you!

Renee

says:

Great ideas!

Cassandra M.

says:

Thank you so much for the free downloads that help so much!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Cassandra!

Jessica

says:

Such a fun and great way to explain these words! My kids love your curriculum

Christiana

says:

Wonderful way of helping kids understand how spelling rules don’t always apply!

Danielle

says:

Love these suggestions! These rule breakers drove me crazy as a kid!

Sarah McCaffrey

says:

I love how AAR always gives so many examples of rule abiders.

ERICA

says:

Great activity!

Kristine Malingowski

says:

Thank you!

Marcia

says:

Love this. Thank you!

Tee Simpson

says:

What a great way to learn this. Thanks.

Joy H.

says:

Great strategy for those words that don’t follow the rules! So fun!

Kristin

says:

I love the games you create! Thank you.

Stacy Willis

says:

Really enjoy this program. Both my boys are doing really well! The company is great, and the people are friendly.

Brandi Skidmore

says:

Cute idea and so fun for kids!

Tris

says:

What a fun idea! Thanks for sharing.

Cindi

says:

My kids love putting rule breakers in jail!

Denise

says:

Thank you!

Katelyn Ford

says:

Great tips!

Natalie

says:

Ooh, can’t wait to play this one! AAS2 is next on our list! My daughter likes to insert complex vowel combinations in place of what I would’ve thought were simple words. She also likes to reverse “ck” into “kc”.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Natalie,
How has your daughter done with All About Spelling 1? AAS 1 teaches the phonogram ck and when to use it and knowing that ck is a phonogram (and kc is not) should fix that problem. Also, AAS 1 teaches all 5 short vowel sounds, so that those are mastered before going on to the more complicated spelling possibilities for long vowels.

If your daughter has not done AAS 1, I recommend starting there. She may not need a lot of time on it, but it will ensure she has a good foundation in spelling and will address at least some of the spelling problems you described. If your daughter has already done AAS 1, consider spending time in review until she has mastered the concepts it presents. Most students start with All About Spelling 1 regardless of age or previous spelling ability.

Please let me know if you have questions.

Julie

says:

We love All About Spelling. I’ll have not incorporate in some of these ideas!

Tauni

says:

We love the Jail for rule breakers!! Thank you!

Jade

says:

I love the different textures for practice

Tauni

says:

My kids love the Jail for rule breakers! Thank you!

Kristen

says:

What a great idea!

amy

says:

love these games

Melida

says:

This idea is great! Will use it!

Kate

says:

Love the jail idea.

Kari

says:

My daughter and I love All About Reading and Spelling! I never could have imagined teaching reading and Spelling without the struggle. Thank you for this resources!

Tina Hickey

says:

I would love to try this with my son!

L Gunter

says:

My child loved the jail list! I have it in his saved school things because he had such fun with it. It is a great way to emphasize and practice these tricky words. Thank you for making spelling fun!

Karen

says:

Love AAR level 1 with 7 yr grandson

Nikki

says:

Nice tips. Thanks!

Marie-Paule Hill

says:

As always, great idea! I can’t wait to use it in my classroom.

Christina

says:

Great suggestions!

CHRISTINE

says:

Look forward to using this to help my kiddos! Thank you!

Tanya

says:

My son will love this idea

Kamilie

says:

This looks awesome!

Jess

says:

What a fun idea!!

Anita

says:

I absolutely don’t know what I would have done without this program! My son is actually spelling and spell talks!!! Has been a tremendous success. Rule Breakers and Jail are fabulous!!

This looks pretty fun! Will have to try it out with the little jailbreaker :)

Susan P.

says:

I can’t wait until my son reaches this level. I’m sure he will find it fun and learn them easier. I like the idea of the tactile learning for spelling.

Hesed Fourroux

says:

My sons love throwing the disobedient words in jail! It’s such a fun learning tool.

Mary

says:

Thank you for these spelling aids. They look great!!!

Hallie

says:

This is a great idea. My kids are past this stage, but I am hoping to get to homeschool at least one of my upcoming grandkids (only one of my own left to get through school and he’s beginning 8th grade)

Holly Threatt

says:

I am a special education teacher in a public elementary school. I have been reading the reviews about the All About Reading Curriculum and am very impressed. I really want to try the program.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Holly,
You may find our blog post on 12 Reasons Teachers Love All About Reading and All About Spelling helpful to you if you haven’t seen it already. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Ellen E Theiss

says:

What a neat idea!

Thank you. I tutor a 72 year old in adult literacy. I can use the cards without the jail. (I think that would be too immature for her). I do not have a budget, so I am always looking for free material.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Faye,
You’re welcome.

I can understand not using the jail, but do have her circle the letters that don’t make the sounds we expect and color the circle in. That act is very helpful to highlight that it is only a one or a few letters that are breaking the rules and the rest of the word is predictable. Plus, the physical activity helps with retention.

Brenda H.

says:

All About Reading and All About Spelling have been a huge blessing to our homeschool family! Thank you so much for your emphasis on phonics and utilizing the Orton-Gillingham approach.

Rebecca

says:

This is too cute…

jeanette

says:

can’t wait to use

Jodi

says:

Thank you for the great tips! My kids will love these!

Charity Lehman

says:

This is great. These are useful tips I can picture us using at our kitchen table this fall!

Jen

says:

What a fun game! My kids aren’t quite old enough to be spelling yet, any tips on how to keep these fun ideas stored away for later?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jen,
Do you use a digital calendar? When I find a tip or resource that I would like to use in the future, I set myself an appointment to remind myself about it. Even if it will be three years or more before your kids are ready to be spelling rule breakers, your digital calendar can give you an alert to revisit this blog post.

Another thing I do is keep a list of resources I have on a note app like OneNote or EverNote. I have a master list with all the resources/curriculum/activities/etc in alphabetical order by title followed by a sentence detailing what the resource is. Then with ease of copying and pasting, I made other lists that separate the items by subject matter, by level (preschool, elementary, high school, etc.), and by type (digital, book, DVD, etc.). It takes only seconds to update the lists when I find something new. I’ve been homeschooling my 5 children for over 16 years now and these lists have been hugely helpful for me!

I hope this helps a little. We’d love to hear if anyone else has other ideas!

Lisa

says:

Love the word jail. Thank you!

Donna Floyd

says:

Fun learning. Thank you!

Melissa

says:

Hoping this helps with my dyslexic daughter!!

LoryAnn

says:

I love all these tips! I have one son who really benefits from writing in salt or drawing the letters in the air.

Victoria

says:

What great tips! The English language has so many rule breakers… what a great way to help them remember!

Love all about spelling!

Michelle

says:

What a great activity! Thank you!

Christine Thabet

says:

I am teaching a child who has enormous difficulty with “pl” words such as “plan”. He always reads the words correctly and says them corrctly, but is unable to sell hem correctly.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m sorry your student is struggling with this, Christine.

How well does he segment words before spelling them? Segmenting is a critical skill for spelling and practicing it will help him to hear all the sounds in words. Have him segment plan using tokens, pennies, or little pieces of paper. He should say four distinct sounds and pull down four tokens (or other items). If he tries to say “pl” as a single sound, remind him that there is no phonogram that says “pl”, that “pl” is actually two sounds. Can he hear what two sounds are in “pl”? Encourage him to segment each word before he spells it, not just the pl ones. Breaking words into their sounds needs to become automatic.

How does he misspell words like plan? Does he spell it pan? Or paln? Or something else? Spelling plan as pan shows that he isn’t hearing the /l/ sound clearly. You can play games using letter tiles where you ask him to change words by adding or removing the l. Build the word plan, have him read it, and then ask him to make it pan. Then change pan to pant, have him read it and then change it to plant. Start with pot and then have him make it plot. Doing this a few times in each lesson will help to keep the concept fresh in his mind.

If he is spelling plan as paln or something similar, he is spelling by memory and not by sound. He knows the letters p, a, l, and n are all in the word, but he doesn’t remember the order. Segmenting will help this as well, as it encourages to not have to rely on his memory, but rather rely on the sounds. When you spell by sound, it becomes obvious that the l must be before the a not after it.

When he spells a word, have him read what he wrote exactly as he wrote it. Require him to say each sound he wrote and then blend the sounds. This will help him to be able to self-check if he spelled the word correctly or not. While it is most important for him to do this with words he misspells, he won’t be able to know which words are misspelled unless it does it for all words. Also, allow him the chance to find and fix his own errors with the minimum about of help necessary as that is much more effective for learning than pointing the error out. For example, if he writes four words and one is misspelled, tell him that three are right and one is wrong and then give him the chance to find and fix the one. If he can’t find it, you can then tell him which is wrong but don’t tell him what is wrong about it at first, again giving him the chance to fix it.

I hope this helps. Let me know how it goes, as I would expect noticeable improvement fairly quickly after starting these techniques.

nancy ball

says:

cant wait to get to throw some words in jail. :)

Florin

says:

It`s work!!!!

Megan

says:

This is very fascinating. I’m a natural speller so it never really occurred to me how many rules and rule breakers there are!

Toni P. Sprouse

says:

I wish I had known this method years ago..I think this will be an amazing tool to use with my a.d.d. student!!

Diane

says:

I love the ideas for drawing attention to the rule breaking, ie. circling and highlighting. The tactile practices are also a great idea.

Anne

says:

My 8 year old is part little kid and part big kid. I love the activities offered here – because FUN is it when it comes to getting him interested in spelling – without feeling like he’s doing “baby stuff” or that it’s “booooooring.” Thank you for the creativity that helps us support our kids!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Anne,
That in-between little kid and big kid age is sometimes a difficult stage in teaching. It can seem there is little available that is “just right” for their learning yet still fun and engaging. I’m very happy to hear you think our approach to rule breakers will fit the need for your student!

Sherlynka s Jones

says:

I so want to win the reading giveaway but never lucky eough. So need for my grandson

ashley n Tokazowski

says:

My son has fun playing these games and the best part is he doesnt even know he is learning.

Chastity Thompson

says:

So very helpful!!!! I have a 7 year old that is terrible currently at spelling, can’t wait to implement these! Thanks so much!!

Claudia Blumrick

says:

Absolute fun way of learning. Even I am hooked! Exactly what the kids will absolutely love these ideas and games. Thank you SOOoooo much. What an amazing gift this is.

Chara

says:

Such a great idea! Can’t wait to try it with my kids!

Elaine Robinson Edmond

says:

This is really a cute way of n getting my students not only to identify these rule breakers words but in assisting them in learning to spell them. I will be using this strategy for the next school year.

Alana P

says:

Great information- well-presented, and thorough. So many adults could benefit from these tips, let alone the kids we’re educating! Haha

Pam

says:

Such a great way to engage our youngest learners. The English language is very difficult to learn. We have so many law breakers.

Jimmy Glaze

says:

Love Jail for Rule Breakers. Can’t wait to go over this with my granddaughter.

Tanya Riley

says:

Thanks for the ebook

Nicole Floyd

says:

Such good info! Thanks

Christelle

says:

Would love to try this program

Shelly Smith

says:

Thank you!

Jessie G

says:

Great way to approach this!!

Barbara

says:

I have a question about sight words. Since some children are left brain learners and some are right brain some struggle with sight words. I’ve seen where you can take a word and make a picture of it, show it to the child and it’s easy for them to see the picture in their head thus allowing them to recall the word. Do you have ideas for that? Or would you recommend jail breakers for that too?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Interesting questions, Barbara!

First, I think you will find our blog post Sight Words: What You Need to Know helpful. The term “sight word” can have different meanings and in this blog post we discuss that and our approach to them. This blog post also discusses how to approach “Leap Words”, what we call words that can’t be easily decoded.

Regarding using pictures, one thing that we have found when teaching the sounds of the letters or words is that while it may initially appear to be beneficial to use pictures, in the long term, the student is better served by making a more direct connection between the letter and the sound or the word. When a picture is used to teach, the child’s brain has to work extra hard later in order to retrieve the sound or word.

You see, when you are teaching the sounds of the letters or words using pictures, the flashcards are learned quickly by visual learners. But when the child needs to actually use the information when reading or spelling, his brain has to go through two steps: 1) recall the picture, and 2) then recall the sound or word. This results in a delay that can be a hurdle that may never be completely overcome. In addition, there are many words that cannot be adequately expressed in a simple picture. Articles, pronouns, being verbs, etc., which make up a large portion of reading, are simply too abstract. How do you make a picture of “were”?

This is why we encourage students to make a direct connection between the letter and the sound or the word. It may take longer to learn the flashcards, but in the long run, it is easier for the student.

I hope this addresses your great questions, but please let me know if you have follow-up questions or need more information.

Erin

says:

This looks fun! Thank you for putting together these free resources!

Maria

says:

What a fun resource! Thank you very much!

Lorraine

says:

Do you have any tips for using the program with multiple children at different levels or if in the same level they are at different lessons within the level? I have 4 children: a preschooler, one child who would be in level 1 and 2 children who would likely be in level 2 to start. That’s a lot of flashcards! Thanks.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lorraine,
We have lots of tips in our Teaching Reading and Spelling to Multiple Kids blog post!

The easiest way to keep track of all the flashcards is to get each child his or her own review box and set of Divider Cards. You can purchase our Reading Review Boxes, which are specifically designed to fit our cards, or you can use something else. Each child having their own box allows all the cards to remain organized and ready to go with the least amount of effort. (Note, the Pre-reading level has its own unique set of Divider Cards and they are included in both the Basic and Deluxe Pre-reading packages.)

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

Great idea, with physically throwing them in jail. The kiddos love to be theatrical. Thank you for this.

Jodi Krisher

says:

How fun!! Thank you so much!

Julie and Jonathan Hord

says:

Great game for teaching some of the rule breakers:) Your fun ideas are always a hit.

Rebecca Toti

says:

AAS is so easy to use and my dyslexic son enjoys the lessons. It has helped our homeschooling so much; no more tears during spelling lessons.

Kristee Schlaud

says:

This has been the best choice for our homeschool. We started with my daughter at age 6 and she is now 8 years old and reading at a 4th grade level and starting 3rd grade. She loves to read and write book reports. We just started with my son and literally within 10 lessons he started reading easy readers. I cannot say enough good things about this curriculum. Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Wow, Kristee, your kids are doing so very well! I love that your daughter loves to write book reports. It amazing what children like when they don’t know they are “supposed” to not like it. 😉

Leif R Anderson

says:

looking forward to working through these with our sons, these will be helpful since my wife and I weren’t trained as teachers

Kathy

says:

This is awesome! Thanks, AAS Team! My son definitely enjoys the colorful jail, which we are now printing! :-D

Natasha

says:

COOL
Looks fun!

Mira

says:

I LOVE this idea! Will use this with my children! Thanks so much for these creative ideas!!!

Suzy Crosby

says:

What a great idea – my kiddos will have such fun with this!

Erin

says:

This is great! Thanks!

Krystal

says:

This is great! To often I find myself saying, “Well, that word doesn’t obey the rules of phonics”…..”No, that one doesn’t either”……After saying it enough times even I want to throw my hands up and quit! My son is a very “law abiding” speller/reader, so when I say it doesn’t obey, he gets confused and starts questioning everything. He is going to get so much out of this game! THANK YOU!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Krystal.

Not all words that seem to not obey phonics are rule breakers. Many are obey more advanced rules than some programs teach or rules that All About Spelling teaches in higher levels. For example, I’ve seen the word “have” taught as a rule breaker because the A doesn’t say it’s long sound. However, it is actually obeying the third job of Silent E and is not a rule breaker at all. When a student is taught all the phonograms and rules rule breakers become much less common!

If you ever have questions about rule breakers or anything else, just ask!

Jennifer

says:

Thank you for providing this helpful resource! I can’t wait to try it out with my kiddos. Those pesky rule-breakers are so tough to master!

Your program has helped my dyslexic son with his reading. The engaging ways that things are presented and illustrated has helped him to be able to succeed.

Liz

says:

Anything that helps students feel successful in their reading journey is a win, win! Thank you for all the great resources.

Amanda

says:

We love ALL your products!!!!!

Mindy Rios

says:

Love this idea!!

Ashley Davieau

says:

What a fun way to keep things interesting!

Marta Strougal

says:

What a cute idea!

Julie Watkins

says:

Thanks so much! I’ll love having the extra cards for rule breakers and using these fun ideas. My daughter will love it and it’ll give her the extra practice she needs on these tricky words

Marie Miller

says:

I’m so excited to start using this program with my son in the fall. It looks like so much fun!

Kim r

says:

My son Ben has a favorite rule breaker…..been. When we throw “him” in jail, he does it with much enthusiasm! He calls him his brother been. 🙂

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kim,
I love this! It sounds like Ben and his brother have a lot of fun! 😊

Corrie

says:

Connecting “rule breakers” with a visual is a great idea.

Rosanna Klok

says:

Looks like fun! I think I need to buy a colour printer for all these fun printable activities 😊

Magela

says:

This is great. Thank you

Megan C

says:

It’s good to know the rules, even for rule breakers!

Donald Knight

says:

Wonderful…I like the fact that, in a short space of time, the child gets to practise the word nine times.

Laura Brown

says:

Laughing out loud…when my oldest was learning to read and spell, he called words that didn’t follow the rules “naughty words.” I guess jail is right where they would end up if they didn’t straighten up…which they apparently haven’t in the past few decades.

Ronel

says:

Thank you for the great blog!

Anna

says:

My son will really enjoy this…especially since his dad is a police officer.

Stacy Evans Hickman

says:

Great way to make this fun…love this program.

Marina Alonso

says:

Oh! I can’t wait till we start with AAS 1!!!!!

Amy Garrison

says:

These products have been great for my six year old! Thank you!

Shona

says:

We are loving using all about spelling. This jail will make it fun for the kids. Thanks for making it colour and black and white. Love your products.

CJ Lamica

says:

Perfect timing in finding this post. My grandkids are asking questions about these rule breakers.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I love when our blog posts can be so timely for someone. Have fun throwing words in jail!

Corinne

says:

Great post. Thanks for the tips!

Michelle Meader

says:

Thank you for making these great fun resources, my daughter loves the games! Your games make it easier for dyslexic kiddos to learn to read. 😊

Michelle

says:

Thank you for this fun game. My daughter will enjoy playing this I’m sure. Best part, she will also be learning.

Erin Campbell

says:

This looks really useful, thanks!

Krystle

says:

This sounds like a blast to play! I can’t wait to try it with my daughter!

Larae

says:

What a fun idea! My sone isn’t in Level 2 yet for AAS, but I’m sure he’ll enjoy this.

Meredith Messina

says:

I need this because telling my son that it’s just because English is a crazy language isn’t always going to cut it!

Tiffany

says:

This sounds so fun for the kiddos!!

April Ruppe

says:

What a fun concept!

Nina

says:

My daughter (9) loves throwing jailbreakers in jail. She had fun coloring the jail sheet and she gets excited when she spells them correctly and she doesn’t have to write them three times 😊

Basima

says:

Thank you They are fantastic and helpful .

Patricia Miller

says:

I’ve used this technique for awhile but without the great materials.

Marjorie

says:

Love that this makes these rule breakers visual and fun!

Amanda O’Neal

says:

I really love this printout! I’ve never wanted to write on the cards, so we’ve always just written the words on small index cards. These are much more fun for the kids. As a side note, my 7 year old looked at the black and white ones and said they were for colo blind people. 😂

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
You’re 7-year-old sounds so cute! 😊

This download will be a nice option for those that don’t like writing on the word cards, maybe because they plan to reuse them with a younger sibling or something. The very kinesthetic activity of circling and coloring over the letters that don’t say what we expect them to say is a powerful memory aid for these tricky words.

Laurie

says:

We will definitely try this!

Mary Schuh

says:

This looks so fun! This is just the sort of learning activity my son would love!

L E

says:

This is the cutest! We’re starting kindergarten this year, and my daughter is excited to learn. Since she’s only 5, I think this will be easy for her to understand, and she’s looking forward to checking it out!

Kayla

says:

Thank you for inspiring fun learning. This is amazing and fun for my kids.

Carol W

says:

Interesting idea. Looking forward to trying this in next session with student I’m tutoring during the summer!

sheryl

says:

Hi I like all about spelling but one of the hardest things I find is getting my daughter to hear the sounds in the word ie definite she will consistently spell definate

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sheryl,
I can understand her difficulty in the example you gave. The last syllable is unaccented, and the vowels in unaccented syllables are muffled and can sometimes change their sounds completely. It can make knowing which vowel to use very difficult.

What level of All About Spelling is she in? AAS doesn’t work with such issues very much until about level 5 and then it is a main focus for the rest of the series. When is she making errors like this? Is it during your daily spelling lesson time, or when she is doing other writing? Generative writing, when the person is creating the content from scratch, requires so much focus and attention that spelling may get pushed aside. It may be that she would catch such errors if given a separate time, such as the next day, to edit her work.

If this is happening during her daily spelling time with words she has already been taught, then she may need more regular review of mastered words. You could set aside a day each week to work only on reviewing previously learned words so that they remain fresh in her mind. This blog post, 8 Great Ways to Review Spelling Word Cards, has lots of ideas for making review fun and engaging.

I’d love to help you further with this. Please let me know what level of All About Spelling she is in and when these errors are occurring.

Nancy

says:

Excited for the chance to try your products! I’ve heard great things, but haven’t actually had a chance to see it in person. :)

Amanda Urzica

says:

My son loves the jail idea already and is excited to find the bad guys. ;)

Louise

says:

Thanks for the Jail spelling game. I wish I had known about it earlier as I taught a group of kids that would have loved it.

Amanda

says:

My kids love the jail – the first grader and the fourth grader!

Joy Barrus

says:

Love getting these little reminders, gets me back into the fun of teaching

Jaci Hart

says:

A dream coming true… the website and resources the program has provided have been and are a huge help to me and my daughter! I too had to learn what my 2nd grader wasn’t understanding and I had to figure out why she couldn’t read. We played games and took it slow, step by step she began to make progress. After 7 months of practice, she is Now able to Read :)! She won an award for the Most Progress Made in Reading skills. :)!
Each step is meaningful and necessary to her and me too! Both Programs are amazing! The App has been very helpful too. Thank you for all you do!! I’m looking forward to continuing this journey!! Thanks soooo much!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Awww, you are so welcome, Jaci. It sounds like you and your daughter have worked hard and that work paid off big time! Way to go, both of you!!!

Gina

says:

We love AAR and AAS! My 7 year old son thinks the rule breaker jail is hilarious.

Shelley A.

says:

Thank you for the list of “Rule Breakers” and a fun way to present them!

Lacy

says:

Words that don’t follow rules can be frustrating. Thanks for making them a little less so :)

Aide Calvillo

says:

Thanks for this resource!

Jennie V

says:

This is my biggest struggle teaching spelling. Thank you for this resource!

Courtney

says:

Wow! What a fun and helpful resource! Thank You!

Sarah

says:

My kids love throwing rule breakers in jail! Great idea!

Kimi

says:

My kids will just love throwing the bad guy in jail! Thanks!

Emilie

says:

My daughter is nearly done with AAS Level 1. I think she’s really going to like the activities featured in this post once she gets to level 2!

This sounds great and well explained I’m sure when we get to that level my son will love the concept of putting the rule breaker in jail !

Dellynne

says:

Love the silent film style and my kids will too! Thank you.

Yolanda

says:

I have 3 boys who could use this! I love the programs and site!

Julie Ohlde

says:

Excited to use this;)

SHERRY THOMPSON

says:

I think my boys will really like this. They love learning through games.

Leslie

says:

I love this! Thank you so much.

Jeana

says:

My Son likes putting the rule breakers in jail :-)

Danielle P.

says:

I love way it is explained.

Allison P.

says:

I can’t wait to try this with both my girls!!

Donna

says:

So many rule breakers. It is difficult for students to know when it is a rule breaker and when it isn’t.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Donna,
It can seem tricky, but rule breakers are much less common than many think. In this video, Marie shows that 90% of the Dolch Sight Word list is decodable and are not rule breakers. In addition, in all rule breakers, it is only some of the letters that don’t say the sounds we expect them to say. By circling and highlighting the letters that are breaking the rules, we show students only a sound or two is to be memorized and the rest produce predictable, phonetic sounds.

In the download, you will see each word lists which level of All About Spelling they are taught in. While there are almost 40 rule breakers in the download, you’ll see that they are taught over six levels of AAS. AAS does teach a few more than these, but the total is still under 50. For almost all students, this means they must learn less than 50 rule breakers over the course of years. Very few students find it difficult because of AAS’s focus on mastering words that obey the rules first.

I hope this helps some, but please let me know if you have questions about helping students with rule breaker confusion or anything else.

Heather B

says:

I like this colored version!

Stephanie Johnson

says:

Looks like a good program to help to learn to read

Sally

says:

Student will enjoy this.

Jennie

says:

What a great tool for rule breakers! Can’t wait to use it. Thanks!

Rosemary Gustin

says:

I love the cute rule breaker guy.

Leslie

says:

Thank you for this post. I needed the ideas for the rule breakers. Heck, I’m glad to have the ideas for all of it.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad to hear this was helpful for you, Leslie. Let us know if you have any questions about any specific words.

Chelsey Stafki

says:

We have just started level 2, and my son really enjoyed level 1. I only wish we had started the program sooner. Can’t wait to use the “jail” for the rule breakers in this level. :)

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jen,
That’s a great idea! I’m going to pass it along. Some kids needs lots of on going review to really master something like this.

Sherry Nadeau

says:

Ough words and wh words

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sherry,
Yes, these are tricky words.

The first thing for WH is to see if your child can hear the difference between a word with WH and one with just W. Some regional accents pronounce these so subtly that telling them apart by sound may not be possible. If she (or he) cannot hear the difference, then one help for some WH words is to teach your child the 6 questions words: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Once your child can list the 6 questions words, you can show her that every one of them has a W and an H. How mixes things up with the W and H separated, and who is a trickster with the W silent, but they all have a W and an H. That is the 5 most common WH words covered. The others ones she will have to learn by sight, but keeping the words in regular review for a long while should help her master them.

OUGH words are way more tricky. OUGH has 6 unique sounds (you can hear them with our Phonogram Sound App). All About Spelling teaches the OUGH words by teaching just one sound at a time and waiting a long time before introducing the next sound. Allow your child to really master the words of one sound of OUGH before starting to work on the next one.

I hope this helps some.

Pam Mouton

says:

I’m using both programs with my daughter and love both of them. We are however having an issue with spelling using the letter e when it sounds like and I! Any suggestions?

Pam

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Pam,
I think you are referring to the tendency, in some regions in US especially, for short e to be pronounced like a short i sound. This is called the Pen/Pin Merger, and it’s common enough that we have an entire blog post dedicated to it. Pin or Pen? Solving Short I/Short E Confusion.

However, if this blog post doesn’t address the issue you are having please let me know.

Cheryl

says:

We have loved the jail. Now words that don’t follow the rules are fun, instead of being annoying!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Cheryl,
Isn’t the jail great? I love how the jail makes the problem the word’s fault, not the child’s fault.

asha poorna

says:

Great!I like the tactile part of learning.Thank you for sharing with us..

Dolly

says:

I love the way the rule breakers are taught using the jail! My daughter really likes the concepts and she enjoys learning to spell with this concept! It is always wonderful to see smiles when spelling as she has always struggled with spelling and with this program she loves spelling time!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Dolly,
This is great! Thank you for sharing how AAS has helped your daughter change her attitude about spelling.

Sarah H

says:

My 6 year old loves the idea of putting the rule breakers in Jail. This concept has really helped her to remember the rule breaker words.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
It’s a great visual for kids, isn’t it?

Melissa Ford

says:

Thank you for this post. My daughter is almost through the entire first book but we are stuck on a few things. I am having her go back to the tiles for a while before we move on.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Melissa,
You are welcome. Let us know if you ever need help with anything.

Kim S.

says:

Great spelling tips! My kids love AAS!

DailyWoman (Lacey)

says:

Words that Sound the same but are spelled different give my kids the most problems.

Victoria

says:

My children love the jail….I took crayons and markers and colored it in! Laminated it since it will go through 6 children….my kids also know that when we get to the “vowel team” magnet card that when I check their answer…I will get my best rowdy cowgirl voice and yell, “yaw….yaw..yipp…yipp..” They know it’s coming now, but in the beginning…it was fun to watch them “jump with laughter.”

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Victoria,
What a way to make it more fun! I may have to try that :D.

Love that we are incorporating more tactile activities to address learning styles in children. This is helpful for trying to reach a struggling reader, writer, and speller.

CherylB

says:

Great tips on helping my daughter with her spelling! Thanks.

Traci

says:

My boy loves the Jail… It helps his visual memory considerably! Still some trouble with short I short e..

.

Sarah N

says:

I love that you share these tid bits for free! I cannot thank you enough for what you do, we’re just starting to discover my daughters struggles and figure them out, so tips like these help guide us. Thank you!

Katie T.

says:

Thanks for the tips, I have a hard time with spelling so teaching my kids is getting hard.

Candace G.

says:

Thank you for these creative ideas. My daughter has dyslexia and writing words over and over wasn’t helping.

Maria

says:

We haven’t gotten to the rule breakers yet in the program but we are excited to start. I have several kids starting the program this year and the middle kids complain it is too much like phonics….by golly, it is like phonics. Phonics will help you spell (and read) well, my dear! Loving the program…hope they all come on board!

Lacey

says:

My son loves the rule breaker cards :)

Lisa Tambellini

says:

My boys love the rule breaker theme! Such a great idea and it really helps with spelling those words. I do wish that the jail had an pocket or the like attached so the rule breakers could actually “go to jail.” I never really understood how to use the jail page, except for a visual reminder. But having the sheriff on those rule breaker cards is really a great idea. My boys get excited when they see a rule breaker card. Thanks for all your creativity and effort with this program!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Lisa,
I use a magnet to hold the rule breaker rule card behind the bars of the jail, bars I cut out with an exacto knife. However, I think you could make a pocket with tape and a clear page protector.

Ruth Kershaw

says:

We haven’t started the spelling curriculum with my son yet, but he has a few speech issues. I’m working on resolving them, but I do wonder if they will cause problems with his spelling if they haven’t improved by the time we start AAS. We’re doing the AAR pre-reading curriculum right now, and I’m hoping that learning to read will help him with his mispronunciations. (I suspect he has some learning disabilities, though they haven’t been officially diagnosed.) Should I wait for his pronunciations to improve before we start the spelling curriculum? And I wonder what to do if they don’t improve…

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Ruth,
The answer is “it depends”. Some children find learning to read and spell to be a great help in their speech issues, while others find their speech issues make learning to spell especially difficult.

We do recommend waiting to start All About Spelling until your son has finished All About Reading Level 1. Reading is easier than spelling, so having a good start in reading helps spelling go better. This article, The Right Time to Start, explains this and more reasons for waiting to start spelling.

As for what to do if speech issues do not improve, you may consider seeking a speech evaluation. Many mispronunciations are common among children, such as having difficulties with the /th/ sound. It is considered normal to mispronounce /th/ until age 8 or so. However, speech difficulties beyond the normal age for development do not always correct themselves without speech therapy. Here is a chart that will give you an idea of the normal ages for sound development.

Ann

says:

I appreciate that you give so many thorough ideas for common problems with spelling.

Lacey

says:

My kids love the word jail! Thanks for making spelling so fun.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Debra,
That is where the Review Box comes in. Words stay in review until they are mastered, and then we schedule a master review twice per level. Then words and concepts come up again and again in the dictation. Review, review, review is such a huge ingredient for success.

Stephenie McBride

says:

I like the idea of putting rule breakers “in jail.” It makes it stick out in my child’s mind.

Hope

says:

I have a 6 year old that has a lisp. She is actually getting better at pronunciation as she learns to read and spell, but fun tricks are always great things to add in! Sounds like an enjoyable program!

Cornel

says:

My daughter is in Gr 2 and have English as a second language. They are learning all about spelling at this stage, so I believe your report will help a lot

Dominica

says:

My almost 7 year old is finally at the point where she is attempting to write creatively on her own. She uses the phonics she learned in AAR level 1 to phonetically spell words like “majik” and when I give her the correct spelling she shakes her head about rule breaking. I’m hoping that as we progress through AAS-1 and AAR-2 it will all start to make more sense to her. For now, I’m happy that she is trying to apply what she’s learned, and I assure her that she is doing a good job of using what she knows to sound out words.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Dominica,
Magic is an example of “ic” words, words that end in the syllable “/ik/” spelled ic. Other words include attic, topic, music, and fabric. Reading such words isn’t really an issue, but we teach the spelling of them in All About Spelling Level 4. The “ic” words are a special group of words. Most of the time, when the /k/ sound comes right after a short vowel, it is spelled with ck. However, in multisyllable words ending in the syllable /ik/, the /k/ sound is spelled with the letter c.

So, magic isn’t really a rule breaker; it’s one of a group of words that follow a predictable pattern. It is simply a pattern she hasn’t learned yet.

Mary-Anne

says:

I started level one AAR with my daughter this year and I’ve been so impressed with this curriculum!

Shannon Campbell

says:

I’m doing preschool at home and although we are not learning spelling skills yet, this will be helpful next year as we get to that point. We are practicing all three methods for the alphabet but the tactile suggestions have really given me more ideas for alternative methods to introduce letters of the alphabet and even numbers and shapes.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Shannon,
Have fun with preschool. I miss it.

Have you seen our ABC Snacks series? It’s another fun way to reinforce letters and letter sounds.

Sarah Dugger

says:

This is so helpful for my dyslexic child!!

AnnieWms

says:

My first grader is three lessons away from finishing AAR level 1! We will be starting AAS level 1 next week! Some of her favorite flash cards are the rule breaker words. I’m glad to have read this article about troublemaker words and how to approach them. This program has been working so well for us! One of my biggest concerns when I was researching curriculum in January was the gaps between reading and spelling programs. When I found AAS and AAR I was elated! No gaps! I’m very appreciative!

Renae

says:

I have looked primarily into the reading program so far. The rule breaker bad guy cards and jail in the spelling program will peak my son’s interest for sure. Thank you for making spelling more fun.

Kristina McGuire

says:

I would like to win lvl 2.

Heather S

says:

These materials look so great, can’t wait to have my daughter try them!

Marty C.

says:

My first language was Italian, which is spelled exactly as it’s pronounced. If you learn the letters of the alphabet, you can read. I don’t even remember spending time on spelling in school or ever having trouble with misspelled words except for occasionally with doubled consonants. I watch my daughter struggle and spend so much time learning to spell in English and can’t help wishing English didn’t require so much time learning to read and write that could be spent learning other things….

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Marty,
I was just discussing this the other day with a friend, only comparing Spanish to English (since that was her children’s second language). Part of English’s problem is that we retain the historic spellings of words, whether they originate from Old English, Latin, or numerous other languages.

There has been movements to simplify English spelling to one sound per phonogram, one phonogram per sound, but these movements have never gained wide spread acceptance and thus have failed every time. As a mom of 4 dyslexic children, I wish I could change the minds of the entire English speaking world so that we could adopt a much more simplified written language. But until that happens, I have All About Reading and All About Spelling.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sharon,
The /th/ sound is a common mispronunciation for kids up to age 7 or 8. However, it is possible to help them master the sound. This video by Rachel’s English can help you understand what it happening in the mouth for the sound, and then you can teach your son. Try it together in front of a mirror and have a silly time with it.

When my son struggled with /th/, I would remind him to bite his tongue, as the sound is made with the tongue between the teeth. Teeth ends in /th/, and he must use his teeth to make the sound. It helped him to remember, and practice and gentle reminders were all that was needed to help him master the sound and with that help his spelling.

Candiss Petersen

says:

My kids thing rule breakers are funny! They always crack up when a word doesn’t fit the rules. :)

Jennifer

says:

Thank you so much for the curriculum and additional online helps! Your attention to so many details is impressive and very helpful.

Cindy

says:

As a home educator my 6th grader has one version of spelling and the 1st grader has a different (better) version. This fact was brought home by the spelling lesson he got yesterday. There was a section for drop the final “e”. It took a while for me to figure out that the 6th grader was to write words that do not include an “e” like confiding, reviving, and stifling. Here the “e” is dropped because we’re adding a vowel suffix. Sloped was not included because even though you drop the “e” in slope you add the “ed” /ed, d, t/ past tense ending. The thing that really got me though, was when they asked for ‘Dropping -ing or -ed’. These ended up being words that did not have a silent final “e” because they all ended in a vowel and a consonant and had the accent on the first syllable. This was very confusing as I had not ever heard this rule of “Dropping -ing or -ed”. It sounds like -ing and -ed are supposed to be missing. The first grader has a more logical way of putting it. Her rule would be 2-syllable words with the accent on the last one, double the final consonant before a vowel suffix. Orbit -ing has the accent on the first syllable so that when you add the vowel suffix you leave the root word alone because the rule says accent on the last syllable. Does your method mesh with the 1st grader or the 6th grader?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Cindy,
We teach this the way your 1st grader learned it. We teach what we call “The Doubling Rule”. This rule asks, “Does the last syllable end in one vowel followed by one consonant? Is the accent on the last syllable?” If the answer is yes to both questions, then double the last letter before adding a vowel suffix.

However, we wait until All About Spelling Level 5 to teach this rule, because many people, and especially those with dyslexia, struggle to identify which syllable has an accent. Is the accent on the first or last syllable in admit? Offer? Refer? This lesson was a bear to get through for my two children that have made it to that level, and it required (or is still requiring) lots of ongoing review.

I hope this answers your question. Let me know if I can help in any further way.

Cassia

says:

After pulling my children out of public school two years ago, after my younger daughter was retained because of reading, I decided to homeschool. Spelling was always tough because of the “Rule Breakers”. Since beginning our school at home my kids have grown in leaps and bounds. My daughter who was retained is now reading 2 grades above her level. Once we hit level 2 in AAS the issues with rule breakers started to disappear. I’ve not used anything but AAR and AAS. It’s truly been a blessing for us. I cannot begin to express the thanks I have for these two programs!! It works!!!

Niki

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She is having the most trouble at the moment with rule breakers :-(
Very happy to have All about spelling :-) :-) Thanks so much for All about spelling and reading :-) :-)

Monica Ferrell

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LOVE the word cards!

zekesmom10

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I love the rule breaker jail. There are plenty of words I still would have to put there!

Laura J

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Thank you for the the tips. They are really helpful. :)

Michele D

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Since starting with All About Spelling several years ago, my children have improved immensely in their spelling skills. They have internalized the strategies for those tough words, and my daughter especially loves throwing words in jail. Thanks for publishing this great product.

Melissa

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I love the idea of rule breakers! We get double the bang for our buck – review of the rule and learning the exception(s). Priceless

Malia Reynolds

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To see the lights go on in the little minds of my children as they understand a new concept is priceless! Thank you so much!

Amy Rose

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Can we get adults to do these exercises for Rule Breakers too?!
I’m really looking forward to seeing how well my 5-year-old takes to spelling, since his father and I excelled in language skills. I’m sure we’ll meet at least one of these challenges. Thanks for the tips!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Grace,
You are welcome. Everybody has at least one or two words that give them trouble. One of my co-workers would have her daughter throw troublemakers in jail, even if they weren’t rule breakers, for “disturbing the peace”. :D

Rebekah Hand

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I can daily see the progress and understanding in my children. We use both AAS and AAR and I can see the layers and layers of learning happening. Thank you!

kristi

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We pronounce for spelling with ruke breakers too, ie remember said is spelled s (long a) d or what is wh (short a)t. It has helped a lot.

Lindsey

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This is an issue we are just starting to run into. My son is so used to sounding things out that he doesn’t get that there are “rule breakers” that can’t be sounded out. It’s very frustrating for him. Thank you for these tips. Definitely going to incorporate them.

MamaJocey

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While I don’t have any particular examples of problem spelling words, I liked this article – especially the tips for dealing with the ‘rule breakers’. Very helpful ideas!

Lindsey Breker

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Great information! I am going to put this to practice!

Amanda

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Such helpful info! Thanks!!

Rebecca Vissing

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I downloaded the example lessons to see how well they workedfor my son and I am so thrilled that it worked so well! I cant wait to get him started on your program!

Amy Cook

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We Ab-so-lute-ly LOVE the Rule Breakers cards ~ sooooo helpful !

Heather

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My older boys learned the Rule Breaker jail words years ago with AAS and they still comment on throwing words in jail. Now the younger boys are going through and love it just as much. They all enjoy searching for words to put in jail.

Jennifer Anson

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We are starting our jail page next week! Thanks for the tips :)

Loreen G.

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These helpful hints are adding to our spelling successes. Many thanks!

Andrea

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I LOVE All About Reading and All About Spelling for reasons like this post! You breakdown something that could be very overwhelming and frustration into simple steps. We have made so much progress following your program. Thank you for posting these tips to keep them fresh in our minds, so that we handle those mistakes in a way that will lead to the child learning it the right way.

Cara

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Most often, the problem at our house is the mind moving faster than the fingers! However, the jail? One of our favorite things!

Rachel Cripe

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7 days I with aar and aas and I’m thrilled!

Jessica

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We struggle with this in our house sometimes. But the AAR/AAS curriculum always helps to clear it up!

Kelly

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I’m going to use these strategies with my reading students. Thanks!

Deborah

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My son struggles most with the rule breakers!
He’s a visual learner so we’ve had a measure of success with my drawing pictures for some (like next to diesel I drew a face with X’s for eyes and said “you’ll ‘die’ if you drink diesel”) ;-) he got a kick out of that.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Deborah,
What a fun way to help him remember. Thanks for sharing it.

Marietta

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Great tips. My students have lots of trouble with “wh” words..specifically ‘who’ and ‘what’. “Says” always surprises me too.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Marietta,
All About Spelling has a Key Card (blue card) asking students what the 6 question words are: who, what, when, where, why, and how. We teach them because most of them are trouble makers, and one way they give trouble is that everyone one of them has an H in them. Knowing that all the question words have an H usually helps students right away with what, when, where, and why.

Who is taught as a rule breaker, because the WH says only /h/. It doesn’t have a /w/ sound at all. We circle the WH in yellow, throw the card in jail, and then practice it, a lot. How is the only question word that tends to be straight forward to spell.

An added bonus of memorizing the 6 question words is that you don’t have to teach them when you want your students to do narrative writing. These are the exact same questions that good narrative writing ought to address.

Jill S.

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I like the concept of a “jail” for words that don’t follow the rules–having that visual image really helps!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jill,
The visual is great, but even better throwing the words in jail shows the child that these words are the problem, not the child’s ability to spell. It is a confidence booster.

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