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How to Handle Spelling Troublemakers

Jail used for spelling troublemakers

Is your child frustrated by spelling troublemakers? During the course of spelling instruction, your child is bound to run into a troublemaker or two.

Troublemakers are words that, for one reason or another, are especially challenging to spell. They tend to fall into one of four categories: words caused by careless mistakes, words that are mispronounced, words that don’t follow the spelling rules, and homophones.

Even the very best spellers sometimes encounter troublemakers.

But knowing why a word causes your child trouble will help you find the right solution to the problem. It’s important that you match the problem with the correct remedy.

Four Common Spelling Troublemakers and Their Solutions

When you identify a problem your child is having with a troublemaker, first try to figure out why your child is misspelling the word. Then you can match the problem with the correct remedy.

  1. If Your Child Misspells a Word You Think He Should Know…

    For example, your child writes down the word form instead of from, and you know that he has spelled this word correctly on other occasions.

    The solution: ask him to slowly read exactly what he wrote down.

    Make sure that he reads each phonogram in the word. Many times, the child will catch and correct his own mistake. If he doesn’t see his mistake, tell him, “You wrote form, but we want the word from. What do you need to change?” This encourages the student to check his own work.

  2. If Your Child’s Pronunciation of a Word Makes Spelling Difficult…

    A number of different pronunciation issues can affect your child’s ability to spell words correctly.

    The solution: teach your child how to pronounce the word clearly. With the correct pronunciation, he’ll have a much better chance at being able to spell it correctly.

    Some words that are commonly mispronounced and misspelled are probably (probly), secretary (secertary), because (becuz), and library (libary). If you suspect that your child has spelled a word incorrectly because of a mispronunciation, model the correct pronunciation of the word, and have your student segment the word syllable by syllable.

    Some words are not pronounced clearly in everyday speech. For example, most Americans pronounce the word button as butn and little as liddle. Schwas, the vowel sound in an unaccented syllable of a word, often get lost in the normal rhythm of speech. In these cases, it is helpful to “pronounce for spelling” and enunciate each syllable clearly and as it is written. Regional accents can also make certain words more challenging. If your child pronounces forget as ferget—and it causes him spelling difficulties—remind him to “pronounce for spelling.”

  3. If Your Child Has Forgotten a Rule or Generalization…

    You know your child has learned the rule that should help him spell a word correctly, but he just can’t seem to remember it.

    The solution: keep those spelling rules fresh in your child’s mind!

    Demonstrate the rule by writing out or using the letter tiles to spell the troublesome word correctly and explaining how the rule applies. Have your child spell other words that follow the same rule or generalization. Be sure to revisit that rule several times over the next few days until your student demonstrates mastery of it.

  4. If the Misspelled Word Is a “Rule Breaker”…

    A Rule Breaker is a word that does not follow the rules of spelling. For example, in the word said, we expect ai to say /ā/, not /ě/.

    The solution: each time your child encounters a new Rule Breaker, have him circle the letters that don’t follow the rules.

If your child continues to misspell the same Rule Breaker, try one of these additional strategies:

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 has practiced the word nine times.

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:

  • Sand in a shoe box lid
  • A sheet of fine sandpaper
  • “Feely” fabrics such as burlap, velvet, or corduroy
  • Rice poured into a baking pan
  • Plush carpet square

Additional Built-In Help for All About Spelling Users

All of the above solutions for handling misspelled words can be used no matter which spelling program you are currently working with.

But if you’re using the All About Spelling curriculum, you’ll find special features that are built into the program to help you handle troublemakers.

  • We point out to the child which words are Rule Breakers and don’t follow the rules. Each Rule Breaker is on a flashcard, and the “bad guy” clearly marks the card.
  • Green Rule Breaker cards from All About Spelling
  • A “Jail” for Rule Breakers is included in the material packet beginning in Level 2. Words that don’t follow the rules are on flashcards. After the tricky part of the word is identified, the bad guy is thrown in jail and the word is practiced.
  • Spelling rules are on flashcards, allowing for easy and regular review. Prompts to review are given in the lesson plans.
  • Blue Spelling Rules key cards
  • After a spelling rule or generalization has been taught, additional words are provided to help illustrate the rule in various ways.
  • The lessons provide your child with multiple opportunities to apply what he has learned through activities such as writing dictated phrases (Level 1), writing dictated sentences (Level 2), and writing original sentences in the Writing Station activities (Levels 3 and up). The more your child uses what he has learned in context, the more likely he is to retain it.

The Bottom Line for Handling Spelling Troublemakers:

  • Encourage your child to read exactly what he wrote down, and give him an opportunity to self-correct.
  • Make sure your child pronounces the word correctly. Have him break the word into its individual sounds.
  • Review any spelling rules that apply.
  • If the word is a Rule Breaker, help your child identify the tricky part of the word.
  • After your child has rewritten the word correctly, provide multiple opportunities to use the word in context.

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

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. :)

Jen S

says:

The “i before e” exceptions. We’re in level 6, and the silly sentences help, but she still frequently misspells those. I even made our own blue key card with the exceptions on them to have her review daily.

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.

Dana

says:

So far, the problems seem to stem around the use of “ck” and doubling the f,l,s rules. Also found in AAS3, the word snow confused my oldest to transform to snowed, following the 1-1-1 rule.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Dana,
Let us know if you would like specific help with how to help your children with these rules.

With the 1-1-1 rule, it doesn’t apply to the word “snow”. Yes, w is a consonant so the words has 1 syllable, with 1 vowel, with 1 consonant at the end, but build the word with tiles and the problem should go away. The w is part of the vowel team ow, and the 1-1-1 rule doesn’t apply to words that end with a vowel team. Later you will learn (AAS 5 with the Doubling Rule) that w and x are never doubled.

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?

Jennifer S

says:

Our hardest words are the schwas and sometimes remembering how to pronounce for spelling. In “sensitive”, for example, is it sens- I – tive or sens – U – tive.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
Schwas are troublesome for sure. Have you seen our Making Sense of Schwas blog post?

This may help a bit:
-itive is four times as common as -utive. Also, the words with -utive, such as convolutive, all have the U clearly in the base word (convolute). Lastly, all the words I found with -utive seem strange and not ones most people would likely use at all. While the base words are common enough, such as absolute, I find it unlikely that many people would use the word absolutive.

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.

Catherine

says:

Thank you so much for these helpful tips! I really like the idea of letting the child try to figure out the mistake themselves by making them sound out exactly what they wrote.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Catherine,
Asking students to sound out a word they misspelled is a good way to help them find their own mistake, and is great practice in analyzing word spellings and proofreading. However, if you child still cannot find the error and is becoming frustrated, step in and help.

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.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Lacey,
Homophones can be tricky, that’s for sure. Starting in All About Spelling Level 3, there are special exercises scheduled for working on homophones. We also have an All About Homophones workbook to supplement.

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.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Laura,
I agree. I have a couple of children that absolutely require tactile learning in order to succeed.

I love getting the emails.

Melissa

says:

Thank you for the suggestions. I’m grateful to have such a great resource to help me help my children.

Dezari

says:

Great post!

CherylB

says:

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

Hannah

says:

Thanks so much for all the tips! I was one child that frequently found myself spelling form instead of from or leaving out letters in other words around age 6 or 7. Most of the time it was due to hurrying too much :)

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!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
You are welcome. We are happy to be a help.

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!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Maria,
If your children complain it’s too much like phonics because it is easy, move them along in the lessons faster until they get to the harder levels. Bery quickly skim the parts that they already know and slow down on the parts that they need to learn. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure they understand the concept being taught, and then move on. Here is an example of how you might fast track like this.

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.

Amanda

says:

My boys had to be in speech therapy when younger and some sounds are still hard to pronounce. It makes it harder as they try to sound things out for spelling.

Magela Gonzalez

says:

This is very helpful. Thank you.

Lacey

says:

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

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.

Debra

says:

I’m always amazed by how much repetition kids need in order to understand a concept. Maybe that should be #6! :)

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.

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.

Kammi

says:

Excited to see if the All about Reading Program will help my child read better.

Candiss Petersen

says:

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

Jodi Taylor

says:

Great program.

Stephanie

says:

i can not wait to start your all about reading with my son.

Michaela

says:

I can’t wait to use your program with my girls!

Jennifer

says:

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

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
Aww, thank you for saying so.

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.

Sharon Schoepe

says:

Great ideas to try. My son struggles with some words because he has difficulty pronouncing the th sound correctly

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.

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!!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Cassia,
Thank you so much for sharing this! I’ll pass this along to everyone at AALP.

Niki

says:

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

says:

LOVE the word cards!

zekesmom10

says:

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

Laura J

says:

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

Michele D

says:

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.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Michele,
You are welcome. Thank you for sharing how AAS has helped your children.

Melissa

says:

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

says:

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

says:

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

Amy,
You got a smile out of me. :D

Cindy

says:

Thank you so much! We love your program.

Rebekah Hand

says:

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

says:

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

says:

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.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Lindsey,
You are welcome. I’m glad this was timely for you.

Erin

says:

I am amazed about how I pronounce some words incorrectly and then see that reflected in my boys spelling. When working with this program, I’ve had to make adjustments to my speech here and there to correct my mispronunciations so that words can be spelled correctly.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Erin,
Yes! I think we all experience this in one way or another. I have always said “in-trist” instead of “in-ter-est”.

MamaJocey

says:

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!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you! We’re glad you found it helpful.

Regina Urling

says:

Great information! Thank you. My children deal with these same issues

Lindsey Breker

says:

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

Amanda

says:

Such helpful info! Thanks!!

Rebecca Vissing

says:

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!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Rebecca,
That’s great to hear!

Amy Cook

says:

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

Laurie

says:

These tips are really helpful! Thanks!!

Heather

says:

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.

Natasha

says:

These are some great tips and ideas!!

Hannah Abbott

says:

I can’t wait to start using this with my kids!

Jennifer Anson

says:

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

Deborah P.

says:

Thank you !

Loreen G.

says:

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

Andrea

says:

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.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Andrea,
You are welcome, and I completely agree!

Cara

says:

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

says:

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

Rachel Gray

says:

Great tips! Thanks!

Jessica

says:

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

Grace

says:

Thank you for these reminders as we are struggling with a few “troublemakers” in our homeschool lessons right now. Blessings!

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

Kelly

says:

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

Jennifer

says:

I had two struggling readers, one in third grade and one in second. We started back at the beginning using AAR this year. What an improvement I have already seen after just finishing Level 1. My third grader said she loves “this reading.” My second grader has made leaps and bounds in his reading. Thank you for the answer to my prayers.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
Thank you so much for sharing your children’s success! This is great. I’m going to pass this on to the whole AALP team.

Deborah

says:

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.

Jennifer

says:

I find etymology really helpful. For instance, “said” is “say” in the past tense — with the y changed to i. Only “sayed” is really difficult to say, so we say “sed.” Or again, we used to say the numeral 2 as “twoo.” We can still see this in the retention of the w in twenty and twice. So the number two is still spelled with that older pronunciation. In fact many of the more difficult words to spell in English were deliberately changed to reflect the etymology from a more phonetic spelling which had been current in the 17th c. It’s a fascinating subject.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
Etymology is fascinating, and becomes more and more useful as students’ vocabularies develop further and further. All About Spelling does teach two in the context of twenty, twice, and twin, for just the reasons you mention, and Level 7 spends lots of time discussing the language of origin for numerous words and how that affects spelling.

Jennifer

says:

Thanks for all your helpful info!

Marietta

says:

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.

Kim

says:

Love All About Learning!

sara

says:

Great tips!

Jill S.

says:

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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