After much investigation and research, I have finally coneptualized something.
The method is quite an approach that will blend the spelling rule, grammar and punctuation, style and structure, vocalization and pronunciation, syllabication, and definition. Of course, this is very much in the style of Charlotte Mason, and it takes advantage of vintage resources and low-cost materials.
Once your child has a good grasp of phonics, which is usually by the end of the second grade, and handwriting is legible, you can switch from memorizing spelling words to studying the word’s form. Yes, I think that there is a difference. The word form must be studied in order to write and to speak correctly. A word’s form will indicate its part of speech and demonstrate its usage. There is a very close connection between studying spelling and grammar. Here is where you will see the reinforcement or benefit of directly teaching grammar in a very structured manner, but that is not the focus for this post.
This method of studying spelling requires writing, reading, both silent and aloud, and independent study. Actual testing, to verify progress or record grades, is accomplished by using studied dictation passages as outlined in the Simply Spelling text – more on that in a bit.
I decided that I wanted to establish some demonstration of progress that does not include the traditional list. The dictation will serve this purpose well. Consider also, you will be testing for the ability to transcribe, punctuate, and spell correctly while evaluating penmanship and grammar, which covers a wide range of skills and learning standards. The skill set goes much further than what I have briefly outlined. I could write pages on why and how, and I am attempting to remain as brief as I can with my exceptional propensity to be long in text.
The entire focus of studying spelling versus memorizing spelling is to actually study the words in the context of their use without pointlessly isolating them in a list.
Study the word as it plays its role in the sentence!
For example, consider the word “except”. “Except” is a preposition. “Exception” is a noun, and “exceptional” is an adjective. These are three different forms of the word “except” that have a specific spelling, specific use, and identifiable when used in context in a sentence. Therefore, we study spelling by focusing on the word form while it is in use. This does not just focus on the correct spelling but the correct way of using the word in a sentence too.
Dictation Day by Day is used, by me, for the sole purpose of copying work to create a visual memory of the spelling of the words and focus on pronunciation, using a syllabic approach.
Allow me to note. It is very easy to make the connection between the phonetic sounds, their syllabication, pronunciation, with the extra words that are included along the way for the daily lessons. For example, the sentence to use for copying work from one daily lesson is: “I like to play with Grace’s doll very much. It can lie down, shut its eyes, and go to sleep. Can you guess its name?”
The list that is given to reinforce the phonetic sounds is given below the selection: die, tie, but, cut, hut, and rut. The focal words are as follows: lie, shut, sleep, and guess. These words are the ones that we imprint visually for their spelling. They are divided by their syllables on the right side of the page and underlined in the passage. I encourage the vocalization of each sound and spelling each sound aloud. This is a prime component of Megawords that I dearly loved.
Through copying the words and the sentences for this lesson, we will do much more than just look at the letters of the word. There is a focus on the phonetic sounds of “ie” and “u”. There is punctuation and capitalization, and as a matter of fact, there is a simple demonstration of parallelism. Not only will the spelling of the target words be visually stored, but the grammar and style is imprinted too.
You may find that you will want one resource over the other, and not both. I encourage you to evaluate, justify, and plan your way to a method for studying spelling. Your design may contrast with my own, and your focus may be very different. You do not have my child as your student. Use this as a template to spring towards your own study.