A Peek Inside: Starting a Spelling Notebook

in 3GRD, 4GRD, 5GRD, 6GRD, Peek Inside, Phonics/Reading, Spelling, WRTR

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This is your assignment book for Writing Road to Reading. It’s got daily assignments according to three different age group levels, but the syllabus will tell you which one to use each year. ┬áSee below for the other contents of the book.


Below you can see the first week of the most commonly used Daily Lesson Plan Option, #2. She has you go review all of the single letter phonograms for a few days, going over those with multiple sounds extra repetitions. Then we move to multi-letter phonograms. Then starting to copy the sample pages in the spelling notebook which illustrate each of the spelling rules. Then we get into learning the marking system..



And lemme stop there for a sec….The original Ayres list was a list of the 1000 most commonly used English words, organized in groups of ascending difficulty. Spalding may have combined the first seven lists (each of them were really short, I guess) to make a decent sized list out of it an called it the “A-G” list. Ultraconfusing. Colors would be less confusing. For real.

Anyway, I may be wrong or right about how it got into its current form, but just remember that there are 20 spelling lists of 100-130 words, each succeeding letter having NOTHING to do with alphabetizing the contents, but just telling you that we have added a new level of difficulty…a few new spelling rules, a few of the more obscure phonograms.

In Mari’s text, she tells you how to mark up your book so that you teach the right spelling rules for each list. There’s no need to teach them all at once. You can do it as you get to them. That is gold nugget #1.

Here is gold nugget #2:


Her diagnostic spelling test tells you what list to start on after you get through the yearly routine of reviewing the phonograms, rules, writing the notebook sample pages, and reviewing the marking system using the annoyingly named A-G list. Kids just start missing them at a certain point and that’s the lettered list you start on. (GOSH, I wish it were colors, or birds, or the names of flowers. ANYTHING but letters. But I digress.) After that, it’s just a spelling list of about 20 words a week according to Mari’s suggestions and a test on Thursday. Easy peasy once you get past the naming kerfuffle, figuring out how in the world those sample pages illustrate spelling rules (which aren’t numbered on the page, mind you), and the cross-eyed density of text in Mari’s daily assignments.

If you freak out though, I’m just an email away. It really is a good system, if you can get over a few obstacles.

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