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The Seven Steps to Beginning Curriculum for The Young Reader

Each month we will be featuring a different part of the Seven Steps. If you miss any of the parts or just want to go back and re-read a part, just click on the links below .

1. Strategies For a Positive Mind (August 2005)
2. Writing Plain and Clear (September 2005)
3. Vocabulary By Example (October 2005)
4. Spelling In Parts (November 2005)
5. Listening With Feedback (December 2005)
6. Comprehension Puzzle (January 2006)
7. Phonemic Awareness (March 2006)

Spelling In Parts


A. Check to see if your child is getting SPELLING SUPPORT METHODOLOGY in the classroom setting.

1. Does the teacher respond to only the loudest, correct child?
2. Does the teacher allow 30 seconds of silence after sounding out a spelling word?
3. Does one teacher have control of learning in the classroom?
4. Does any other adult in the classroom repeat the teacher’s direction?
5. Does the teacher play with learning in new creative ways?
6. Does the teacher willingly “get down on the rug” to explain at a level your child can understand?

A top teacher vicariously “jumps into the shoes of a child” to learn their educational growth needs. Not every child hears the classroom instructions as their mind is in the middle of mapping understanding. Their minds are building bridges, one brick at time, of connecting sounds to symbols to words. Often, an immature spelling mind will give up building blocks because the teacher will not wait for their mind to accept the new word and process its parts. A top teacher gives the whole class a 30 second silent time to make the mental bridge building stronger and stronger in weak spelling students. I use my hands to eliminate the “one who gets it” from shouting out the answer and teaching the “bridge builders” that it is no use to try because “he always gets the answer before I have even a chance to think.” The children are instructed that when my hands grip a fist no one may speak, but when my hands open up every one may tell me the answer. Feed back lets me know who gets the spelling lesson. If five students respond at the end of 30 seconds, then only five have built an educational bridge. So I will repeat sounding out the same word again with a 30 second delay. Usually, the second time the slow bridge builders will have had time to get the new information into their thinking process and respond correctly.

There is nothing worst in a classroom than two teachers in control at the same time. Children need one director only to be high achievers. A top aide never repeats the directions of the teacher, but may ask quietly to a child what did the teacher say? If a child knows another helper will repeat the directions, their minds will completely turn off the teacher’s voice.

A good spelling teacher will think of creative, fun ways to learn a spelling word as not every child learns the same way. This teacher will look for individual needs and meet that need even if it means getting down on the rug to show a child how a word goes together.

B. Examine your at home methods that SUPPORT ONE ON ONE SPELLING HELP.

1. Does your child like spelling help?
2. Do the eyes of your child shift back and forth when learning to spell?
3. Is spelling time full of laughter and fun?
4. Do you keep a task short and simple?
5. Have you found a successful way to help your child with spelling?
6. Have you shared with his teacher your success at home?

Be a microscope mother helper . Watch every expression, eye movement, body movement, and lip movement of your child during the short spelling lesson help. Work out a plan with your child that he can live with such as on Monday we will read all of the words together. On Tuesday we will write each word once. On Wednesday we will take a pretest with the list in front of you. On Thursday we will look at the hard words and figure a way to remember them. On Friday we will go to the store and look for some of the words. Make it fun and full of smiles. If your child is not getting a word do not get mad. It means that you need to think of a different way to explain the word’s sounds. You might draw a picture of an ant above the short "a” sound. You might use pieces of paper with one letter on each, scramble them on the rug and let your child put it together. Do not keep doing the same thing if he is not getting it. CHANGE YOUR METHOD! Watch the eyes for signs of understanding. When the eyes are bright and direct, the child knows and understands the spelling word. When you find a way that works, share it with his teacher.


1. Using a 3"x5" card, cut two slits, so a long 1"x10" paper can be pulled thrum the cuts.

a. On the 3"x5" card write the word "it"
b. On the 1"x10" paper write vertically the letters: s,f,m,p,l,h,b.
c. Slide the 1"x10" paper thru the slits in the 3"x5" card to form new words.

Here are more examples:
The word: "at"    Letters: s,f,m,p,h,b
The word: "et"    Letters: s,m,p,l,b
The word: "ot"    Letters: p,l,b,h
The word: "ut"    Letters: m,p,b,h

2. Make a grid of squares on one sheet of paper. Have your child write each spelling word in one square.

Call out the spelling word from a list, so your child can color over the square with the correct word in it.

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