Spelling skills are one important component in a child’s writing development. Although there are many ways to approach spelling skills, one of the most common in the public school system is to provide a list of words to memorize each week. In order to promote spelling competence, word lists should be appropriate for the skill levels of the child. This article reviews Evan-Moor’s Building Spelling Skills, Grade 1 book. I received a complementary copy of this book in exchange for this review.
Overview of Building Spelling Skills
Building Spelling Skills is a book of grade-level spelling words and daily practice activities. It includes strategies, word lists, and activity pages. In addition, a list of dictation sentences are provided each week. These sentences include target spelling words and allow additional practice within a written sentence.
Sample Activity Pages
Sample Spelling Test
A reproducible spelling test page is also included with space for dictation sentences.
Benefits of Using Building Spelling Skills
Ready to Go Format
When I initially looked at Building Spelling Skills, my first thought was I wish I had this product when I was teaching Special Education. All the hard work of picking out grade level words and creating fun practice activities is done for you. If you have the e-version book, just print what you need and you are ready to go. If you have the printed book, use it as a guide and either make copies of student pages or purchase the student booklet to save copy time.
Uses Research-Based Strategy for Learning Spelling Words
When my oldest child was first learning to write, he became frustrated when he spelled words incorrectly. He was an advanced reader and knew when words didn’t look right. I started looking at education research for research-based methods to try out with my son. One I came across was the Copy-Cover-Compare method (Powell & Aram, 2008). This same research-based strategy is used in the Day 1, or Monday, spelling activity in Building Spelling Skills.
Spelling Lists are Customizable
Teaching spelling words according to a child’s individual skill level is supported in education research (Geshmann & Templeton, 2011). In the public school system, everyone in the class is generally given the same list of words to learn. As a homeschooler, I have a lot more freedom to pick and adapt instruction to my children’s individual learning needs. With Building Spelling Skills, you can add a bonus word to the spelling list each week. The bonus word can be a review word that needs additional practice or one that is meaningful to the child. In addition, a template is included at the end of the book to create your own spelling lists and use the Copy-Cover-Compare chart to practice learning words. You can review words that your particular student finds more difficult to learn, include some high frequency words, or create a holiday themed word list.
Generalize Spelling Skills to Writing with Spelling Dictionary
Learning to spell lists of words may not automatically generalize to writing activities. The included student created Spelling Dictionary instructions and template can be used to promote generalization. If a child needs to know how to spell a word or one they already have practiced, they can refer back to their personal Spelling Dictionary to refresh their memory.
Conclusion on Building Spelling Skills
Building Spelling Skills is a great product to have your child or student work on grade level spelling words and skills. You can customize lists as needed and the open-and-go format is perfect for busy teachers or parents. Building Spelling Skills is available for grades 1 to 6. It is also included at a discount in Evan-Moor’s Homeschool Bundles.
Homeschool curriculum bundles for grades 1–6! These affordable and easy-to-use kits provide you an entire year of lessons and materials across the core curriculum.
Geshmann, K., & Templeton, S. (2011). Stages and standards in literacy: Teaching developmentally in the age of accountability. Journal of Education, 192(1), 5- 16.
Powell, D. A., & Aram, R. (2008). Spelling in parts: A strategy for spelling and decoding polysyllabic words. Reading Teacher, 61(7), 567-570.