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One of the frequent questions asked by teachers, whether
classroom or home school, is: Where do I start?
Our answer invariably begins with that ubiquitous, "It all
depends…" Here are some common situations
and scenarios that our customers have. If you do not
fit into one of these broad categories,
contact us for more specific
homeschooling my child. He is ten years old but
reads like a six-year-old.
We recommend that
if the child knows all the letters of the alphabet
and can write them rapidly and legibly that you
start with Sequential Spelling 1. I would also
recommend using Individualized Keyboarding.
Be sure to read the directions on how to use it to
improve his reading and spelling. It is in the back
of the book. If you are an
AVKO member, you will be
able to access the pages in
The Patterns of
English Spelling that correspond to the
words being used in
Sequential Spelling. This will
enable you to have fun timed composition exercises
to begin the process of achieving fluency in
writing. See also
Engaging Language Kits for more fun exercises to
enhance your spelling program.
a special education teacher working with 3rd and 4th
who just don't get it.
starting with Sequential Spelling 1
and start the daily test the moment the bell rings
to start the hour. I would try to finish the test in
less than 15 minutes. I would be constantly
monitoring my students to make sure that all of them
are at least attempting to spell the words being
given. Otherwise, some students who just hate making
mistakes will wait until you give the correct
spelling to write the word. In that case, no
learning will be taking place. Copying is not
learning. For best results, I would try to teach the
parents on how to give the Sequential Spelling tests
at home. (AVKO has free lesson plans for a community
adult education class for parents who want to learn
how they can help their child overcome reading or
spelling problems.) The parents could give the
spelling test that the students had in school to the
child at home. When a child is absent, he would have
to have his parents not only give the makeup tests,
but would have to write sentences for each word.
have been homeschooling all my children and have
never had a problem until little Alfred came along.
He is having trouble even learning his alphabet.
After having had
no problem as a homeschool teacher teaching children
to read, having one child that seemingly can't
learn, is not an uncommon happening. Odds are your
child is one of the 15% who are
dyslexic. But not to
worry. Your child can learn. I would suggest that
you begin with
Starting at Square One.
Please be sure to read the directions on how to give
the lessons and the phonics. This is located toward
the back of the book. Consult the table of contents.
The most important thing to remember is to have fun.
The second most important thing is to limit learning
sessions to fifteen minutes.
a principal of a school and I have seen your website
and would like to have all my teachers use your
As a principal I
would, if economically feasible, have my teachers
trained by a certified
AVKO tutor trainer in
methods. My kindergarten teachers would be gently
requested to follow the order of teaching the
letters of the alphabet as presented in
Starting at Square One. If possible, teach
both manuscript and cursive. If computers are
available for them teach keyboarding. But most
important is to have kindergarten fun. Just a little
fun learning goes a long way. There is no crushing
need to even finish all the letters of the alphabet
in kindergarten. Socialization, following
directions, and learning to play with others is more
First grade teachers could finish most of the
letters of the alphabet using manuscript and cursive
as well as keyboarding, if feasible.
The First Year of the Program:
Second, and third grade teachers would start with
Sequential Spelling 1. Each student
should have a response book, but a clean sheet of
paper every day is another method that is
Fourth and fifth grade teachers would start with
Sequential Spelling 2.
Sixth and Seventh Grade Teachers would start with
Sequential Spelling 3.
The eighth grade teachers would begin with
Sequential Spelling 4.
Year 3: The second grade teachers would use
Sequential Spelling 1. The third grade
teachers would use Sequential Spelling 2.
The fourth grade and fifth grade teachers would use
Sequential Spelling 3 as well as
The Tricky Words. The sixth and seventh
grade teachers would use
Sequential Spelling 4
as well as Speech to Spelling. The
eighth grade teachers would use
Spelling 5 as well as “The Insane Words”.
Year 4. The first, second, third, and fourth grade
teachers continue as they did the year before. The
fifth grade teachers would use
Spelling 4; the sixth and seventh grade
teachers would use Sequential Spelling 5;
the eight grade teachers would use
Year 5. The first, second, third, fourth and fifth
grade teachers continue as they did the year before.
The sixth grade teachers would use
Spelling 5; the seventh grade teachers would
Spelling 6 and add “The
Insane Words”; the eight grade teachers would use
Sequential Spelling 7.
Year 6: All grades will be on schedule:
2nd grade: Sequential Spelling 1
3rd grade: Sequential Spelling 2
4th grade: Sequential Spelling 3 plus
The Tricky Words
5th grade: Sequential
Spelling 4 plus
The Tricky Words &
IT-ss & TOOZE
6th grade: Sequential Spelling 5 plus
Speech to Spelling &
7th grade: Sequential
Spelling 6 plus
“The Insane Words” &
I Before E Rule
Sequential Spelling 7 plus
“The Insane Words”
I am a parent of a teenager who reads well above
grade level, but no one can read what he writes.
Both his spelling and his handwriting is absolutely
This is not as
uncommon as one would think. Part of the problem of
the atrocious handwriting is related to his lack of
confidence in spelling. What might look like two e’s
with a dot somewhere in between them can be read as
ei or ie, whichever is right. Still, you can help
your son improve his handwriting simply by insisting
on clarity. The old military routine that can help
him keep in shape of “ordering pushups” for each
illegible word works wonders. As far as the spelling
is concerned, we recommend starting with
Sequential Spelling 1 but getting through
the levels in a hurry for the really good readers.
As there are only 180 lessons per level and there
are twice as many days in a year with five left over
for good behavior, if you give just one ten minute
lesson every day, you can finish two levels in one
year. Two ten minute lessons every day (one in the
morning and one in late afternoon) you can cover
four levels in one year—or all seven levels in less
than two years
I am a teacher with students who constantly misspell
simple words such as its and it's, there, their, and
they're, forget to use apostrophes or else decorate
their writings with them and use them for everything
Rather than you
decorating your students’ papers with red circles
around the misspelled its or it’s, the wrong there,
their, or they’re, etc., you might try the “puzzle”
approach. You correct their papers the way you
normally except for these words. You just count them
and at the end of the paper write the number of
errors on these words they have to find and correct.
You can also help them become more aware of these
problems by having daily dictation of two sentences
from Speech to Spelling.
I am a parent of a teenager who just plain can't
read anything or spell. He wants to learn but he
doesn't want to work with kiddy books
For any teenager
who just “can’t” read or spell anything, I would
start him with
Starting at Square One.
I would make sure that he understands that even
though it starts with simple words such as a, baa,
cab, dad, it builds rapidly and he will learn
rapidly. Have him master the handwriting (manuscript
and cursive) and the keyboarding element.
Keyboarding is a great aid in as much as both hands
and both hemispheres of the brain are being used
homeschool my two kids, who are 8 and 12. You
recommend that everyone starts at Sequential
Spelling 1; how should I do this so the older child
doesn't feel embarrassed? Actually, my
eight-year-old is a better speller than my
twelve-year-old. Should I give both of them their
lessons at the same time?
Giving the test to both the eight-year-old and
the twelve-year-old at the same time may work. But,
if you think the twelve-year-old may be embarrassed
or may need extra help, give him the test first
thing in the morning while the younger one is making
his bed and straightening up his part of the
bedroom. Later on during the day, the
twelve-year-old now gives the test to his younger
sibling. Teaching is a good way of learning.
Sequential Spelling 1 seems too easy for my child.
What should I do?
If you are absolutely positive that
Sequential Spelling 1 is too easy, you can
always start with 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7. If
where you start is too difficult, you can always
drop back a level or two. See also our
tips on how to
customize Sequential Spelling for your individual
situation. Consult the
scope and sequence of
references as well as the samples of each of the levels
Spelling to make an informed decision.
If you are still not sure where to begin,
please contact us.
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