Memoria Press has been a favorite curriculum in our home; we have enjoyed their Latin program. These last several weeks we’ve been using their Traditional Spelling II with great success and enjoyment! Memoria Press is a Classical Christian Education company that offers beautiful classical curricula and resources- they’re very well known in most homeschool circles.
All of my kids write notes and stories, or make books and cards what seems like all. day. long. Lady has been ready for more spelling focus in language arts, but because of a few struggles we needed something that included word study, application, and more intention on MY part. She is a vivacious reader, words and vocabulary are her jam, but at 7.5 years old, spelling … not so much! Piecing together ideas for practicing to go with other spelling programs just hasn’t cut it for us. That’s where Traditional Spelling II comes in!
This is a phonics based spelling program; it’s different than other spelling programs I’ve looked at or used. For us, Traditional Spelling II has taken exactly what we needed (phonics, routine/schedule, & activities) and applied it to spelling. Lessons include definitions, riddles, dictation, application, and color coding parts of words to create understanding of what one sees and hears to build the skill of spelling. It is to be used after a child has foundations in phonics/reading, and is for the grade 1, 2, 3 student. If you have used Memoria Press’s reading program, you probably alreday have some of the 4 required resources.
Included in our review are all required resources for Traditional Spelling II:
Just copying spelling words isn’t usually enough for most students; just as reading is so important for spelling ability, so is using and manipulating words, breaking them down and building them back like a puzzle, seeing the patterns, and practicing the vowel/consonant teams. This process which is used by Memoria Press is a multi-method approach to learning that is appropriate for young students-by using colors, dictation, riddles, and the other many word study activities, children learn using many methods of encoding!
How We Use It & What We Think
First- I cannot tell you how much we both look forward to our spelling lessons now, versus before. My daughter didn’t dread spelling before, it just didn’t stick, so she was disappointed when when couldn’t spell a words she knew she’d had in spelling. Knowing that each day we have activities laid out, ready and waiting on us, and helping my daughter encode at her level, has been a blessing for me. She enjoys the daily activities (some of which change weekly, keeping things consistent but fun), and it hits all areas of learning, allowing her to soak it all up.
Each Monday I begin by writing the words in sentences on the board, then we read them together and I go over their definitions (they will be used independently in sentences lasted in the week and thus students need to know the definitions). I pull out the phonics cards we need (card numbers are provided in the teacher’s manual for each lesson under “Teaching Overview“) and we talk about the sight words & spelling sounds, reading the words on the back of the cards that correlate with the sounds.
The Classical Phonics book is a great phonetic resource; Lady likes flipping through this on her own for more “studying.” I’ve also been using it with my 3.5 year old for learning letter sounds; she loves it and asks for it almost daily! But the suggested use is for reading the words found within the book which follow that week’s spelling rules to increase fluency. I can give Lady the page numbers and she is able to look them up herself and read to me, creating independence and building confidence!
Next we begin the daily activities. The teacher’s manual lays out everything I need to do or say, gives card numbers for the Phonics cards, and page numbers for the Classical Phonics book. The Guided Student Work activities from the teacher’s manual are often different each day; these are done on days 1 & 2 and include riddles, filling in blanks of words, and other word practices offered each day. I either write them on my board or say them aloud and Lady writes the answer on her dry erase board.
The Teacher’s Manual is NOT overwhelming; what the teacher says is not paragraph after paragraph of mundane script. It is simple, to the point, consistent, fun, and EASY. The TM is only about as thick as the Student Book, so there is no extra “stuff” or script weighing down my part. I love this because scripted lessons can often feel boring and dry, but these definitely aren’t!
Each day after guided practice with me, she begins her student book activities which include: word sort under phonics focus (day 1), a fun/new word activity, plus the Colorful Letters activity (day 2), reading a paragraph and completing sentences (day 3), dictation word and sentence practice (day 4), and day 5 is the final “test.” Some weeks have different activities for Day 2, separate from the Colorful Letters activity- unscrambling, alphabetical order, sorting by syllables, circling word parts, etc. The various ways she uses the words keeps her interest and increases her ability to write them correctly. The other days’ activities are consistently the same, allowing more practice for important skills in encoding.
We have been using the practice sheets as part of our handwriting/copywork. Lady is OBSESSED with cursive writing, so her student book having the cursive form of the words is a huge PLUS. She really likes to write the words in alphabetical order on her practice sheets, then write them in cursive- great meaningful practice (and all her idea).
This isn’t a “write the words, take a test on Friday, and forget it next week” program. The lessons are fairly short, holding Lady’s attention, while also being intentional about how we spend our time.
I don’t want to fill our days with meaningless busywork- we need time for read alouds, tea parties, and playing in the dirt; raising chickens, and playing with baby farm animals. Short, focused lessons mean that we have more time to do all the other things we need to, and especially the things we want. I never considered spelling particularly fun in school, it was just something we did. But with Traditional Spelling II I feel like we have a purpose for spelling each week. The word study and a colorful letters portions really help us see the parts of words without too much “stuff,” required.
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