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Spelling Workout

by Phillip K. Trocki

Reviewed by Martha Robinson

Purchase details: Spelling Workout Published by Modern Curriculum Press Please support by buying this program from our Amazon affiliate link.

Spelling Workout is a series of 36-lesson sports-themed workbooks. Level A is considered to be appropriate for first grade. Levels C through F were reviewed. A lesson consists of four pages in the workbook.

Each lesson begins with a short article about a point of trivia, sports, health, science and nature, and many other topics that would grab the attention of a grammar aged student. After reading this, the child takes a "warm-up" test or pre-test of the spelling words. Any words that are missed are supposed to be written in the "word locker", the child's spelling notebook, for further review. Students are taught to use these steps to learn to spell a word:

  1. Say the word. Look at the word and say the letters.
  2. Print the word with your finger.
  3. Close your eyes and think of the word.
  4. Cover the word and print it on paper.
  5. Check your spelling.

On the second page of each lesson there is a "pep talk" box in which a spelling concept is explained. Examples of "pep talks" are shown below for each of the levels reviewed:

Level C

When a vowel comes before the letter r in a word, the sound of the vowel can change... (Lesson 13)

The vowel pair oo stands for three sounds... (Lesson 22)

Homonyms are words that sound alike but have different meanings and different spellings... (Lesson 35)

Level D

You can add the suffixes ed, er, or ing to some words without changing the spelling of the root word. (Lesson 13)

The diphthongs ou and ow can make the /ou/ sound, as in without and towns. (Lesson 23)

A synonym is a word that means the same or almost the same as another word. (Lesson 34)

Level E

A vowel digraph is made from two vowels that work together to make one sound... (ai and ay) (Lesson 7)

The possessive noun form is used to show that someone or something owns, has, or possesses something... (Lesson 23)

Some singular nouns, like moose, do not change when they become plurals.... (Lesson 34)

Level F

The letters sc can make three different sounds.... (Lesson 9)

The prefixes uni and mono mean one or single... (Lesson 23)

When a short-vowel word or syllable ends in a single consonant, usually double the consonant before adding a suffix that begins with a vowel, as in equip + ed = equipped. (Lesson 31)

Next comes the "Game Plan" or exercises. On the bottom of page two there is a "Spelling Lineup" in which the child rewrites the spelling words under the sound being taught in the lesson. On page three, there are two more fill-in-the-blank exercises which may include crossword or scrambled puzzles, word comparisons, definitions, rhyming, pronunciation, and so forth.

The next section of the lesson is called "Flex Your Spelling Muscles." The child is given a writing assignment that relates in some way to the initial reading selection and asked to use the spelling words. A proofreading section has a short paragraph or poem in which there are about ten misspellings, incorrect punctuation, or duplicated words. The child is asked to use proofreading marks to correct these errors and rewrite misspelled words on the blanks provided.

The final section of the lesson is entitled "Go for the Goal." The student is given a final test and records his/her score in the "Scoreboard" box. Missed words are written in the "word locker" or spelling notebook. At the bottom of this page an extra-credit type activity called "All-Star Words" gives the student an activity to do with new words that follow the same rules discussed in the lesson.

Review lessons are provided after every five new lessons. At that time, the student is asked to review the words in the "word locker." There is not an end of year review. A small dictionary is included in the back of each workbook.

Student workbooks and teacher's manuals are available for each level. The teacher's manual correlates the spelling lesson to a lesson in MCP Phonics. Each of the sections discussed above is further explained and suggestions of questions to ask the students is included. Sentences are provided for the warm up test and final test.

Recommendation: We used this program with one child this year. This is a basic spelling program, but I am somewhat wary of programs that are "cute." The exercises are somewhat dull. The writing exercises have proven stimulating on occasion, but several of them seemed contrived and my daughter was not able to work with them well. I would encourage you to make sure that the phonics and the few grammar rules taught here agree with the other materials you are using.

I am very hesitant about using proofreading exercises like this program has with young children because visual learners tend to remember what they read. Once a word is seen misspelled, more visual children would likely remember it that way rather than the way they corrected it.

I do not think that the teacher's manual is necessary, but having the answers available would make checking work easier. The paper used in the workbook does not lend itself to erasing, so I suggest you let these workbooks be consumable. resources related to this review:'s Language Arts Resources Section for tons of ideas, links, and more!
Review of Phonetic Zoo spelling program
Review of Calvert's Interactive Spelling & Vocabulary
Review of Sequential Spelling
Review of Teaching the Trivium by the Bluedorns
Review of Spell to Read and Write and The Wise Guide

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