Natural Speller


Jul 3 2005, 11:27 PM
I have just finished scheduling out my kids spelling. I have two questions.
1. Do you tell them which prefix to add to which word or do you tell them to add prefixes
until they find a good word. Looks like the book tells them to add the prefixes on their own. I
would think this would be too hard.

2. Vocabulary. I am always asking what the kids do in public school. They have to write 20 or
more definitions for their spelling words each week. I can't tell if this is to make sure they
know the meaning or to make sure they know how to use the dictionary. I think it would be a
waste of time to ask the student to write the definition if he already knows it. I was thinking
of telling them to write the definitions for the words I know they don't know and forget the
rest. What do you think?
Thanks for the help.

Jul 4 2005, 06:00 AM
You could teach them what each prefix means, so it will be easier for them to use the right
prefix with the root word.
I personally like to teach that the dictionary is a valuable resource that makes our lives
easier. If we make kids do busy work with dictionaries, then, negative feelings about using
the dictionary can develop. So, I agree with you about only making the kids write definitions
for new and unfamiliar words. You can always do a mini lesson on dictionary skills. Also, if
kids regard the dictionary positively, they will be more apt to use the dictionary. Then,
teachable moments will naturally occur.

Please don't feel that you have to have your kids do "what the kids do in public schools."
Often, ps teachers assign busy work to occupy their students while they work with the kids
who need extra help or grade papers, etc. As hs'ers, we are blessed not to have to use this
tactic to occupy our students, so learning is less likely to seem like a drudgery.

Jul 4 2005, 06:28 AM
I love dictionary skills and my kids always groan!
Depending on your children's ages, (I am sorry, I forget!) I like to make them put things in
A, B, C order and look up the words. Reason being, it is an invaluable tool. You not only look
things up in a dictionary, but there are other areas that you can benefit from having those
skills. Example: Phone books and encyclopedias. On the other hand, it is a bear to hear them say, "but I know that word! It's just wasting my
time!" Which can be true? I am not sure about not writing the definitions they don't know. There could be a different
definition, that they didn't know about for that word. So it could end up being a learning experience.

For prefixes. Couldn't you give them a list of them at the top of the page and have them put the correct one or ones down? That makes them think a bit.
Just a suggestion! Happy Planning!

Jul 4 2005, 07:01 AM
=QUOTE (hsbeliever @ Jul 4 2005, 07:00 AM)
"You could teach them what each prefix means, so it will be easier for them to use the right prefix with the root word."

My kids will have a list of prefixes they have to learn. This list will be kept at
the front of their spelling notebook.
I have decided to give them the prefix and tell them to add it to such and
such words. Then give the new meaning and parts of speech. That will

"Please don't feel that you have to have your kids do "what the kids do in public schools."

I never thought that my kids had to do what the kids in public schools do. I
always ask what public schools are doing to see if I need to add something,
delete something, or thank God we are not in public schools.
Thanks for the help.

Jul 4 2005, 09:58 AM
Michelle, congrats on getting your spelling planned, and considering Natural Speller, I know
that was a big job.

=QUOTE "I was thinking of telling them to write the definitions for the words I know they don't know and forget the rest. What do you think?"

That's better than having them write definitions for all of the words. This made me think though, I don't think that I ever made mine write definitions. But when they were older and if they used a workbook the workbook required it, they wrote definitions then.

Jul 4 2005, 01:53 PM
=QUOTE (Donna @ Jul 4 2005, 10:58 AM)
"This made me think though, I don't think that I ever made mine write definitions."

I looked at your schedule for your daughter and it said you had her read the
definition; it didn't say anything about writing. Ds needs to write and this is
a way for me to check to make sure he actually looked the word up.
Here is my schedule for right now. It will change in a month or two when I
will be adding more stuff for the kids to do.

Day 1: Pre-test, write misspelled words 5 times, Write definitions (of words
I say)
Day 2: Add prefixes and suffixes, learn the meaning of the prefixes, know
the meaning of the new word, write all parts of speech.
Day 3: Alphabetize words, identify guide words, write word in syllables.
Day 4: Identify antonyms, synonyms, and homonyms, review words for test
Day 5: Spelling and vocabulary test, write misspelled words 5 times and add them to next weeks list of words.

How does that look? So glad that is done. I already have picked
out four weeks of words. I limited myself to no more than 10 words right
now. This way I can add any words they misspell on writing lessons, or from
science or history. Probably no more than 15 words total for each week,
because they have a lot to do with the words they do get.

Jul 4 2005, 02:24 PM
Michelle your plan looks very good. I see that is has a lot of dictionary usage too. I also
like that you are having them working with antonyms, synonyms, and homonyms. We looked
up the antonyms and synonyms quite a bit and that seemed to help my kids build their
vocabulary in the way that helped them discover the different subtleties of the synonyms for
the same word and how each one slightly altered the meaning of a sentence, how some are
soft, strong, weak, etc. Gee, I really seem to like synonyms.
It's enough to say that the framework you have set up for spelling looks very well-rounded to

Jul 4 2005, 02:36 PM
=QUOTE (Donna @ Jul 4 2005, 03:24 PM)

"It's enough to say that the framework you have set up for spelling looks very well-rounded to me."
Thanks Donna. I didn't get much of a fedback from hubby . It is nice to
hear that what I have done will work.
Hmmm, I need buy another student dictionary and another Thesaurus.
Anything else I need for spelling besides a dictionary and a thesaurus?

Jul 4 2005, 02:51 PM
If you are going to venture into word families, then Webster's Speller (sold at stores and amazon) might be a good resource for you.
I did not need to use it a lot though, so it may not be necessary at all.

Jul 5 2005, 10:55 AM
Michelle this looks great!
I have Day1 as to just write each word 3 times. (Spelling is ds's weakness)
Day2 prefix & suffix exercises.
Day3 - still looking for what to do
Day4 - review words
Day5 - test
I like how you've added vocabulary. I think I'll use dictionary work like you did on day3 and add etymology to day2.

Jul 5 2005, 11:36 AM
Thanks, Donna. I'll look into it.

Jul 5 2005, 11:38 AM
I will be adding etymology later in the year. I just want ds and dd to get used to this schedule and using the dictionary before adding anything new.

Jul 22 2005, 09:33 AM
Okay dumb question what is etymolgy???

Jul 22 2005, 10:20 AM
Etymology is the study of words/word origins.
I liked the Bob Jones did the vocab.
Colleen had to keep a vocab notebook. There was a list of words that cropped up in her reading.
She was to pick 5-10 words and in the notebook she had to keep the following:
1. Definitions
3. All parts of speech
4.Write down at least 2 examples of antonym and synonym for the word
5. Then I made her use it in a sentence for the various parts of speech.
We actually did this together and it was alot of fun.

Jul 22 2005, 10:51 AM
Sounds fun....I am going to think if I want to add this now or next year...she is still young... never hurts to start early though

Mar 28 2006, 10:02 PM
Hey Applie, how has this worked for you? I am reading through all the spelling posts for ideas and I like the sound of Natural Speller. I was wondering though if this schedule has been effective for you this year? And do you mind if I "borrow" it?

Mar 29 2006, 12:18 AM
Hi April, I used Natural Speller off and on this year. I did end up getting a "pre-packaged" spelling curriculum and found that it was awful. The only problem I had with Natural Speller was me. I didn't plan far enough in advance. This next school year, I hope to do better.

What I did this year was use N.S. for a while. Then when I bought the curriculum (and it stunk), I would add from the N.S.
My daughter in second grade can spell my sixth grader's words. He didn't like that, so I really should use that to my advantage. A little healthy competition.
I was wondering about spelling though. I noticed that most spelling programs go to eight grade. What do you do after that?

Mar 29 2006, 02:02 PM
My DH got this in high school:
Vocabulary Builder
and I got these (which I loved):
Vocabulary Workshop
Sadlier-Oxford - the publisher's website
The workshop book has 15 units per book, with two groups of eleven words each. I used books G and H in eleventh and twelveth grades. Based on using them, what I got from them and NOT on using them as a teacher, I would recommend the Vocabulary Workshop books.


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