"Spell By Color"
Free Structured, Phonics-Based Spelling Program
Note: This spelling program is not connected to our educational game, Medieval Alliance. The spelling program is something I began developing in 2010
in order to meet my own homeschooling needs and then decided to make available on the web so that other homeschoolers (or really anyone wanting something
to use at home) can access it.
Brief Description of Spell By Color:
This program uses color-coding to reinforce organized instruction in the rules of spelling.
Sample Completed Lesson
Year One is geared toward 3rd grade but can be used with older children who either need extra practice or who have not yet use a rules-based spelling program.
(see Philoposhy section below if considering use before 3rd grade.)
There are a total of 31 weeks in Spell By Color Year One, averaging 4 lessons per week.
This gives you a few weeks remaining to focus on sight words that don't fit well into any spelling rule but are age-appropriate to learn.
The first few files contain instructions, a sample lesson, supplemental dictation files, the program's scope and sequence, and a cover page for putting in a binder. The
remaining files contain sets of lessons (provided both as one single PDF containing all lessons and individual PDFs for each lesson so you can use either way) and
answer keys for each of those lessons.
See separate page for details on Spell By Color Year Two Year Three
Prerequisite: These lessons assume the child has an understanding of the basic phonetics - the sounds that each individual letter can
make as well as dipthongs (vowel combos such as ou and oi) and consonant blends (combos such as tr, dr, and ng).
SPELL BY COLOR, YEAR ONE (downloadable PDFs, zipped)
NOTE TO SCHOOLS: My intent in making Spell By Color Year One available for free is for it
to be a resource for families to use at home. I am more than happy for schools (public or private) or homeschool co-ops to use
the program as well; however, I ask that you either purchase thru the TeachersPayTeachers.com web site or contribute a donation of at least $8 if accessing here
(see the donation button on the top right of this page).
Timeline for completing Spell By Color: In total, Spell By Color spans 3 years (See Year Two/Three page for explanation). Depending on the
child/circumstances, 3 years may be just right or it may be a bit too aggressive a schedule for covering the gamut of spelling rules I have included. If a slower pace is
desired, you can spend additional days on a given unit by using the dictation files that are included, practicing writing words from the included word lists or using the words
in your own sentences.
Questions? e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Instructions for Parents and Teachers
Sample Completed Lesson
Spell By Color Year One, Scope and Sequence
Quick summary of all Year One spelling rules
If you plan to put the printed lessons in a binder or have them bound and would like a cover page, print the below pdf on either white or light colored card stock.
Cover Page for Spell By Color Binder
YEAR ONE: Home
YEAR TWO: Year Two
YEAR THREE: Year Three
Philosophy on Spelling and Writing
After being introduced to the idea by a friend a few
years back, I have become a firm believer in separating writing/composition practice from spelling practice at the younger ages (the
perfectionistic tendencies of my youngest have merely served to reinforce this belief). When a child completes their writing independently during the
early years, it can't help but give them opportunities to practice incorrect spelling as well as incorrect punctuation.
If, instead, your child
dictates to you what they want to write, you write it down, and then they copy what you wrote down for them, they get the benefit of seeing and practicing
correct spelling as well as correct sentence structure and punctuation (note: there are many approaches to selecting topics to write about - including
summarizing history reading, copying classic literature, retelling favorite stories...). Then, spelling is practiced in a separate time block. Another benefit
of this approach is that when younger children are practicing writing, they are free to focus on the *content* of the writing if they are dictating to you instead of constantly
stopping to try to figure out how to spell almost every word. This gives them the freedom to write something more complex (rather than just sticking to simple
sentences that use the limited selection of words they already know how to spell). This approach is especially helpful for the perfectionist who cares *too much*
when he gets something wrong (I speak from experience, here). Then, once they have
developed a solid foundation in their spelling, you can alternate between  having them write their own compositions independently (they may still need spelling
corrections here and there at this point but would be old enough to learn how to self-correct as they write using a dictionary) and  having them copy something
more advanced than they may be ready to compose themselves.
Can I use Spell By Color before 3rd grade?
I had two reasons for labeling Spell By Color Year One as suited for Grade 3:
1) The lessons require a child to be able to read sentences comfortably at a (roughly) 3rd grade reading level. If your child is an advanced
reader, then that would not be an issue.
2) I have read that, for most children, spelling rules don't really "cement" very successfully prior to 3rd grade age...that a child can do very
well in the spelling lessons, but that for most children the material doesn't translate very effectively into their own writing prior to that age.
Given #2, it really depends on your own teaching philosophy as well as your child's individual readiness whether to begin earlier. For some children
it's probably better to just focus on phonics and strengthening reading for 1st and 2nd grade rather than present them with info they may not be able to absorb
yet. But if a younger child is ready to work on formal spelling rules and is reading comfortably, then Spell By Color should work fine for him/her.
Jett Educational Games
Located in Fairfax County, VA