Structured, Color-Coded Spelling Program
Note: This spelling program is not connected to our educational game, Medieval Alliance. I began developing Spell By Color in 2010
in order to meet my own homeschooling needs and then decided to make available through my web site so that others may use it as well.
Spell By Color
Year One is completely free!
This program uses color-coding to reinforce organized instruction in the rules of spelling.
Sample Completed Lesson
Note: In my scan of the sample lesson, orange and red are a little hard to distinguish (scanner limitation) but in your child's work it will
be easy to see the difference using standard orange and red crayons.
See a review by TOS magazine (posted Nov 2016):
The Old Schoolhouse review
Excerpt from the review: "We have been using the Year One course and have found it to be easy to understand and complete the work required. The explanations and
directions are very concise and clear, making it easy for my sons to complete this on their own (though I do sit next to them just in case). So far, we have found this to
be a very thorough and complete spelling curriculum."
Description of Spell By Color:
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 Philosophy 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 leaves you a few weeks remaining in the school year to focus on age-appropriate sight words that don't fit well into any spelling rule.
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).
Year One Download:
Download Here (downloadable PDFs, zipped)
Included in zip file: Lesson and answer key files, instructions, sample lesson, supplemental dictation files, the program's scope and sequence, and a
cover page for putting in a binder.
Details on Spell By Color Years Two and Three
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.
If interested in Spell By Color Year One for public or private school use, please contribute a donation of at least $8 if you download directly through
my web site (see the donation button on the top right of this page) OR see my store at
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 for Years One and Two, creating your own sentences from the included
word lists for your child to analyze, or having your child compose their own sentences using words that you select from the word lists.
Questions? e-mail us at email@example.com
Web page:Year One (Home)
Web page:Years Two and 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