Institute for Excellence in Writing is one of my favorite homeschool curriculum companies and I was so thankful that my oldest daughter had the opportunity to review Phonetic Zoo Spelling Level A [Starter Set] from them recently. Spelling hasn't came easy to her and I was looking forward to finding a curriculum that finally worked.
The Starter Set package we received included:
5 audio CDs as well as MP3 downloads
- The CDs come in a hard case for protection
Lesson Cards with three levels of spelling words
- The lesson cards are are card stock and very sturdy. Each card has Level A, B, C spelling words printed on them. They also include an animal and a spelling rule.
Personal Spelling Cards to keep track of misspellings
- These cards also include an animal and spelling rule
Zoo Cards that serve as a way to practice jingles or as rewards
A downloadable Phonetic Zoo Teacher’s Notes PDF file
A spelling and the brain video seminar link
How We Used It
The first thing I did was download and print the teachers manual out. I then spent time reading it over to ensure that I would be directing my daughter how to use the program properly. I found that it truly was going to be a self-teaching program.
My daughter used the program about three times a week. She devoted a notebook to all things related the the program and followed the instructions on the CD. Each lesson explained a spelling rule and included a corresponding card that also included the rule.
During each lesson she would have to listen the the words and write them. She would then have to cross out the words she missed and spell them the correct way. She would have to do this until she didn't miss any. I loved this, because it helped her understand how she was misspelling the words and allowed her to learn the right ways. She missed a ton of words at first, but I was very impressed at how much she was beginning to get right just based on the spelling rules she was learning and repeating the steps. Once she was able to spell everything correctly she could receive a little spelling card. She could display them on the wall or she could place them in a collection using a print out provided in the teachers manual. The print out is six pages and serves as a "Phonetic Zoo." The pages are sorted according to vowels and consonants. My daughter was able to take her card a place it on the pages and they serve as a "door" to a "cage." For review she could open the door to reveal the spelling rules as well as sample words. It was a great way for her to review what she had previously learned and help her to remember the spelling rules.
Phonetic Zoo Spelling Level A [Starter Set] has been a true blessing to my daughter. At first she was a little hesitate with wanting to use it. After she started to understand the process of it, she truly enjoyed it. I think she began to be proud of herself when she started to witness the progress she was making. It was a little hard for me to step back and let this actually be a self-taught program, but I seen the benefits of it with my own eyes and seen how important it really was to let her use it and prosper with it on her own. I recommend it to any parent that wants their child to understand spelling rules and spell better.
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