Institute for Excellence in Writing offers some amazing curriculum. Recently, I had the opportunity to review Phonetic Zoo Spelling Level A (Starter Set). Earlier this year I reviewed another amazing curriculum from them. On top of that Andrew Pudewa was the main speaker at our local homeschool convention. It was a treat to be able to attend his workshops and to get to talk to him and pick his brain.
This set is intended for ages 9 and up. I received a physical copy to use.
The set includes several components for the program.
Phonetic Zoo Teacher Notes which comes as a PDF download. It has 76 pages. The first part is explaining how the programs works and how to teach Phonetic Zoo Spelling Level A. There is instructions on each of the 47 lessons and the Final exam test. Also included is an Appendix with some helpful worksheets for printing.
5 Audio CD’s that comes in a hard case with sleeves for each of the CD’s. The CD’s include a total of 47 lessons and 6 Final Exam Test for all of the lessons. You also receive a MP3 Download of the Audio.
Lesson Cards with all three levels of spelling words on it and the jingle. Printed on a heavy card stock paper. The cards are 8 ½ X 5 1/2.
Personal Spelling Cards which help you keep track of your students spelling errors.
Zoo Cards also printed on a heavy card stock that are 3 ½ X 2 1/2. There is one for each lesson in which each card includes the jingles and spelling rules.
Spelling and Brain Streaming Video Seminar.
How did I use Phonetic Zoo Spelling Level A (Starter Set)?
First, of all let me apologize for the lack of pictures. With the move my camera got packed and I forgot to download them to the computer. I wasn't at the house when the big move happened because of that I am still trying to find things! Like my camera! I just couldn't get a decent picture with my phone camera.
I used this with Little Man who is 9 and in 4 the grade.We typically did 3-4 times a week. He is my very independent child. I haven’t had a lot of success with a spelling program with him. He seems to have the privilege of being a natural speller. He didn’t get that gift from his parents as neither of us are natural speller.
We had a rocky start and I think it was the stress of moving and living at the grandparents’ house for over a month. Being in one room for sleeping, school, playing, and everything else frustrated him.
Once we finally got over a rough start after a few lessons it went smoothly.
We started out with me introducing the lesson with the large cards. We would read over the rules.
Little Man would then listen to the CD Lesson. He needed a pencil and notebook for the lesson. I really liked this as Little Man got his independence and he could pause the CD if needed to write something down or to go back if he didn’t understand something.
Afterwards, he takes a spelling test and self corrects himself using the audio CD. You don’t move forward with the next lesson until you have a 100% on the spelling words twice in a row. Little Man went quickly through the first few lessons. After every five lessons he does his own personal spelling list. These are words that he basically has misspelled often that he needs to get more practice with. Overall, Little Man was able to get most correct the first time and a few lessons he had to do over 2 to 3 times. This really frustrated him when this happened. I found that when this happened I had to take the next day off of spelling and then we would try again with success on his end.
Once Little man completed all the lesson in a set he would continue on to the final exam.
The words were easier than I expected for Little Man and he could have probably been in another level as he did well on the placement test in the next level. He lacked the knowledge of the spelling rules and I wanted him to build that foundation first before he jumped to more difficult words. I felt he would associate the rules better with words he knew first. However, we did find some words that stumped him over and over.
Little Man enjoyed the independence of the program and liked it a lot for a spelling program. He hated the monotone voice the CDs used. He said, “It made him feel like a baby with the tone”. LOL! I agree the voice is pretty boring. I tried to explain to him that it was meant to be clear for the listener. It really distracted him at times. He just wanted them to act normal and not be so b-o-r-i-n-g.
I love the approach to this spelling program. It was unique from other programs. It fits several learning styles and would be an excellent program for audio learners.
I will continue to do Phonetic Zoo Spelling Level A (Starter Set) with him as I feel that he is succeeding with spelling and learning the rules.
IEW has some amazing products. I have been pleased with everything we have used with them.
The Crew did reviews on other levels and other resources from IEW. Don’t forget to read the other reviews.