TITLE: Spelling Workout 2002
PUBLISHER: Pearson
GRADE LEVEL: 4th Grade
PREREQUISITES: 3rd grade spelling ability
REQUIRED MATERIALS: Student Edition, Teacher Edition

GENERAL APPROACH:
The overall phonics based approach of Spelling Workout Level D 2002 builds gradually over the years from simple spelling rules about sound-letter relationships to complex multisyllabic spelling patterns. Each lesson contains various exercises and fun riddles or puzzles to solve.

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES:
The consistent format of the lessons is a great strength for student and teacher alike. The 4th grade spelling lesson is built around a spelling rule, and the student completes a variety of exercises to practice the words. Exercises range from copying the words in good handwriting, to fill in the blank exercises, to writing sentences using the words.

Another strength of the 4th grade Spelling Workout 2002 Level D is the teacher edition that is available. It contains two sets of lesson plans, giving teachers the flexibility to choose between a three day or five day weekly schedule. Teachers also appreciate the tips and strategies for teaching spelling, as well as the useful dictation sentences and homework masters.

A unique strength of the program is the fact that 4th grade Spelling Workout 2002 Level D is designed to correspond directly with the Modern Curriculum Press “Plaid Phonics” program. Teachers find many benefits to using corresponding phonics and spelling programs that cover the same things at similar times. It helps students see the connections much better than using two entirely different curricula.

As to weaknesses in the program, the various teacher comments on the subject seem to come down to the same thing. Teachers comment that students don’t seem to retain the spelling words, and bright students are bored, and the program doesn’t seem to help struggling students. These issues seem to stem from the fact that the exercises have the correctly spelled words right there for the student to copy from while performing the exercise. This discourages even competent students from actually memorizing the correct spelling of the new word. It’s also pretty clear that having the answers right there is in no way going to help struggling spellers learn how to spell things correctly the first time without having to look up every word. A way around this is to have students cover the word list, or to assign little quizzes or other “closed book” exercises in addition to or as a substitute for some of the lesson material.

TOPICS AND METHODOLOGY
Taking a fun and light-hearted sports themed approach, and a base of phonics skills, the methodology of 4th grade Spelling Workout 2002 covers many important spelling rules, helping students to learn the patterns of why words are spelled the way they are and to have fun doing it.

STANDARDIZED TEST PREPARATION
With the improved language skills and attention to detail students gain from studying spelling, the Spelling Workout 2002 Level D is sure to provide 4th grade spelling students with a boost on their standardized test ability.

TEACHER REQUIREMENTS
Teacher requirements are straightforward in 4th grade Spelling Workout 2002. Teachers are encouraged to use the dictation exercises regularly, and will need to present the lesson spelling rule and grade student work.

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