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Best Self Paced Spelling Programs

Updated on October 28, 2013

Individualized Spelling Instruction For Student Success

I'm not a fan of spelling tests -- at least not the one-size-fits-all spelling tests of my childhood. Some children already know virtually every word on their spelling list, and for them 'spelling' becomes an exercise in handwriting practice... or, worse, in perfectionism. Other children miss word after word week after week, and they too learn little. Their spelling troubles may not be for lack of effort -- they are simply not at the spelling developmental level to benefit from grade level instruction.

Not every child needs a formal spelling program. Some students pick up spelling patterns intuitively as they read and write. For the many children (and adult second language learners) who do need formal instruction, however, I recommend an individualized spelling program -- one with a strong diagnostic assessment component.

Spelling Frustration

Spelling Frustration
Spelling Frustration

The 3,000 Most Commonly Used Words

It can be a good idea to base spelling instruction off the most frequently used words in the English language. If they're organized/ grouped properly, phonics instruction can be integrated seamlessly. A program like Spelling Power does the integration and grouping for you. If you want to do the organization and planning yourself -- and save a little -- you might start with these 3,000 words.

Spelling Power Book and CD

My personal favorite is Spelling Power. I first encountered the program when I worked at a home school cooperative for secondary students. It remains my preferred spelling program for third grade on up to secondary school and beyond -- though I like exploring new programs as well. On this page, I will introduce you to Spelling Power and to a few other contenders. (And if you know a good one, let me know.)

Spelling Power, Fourth Edition
Spelling Power, Fourth Edition

A comprehensive self-paced spelling program featuring 5,000 of the most common words in the English language, from primary grade level on up to college. Spiraled curriculum, multi-sensory practice ideas... Your purchase includes both digital and print materials. This may be the only spelling curriculum you ever need to buy.


Highlights of Spelling Power Program

  • Students are given a comprehensive assessment based on the 5,000 most common words in the English language.
  • Learning is mastery-based. (Students have to master the material in order to move on.)
  • Most word lists are organized according to spelling pattern, but the same spelling patterns are visited again and again, at multiple levels. Thus the teacher can instruct students who are working at different levels... at the same time!
  • There are lots of cool ideas for multi-sensory practice.
  • The program incorporates spiraling -- the child sees a few review words amidst the new ones.

Your Take on Individualized Spelling Programs

Is individualized spelling the way to teach spelling?

More Curriculum Reviews - For Spelling Power

Spelling Power is especially suited for homeschool use, but it can be adapted for classroom use as well. Some teachers have students give each other spelling tests -- an approach that works in Montessori classrooms can be used in other classroom settings as well.

Online Spelling Fun

Here are some online spelling practice activities for different age groups. These aren't sequentialized spelling curricula, but they do interject some fun into spelling practice... for some students.

Organizing Spelling Materials

Spelling Power Student Record Book: Yellow
Spelling Power Student Record Book: Yellow

Having a hard time organizing all that spelling paperwork? Yes, the curriculum book comes with blackline masters, but many parents find a spelling notebook handy. Spelling Power notebooks come in different colors (with different ruling).


Contact me

If you or your student needs help with spelling, language, or writing skills, feel free to contact me.

Thoughts About Spelling?

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    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      7 years ago from Royalton

      Luckily my children are much better spellers that I am. I taught them phonics using the Explode the Code series when they were young and then they just seemed to pick up spelling naturally. Children I help in school, however, often need lots of help. I will look into the programs suggested here.

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 

      7 years ago from So Cal

      Will start homeschooling in the fall and I did go read some of the reviews of this product. Adding this as a favorite so I can find it when I can afford it. Thanks! Angel Blessed.

    • Barb McCoy profile image

      Barb McCoy 

      7 years ago

      We have completed Spelling Power and my boys are excellent spellers. Love the system.

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Quick 

      8 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      We use Spelling Power too. I really like it for my (formerly) struggling speller. The repetition and hands-on aspect are crucial.

      By the way, there is a review of SP at The Curriculum Choice, written by Barb who is also a Squidoo lensmaster.


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