Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Book reviews

Words are Categorical series
[I'm not sure where I first saw this series recommended, so my apologies for not being able to give the proper credit where it is due.]

You've bought the Schoolhouse Rock video for your kids, and they can sing along with classics like "Conjunction Junction" and "A Noun's a Person, Place, or Thing" with the best of them... and yet, something seems... missing. Oh, I don't know... maybe a picture book or two, that they could read on their own and find engaging enough to keep them coming back.

Well, here it is! Brian P. Cleary is the author of the Words are Categorical series -- a fun way to teach younger elementary children parts of speech. (although you may find your older kids peering through them now and again!)

Seriously, how much fun is it to learn prepositions with lines like:

"Across the way,
toward Mississippi,
through the yard of Chris the hippie."

It's well worth a trip to the library to find a few of these! (I'll make it even easier for you... it's in the juvenile section, 428.2... )

[just as a personal aside, those aren't my favorite Schoolhouse Rock videos... without a doubt, my favorites were Interjections! and Fireworks.]


Abigail said...

How do you teach spelling in your house?

Ouiz said...

Ooh. Do you want the loooong answer or the short one?

Short answer: phonograms, the WRITING ROAD TO READING word lists, and a notebook.

Long answer:

I start the kids off using TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ IN 100 EASY LESSONS. That way we can be "up and running" rather quickly.

Somewhere around lesson 50 or so I'll start teaching them the phonograms found in THE WRITING ROAD TO READING.

The WRTR book is rather difficult to follow, so I use one of the "easier" guides. There are several, such as STARTING YOUR OWN SPELLING NOTEBOOK, or SOUND BEGINNINGS, or TEACHING READING AT HOME.

The point of the WRTR book is that English *does* follow rules, and when you learn them, you can see that spelling isn't nearly as arbitrary as it seems at first glance!

For example: the word "was." I've seen in several places they call this word a "rule breaker."

But it's not.

With the phonograms, we learn that "a" has three sounds: a, A, or ah. "S" has two sounds: s or z. When my four-year old hit this word for the first time, I simply told him to sound it out with the 3rd sound of "a" and the 2nd sound of "s," and he got it immediately.

Have I bored you to tears yet?

I know that there are many, many ways to teach spelling... but this way has worked for my three oldest, and so we'll stick with it!

Were you going to start homeschooling this coming year?

Abigail said...

Yes! Thanks so much for all your help. I hoped there was so super cool spelling program similar to "math u see." I never learned how to spell well and hoped to spare my kids turning crippled in the writing area. I'm "practicing' right now, but I'll start officially homeschooling my oldest this Fall.

Ouiz said...

Well, if you get a chance to see WRITING ROAD TO READING, don't freak out! It doesn't make sense to most people!! *grin*

However, if you get a copy of it, and use it along with some of the other references I mentioned, you will be AMAZED at how easy it is to teach spelling!

One more note: I thought it was completely goofy to follow their "notation system," and didn't see much need for it. Now, several years later, I do see the need for it. It really reinforces the rules for spelling!