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Dr. Joanne Meier

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Spelling made fun

February 1, 2008

Within Molly's first-grade class, there is a huge range of spelling and reading skills. Her teacher groups for reading and spelling; usually the kids who read together have the same word study words, but not always. There are four word study groups within the classroom.

Having four spelling groups is great in terms of differentiation, but tough to manage! I came across this fun site for spelling that just might be one answer for Molly's teacher.

Spelling City can be used by teachers, parents, and students to provide practice with spelling words. Teachers can upload spelling lists for their students to access, or parents/students can type in a list. There are also a bunch of lists already on the site (example: 1st grade 's' words).

Once a list of spelling words is entered, students can choose from one of three games to play. Molly really liked the Hang Mouse game. Students can also use the Teach Me feature, which reads the word, then reads each letter, and uses the word in the sentence. Finally, there's a Test Me feature which reads the words. Students type the letters and can have their word checked.

Spelling City seems relatively new, with promises of more features to come. I hope they add some spelling lists by spelling feature, rather than just initial letter. I was trained at UVA, so it's very hard for me to move away from the word study approach. I'd also like to see more games, and an expanded Teach Me feature. I'm not sure what they've got right now really "teaches" anyone how to spell. That said, Spelling City is a fun and easy way to provide individualized practice with spelling words.

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"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!" — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943