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All About Spelling For Adults

I’ve made no secret that I am a horrible speller.  Even though I wrote down every single word on my spelling list 25 times (no joke), all through my childhood, I never learned to spell well.  This has caused no end of embarrassment, although I have learned a lot of coping strategies over the years.  On AP tests and during college finals, I would simply choose words that I knew how to spell, even if I really wanted to use bigger, better words that were more impressive.  I also heavily rely on spell check, but even that is not fool-proof.  When I was a third grade teacher, I was lucky that the parents in my classroom were very understanding when I once sent out a classroom email about the read aloud book we were doing, Loser by Jerry Spinelli, and spelled it L-O-O-S-E-R!

I really want things to be different for my own children, which is why I’m willing to count my pennies, and invest in All About Spelling.  So far Bruce(6.5) has completed Levels 1 and Level 2.  The strange thing is, I have been amazed at how much I have learned in the process. 

As parents it is really easy to give all of your time and resources to your children, but I decided to be a bit selfish, and do something daring last month.  It may sound crazy,but I bought AAS Level 6 for myself!  Deep down, there is still a flickering hope that I might be able to learn to spell, and I am hopeful that Level 6 is the vade mecum I am looking for. 

Since I am an adult using this program, I am doing thing a little bit differently.  For starters, I am using the green cards diagnostically to find out how many words I don’t know.  My teacher and quiz partner?  That would be my son Bruce, who loves his new role as spelling master!  We are going through 30 word sets at a time, and Bruce is really enjoying his power-trip.

I can already see how much I have learned from Levels 1 and 2, because  a lot of words that I have previously misspelled like “accident”, or “occupy”, I am now getting right.   I  can picture the AAS “open door”, “closed door” syllable tags in my head. For the first time, I understood why there are two Cs! I’m also picturing the tiles, moving around in my brain.  This is monumental for me, because I have never been a person who could see how a word was supposed to look before.  I still can’t visualize the whole word, but I can see the tiles for some reason.

As it turns out, most of Level 6 is too easy.  Level 7 would probably be a better choice for me once it is released this year.  But I’m still going to read and work through the lessons, because I am making so many new spelling connections that I can hardly believe it.  Just ripping out the green cards to begin with, taught me a lot because it showed me the patterns in words, and how I could use those patterns to be a stronger speller.

If I can spell “raccoon”, then I should be able to spell “account”.  If I know the difference between “angle” and “angel”, then I should also be able to spell “camel” and “nickel”, without reversing the E-L.  If I can picture all of those words as little blue and red tiles moving around in my head, then I don’t need to be a spelling L-O-O-S-E-R after all.  🙂


  1. Michelle says:

    I’m really excited to hear that you are learning lots with AAS. I am in a similar situation. I am not a good speller at all. I will be starting AAS with my daughter in the fall. Just looking at some of the samples on line I couldn’t believe some of the spelling rules that I didn’t know! I was just planning on learning from the program as she goes through it but now you’ve inspired me to maybe check out the higher levels and actually doing it myself. Thanks for the encouragement to know I may too become a better speller in the future…..its not too late!

    • jenbrdsly says:

      I don’t think you will be disappointed in AAS. It really is great. The thing about the program is that it really does need to be done sequentially to get the most impact. So if you start yourself with levels 6 or 7 (as an adult), you won’t have the motor memory of levels 1 and 2 to help you along. (I wouldn’t be visualizing those syllable tags, for example.) I’m probably missing out on a lot of things that I would know if we had done levels 3, 4, and 5 already.

      I’m not saying that to discourage you, just to be upfront! 🙂 But the good thing about that is that even when a poor adult speller (like me) is teaching the lower levels to her kids, everyone can be learning at the same time.

      Happy spelling!

  2. Nicol says:

    I’ll have to keep this in mind. I am also a horrible speller!

  3. Claire H. says:

    For an adult wanting to remediate, I really would recommend the book The Logic of English by Denise Eide. Depending on the reviews of the accompanying curriculum once it becomes available, I may switch to that after my DS finishes AAS 3.

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