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BJU Press Spelling

Publisher: BJU Press
Review last updated: June 2012
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Spelling (BJUP)

BJU Press Spelling courses are available in second editions for grades 1 through 3, while courses for grades 4 through 6 are still first editions.

The series builds upon phonics and structural elements of words in the early grade levels, shifting more toward word origins and history at upper levels. Both first and second editions stress dictionary skills, building those into most lessons. Both first and second editions include pre-tests and final tests as well as mid-week practice tests. However, second edition pre-tests test only some of the week's words rather than all of them, and second editions also include context sentences for mid-week practice tests. Suggestions are provided for making tests either simpler or more challenging, depending upon the needs of students. Second editions include options for teaching fewer words to students who need a more limited list each week. All editions stress systematic word study skills for effective learning. At all levels, students write spelling words as they are dictated to them, and they also write sentences from dictation.

There are both a student workbook and a teacher’s edition for each level. Courses are taught from the TEs, so they are an essential component. In addition to lesson presentation instructions, TEs have reduced pictures of student pages with overprinted answers. Second edition TEs for second and third grade also include a Teachers’ Toolkit CD-ROM.

Second editions are completely rewritten and redesigned. Second editions are more colorful and up-to-date in appearance than first editions. Religious content has been shifted more into the TE. “The King’s English” activities in the first editions have been dropped in favor of Bible Truth activities in first grade and a broader incorporation of religion throughout lessons in grades 2 and 3.

Second editions are much more dependent on interaction between teacher and student. Lessons are taught through activities. Inductive learning methodology helps students discover spelling patterns rather than just reading them. Lessons teach words in groups reflecting structural patterns and spelling generalizations. One or more “memory words” (sometimes called “sight words”) are generally taught along with each lesson’s list of words that follow patterns. Student books include a dictionary that is used for reference as well as for instruction in dictionary skills.

Second edition lessons require students to think about spelling, word formation, word meanings, and usage. While workbook activities most frequently require students to fill in the blanks, they are presented with quite a bit of variety. Proofreading and composition activities stretch students beyond simple spelling exercises. Games are sometimes used along with hands-on activities.

In the first grade course, Bible truths are taught from the teacher’s editions and the Bible verse that appears at the top of the right-hand page (of each lesson’s two-page spread) in student books. Teaching instruction is within the TE.

The TEs for first through third grades include word lists, spelling generalizations (rules), instructions for giving the three tests, words with context sentences for spelling tests, sentences for dictation, and game suggestions. The Teacher’s Toolkit CD-ROM in TEs for grades two and three also have lots of extras. While there are four pages per lesson in the student workbook, the printable List Practice and List Review pages on the CD add two more pages if you choose to use them. List Practice pages are all somewhat similar as they direct students to identify and write words under the correct group headings for spelling generalizations. List Review pages follow no set format but are mostly fill-in-the-blanks type activities with occasional crossword and word search puzzles; these offer further practice with words from both the current and previous week’s lessons. CDs also include reproducible forms, game and activity suggestions, instructional aids and other extras. Note that activities and games generally assume a classroom setting although there are occasional options for a single child. Also, the instructional aids might not be very useful for homeschool settings.

In the second grade course, two friends, Robbie and Brianna, are used to create story settings for some writing activities. The third grade course often ties writing activities to the book’s food theme via Daniel and Sophia, eight-year-old twins whose parents own a restaurant. Students might help complete words in a recipe, write a thank-you note, create a menu, or write an Easter card.

Interactive, proofreading activities in both of these courses help children learn how to spot errors. Some of these activities are usually done orally with a whiteboard (or on paper) and some may be completed by students in the workbooks.

First editions for fourth through sixth grades allow students to work independently through most of each lesson. They direct students in journal writing and incorporate "The King's English" lessons. The King’s English activities can also serve as significant Bible lessons, although the random topics make them most suitable as supplements. TEs for the upper grades include teaching instructions, spelling test sentences, and answer keys.

At fourth grade, students continue to work on structural analysis while learning more about word histories (interesting!) and dictionary skills. They also learn to spell the names of the books of the Bible.

The fifth grade course includes the study of word origins and dictionary use as well as writing experiences. Students continue to study structural patterns within words, particularly looking for relationships between similar words that will help with spelling and meaning.

In sixth grade, word origins and their relationship to spelling are emphasized as students study Greek and Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

All BJU Press Spelling courses have significant Christian content including Scripture verses.


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    Instant Key

    • Learning Styles: all
      Suitable for:
      grades 1-3 require direct teaching. They work best for two or more students but can be used for a single student. Grades 4-6 allow for mostly independent work.
      grades 1-6
      Prep time needed: minimal
      Religious perspective: Protestant

    Publisher's Info

    • BJU Press

      Greenville, SC 29614
      (800) 845-5731