Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections

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There are two distinct characteristics of this well-constructed spelling program: word sorts and connections. Word Sorts is a review and reinforcement technique used throughout the series that illustrates the patterns in words and their relationship to each other. Connections emphasize the idea that spelling skills are interrelated to other language arts thinking, phonics/vocabulary, reading, and writing. The weekly lessons (units) are organized around the connections. Connections to Thinking (Day 1) covers one or more spelling concepts/constructs; for instance, specific consonant sounds /k/ or /s/. Weekly word lists are presented two ways in print and in cursive. The words are also given in a sentence. Word Sorts are used right on Day 1 dividing the word list into groupings within the concept. For instance, write words with /k/ spelled c, ck, or ch. Or, write the words with /s/ spelled c + e or c + i. You can see how the student is encouraged to remember the words by noting these patterns. Day 2 is Connections to Vocabulary (or Phonics in the early grades). These activities involve categorizing words or identifying their meanings. The student is asked to write the dictionary phonetic spellings for some words. Connections to Reading (Day 3) shows the relationship of good spelling skills to reading comprehension. Sentence completion and other activities involve making inferences or using context clues. Other activities might include analogies, understanding idioms, or synonyms. Day 4 covers Connections to Writing. Proofreading/editing exercises ferret out misspelled words and a weekly writing prompt gives the student experience in using spelling words in a variety of writing assignments. Extension activities include more word sorting, building new words, identifying words from clues, or hunting for new words with similar spelling patterns (in articles from other subject areas). Assessment (i.e. weekly spelling test) completes the lesson week.

Every sixth lesson is a review of the previous five units. Students are expected to sort a list of words into the various categories that have been studied in the previous weeks with a series of review exercises for each week's words as well. A nice feature of these review units is the standardized test practice that's included which replicate vocabulary segments from standardized tests. The review lessons conclude with a Writer's Workshop that includes grammar, usage, and mechanics and writing process activities.

The Student Edition is a consumable worktext that provides all the Connections exercises. I like the advantage offered by their side column space for writing answers. It means the column can be cut off and taken home for study. The books are colorful with color-coding for review segments. Appendices include some general writing helps, handwriting models, a list of high frequency writing words, a dictionary, and a thesaurus.

The spiral-bound Teacher Editions, while not really needed for answers, are quite helpful. In wraparound format (reduced student pages with answers surrounded by teaching tips and instructions), they provide detailed daily lesson plans for each unit, lots of ideas for differentiated instruction, teaching tips for all levels of English acquisition (ELL), integrated daily word sorts, embedded professional development that includes current research, and integration with Spelling Connections Online. Spelling Center Activities which include the game mats and additional word sort activities are listed for each unit. Spelling Connections Online is a website that offers reinforcement activities. Unfortunately, registration through a school is required, so games and activities are not currently available for homeschool students. The TE also includes a WordSort CD-ROM which contains printable word sort cards. Suggested sentences for end of week tests are found only in the TEs.

The grade level Game Mats, designed for learning centers, are light-weight, laminated, fold-over (11" x 17") game "boards" that provide reinforcing games. The three games vary with the grade level but are usually for two players and often require a dry-erase marker.

This traditional spelling program emphasizes the interrelationship of spelling with reading, writing, and vocabulary. A valuable program using just the student books, it is full-bodied and multi-faceted when using the TEs. The Game Mats provide an interesting reinforcement option.

The series is organized primarily around phonics constructs but while this predominates in the younger grades, other categories are added in the upper levels commonly confused words, frequently misspelled words, Greek and Latin roots, etc. The Kindergarten and First Grade student books differ in appearance from the older ones. The emphasis is largely on phonics, word families, and sounds/letters. The orientation is horizontal with more handwriting practice incorporated. There are no weekly word lists in the K book and it is much smaller 54 pgs. Grade 1 has six words per week; Grade 2 has 10; Grade 3 has 15; and Grades 4-8 have 20. Homeschool Bundles include both the Student and the Teacher Editions. Student books 330 pgs, pb; Teacher 382 pgs, spiral-bound with hard back cover ~ Janice

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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 6 Student Edition Item #: 060169
Grade: 6
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 5 Student Edition Item #: 060183
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 7 Student Edition Item #: 060171
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 4 Student Edition Item #: 060181
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 8 Student Edition Item #: 060173
Grade: 8
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 3 Student Edition Item #: 060179
Grade: 3
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 2 Student Edition Item #: 060177
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 1 Student Edition Item #: 060175
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade K Student Edition Item #: 060185
Grade: K
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 6 Home School Bundle - Student Edition/Teacher Edition Item #: 060168
Grade: 6
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 2 Home School Bundle -Student Edition/Teacher Edition Item #: 060176
Grade: 2
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 8 Home School Bundle - Student Edition/Teacher Edition Item #: 060172
Grade: 8
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 3 Home School Bundle - Student Edition/Teacher Edition Item #: 060178
Grade: 3
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 7 Home School Bundle - Student Edition/Teacher Edition Item #: 060170
Grade: 7
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 5 Home School Bundle - Student Edition/Teacher Edition Item #: 060182
Grade: 5
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 4 Home School Bundle - Student Edition/Teacher Edition Item #: 060180
Grade: 4
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade K Home School Bundle -Student Edition/Teacher Edition Item #: 060184
Grade: K
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 1 Home School Bundle - Student Edition/Teacher Edition Item #: 060174
Grade: 1
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 1 Game Mats Item #: 060162
Grade: 1
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 4 Game Mats Item #: 060165
Grade: 4
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Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Grade 3 Game Mats Item #: 060164
Grade: 3
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