Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I'm betting many of you think you have NO idea who AVKO is...but if I say "Sequential Spelling" I'm guessing a few light bulbs will go on...at least that's how it was for me. Sequential Spelling is a totally different sort of spelling program that gathers words into rime families or "chunks" and teaches them collectively so that through association students are able to spell words they've never been exposed to before. It's a really interesting approach, but it was NOT what we were asked to review, LOL.
AVKO asked us to take a look at their website, and more specifically the "member" section of their website. Before I tell you more about that though, let me tell you a little about this amazing company. AVKO was started by Don McCabe who himself had overcome dyslexia to become a high school reading teacher. It was while teaching that he saw the value in breaking words down into their smaller base words and teaching students to spell in rime chunks (so "at" leads to "bat", "flat", "scatter", etc.). He founded AVKO (which stands for Audio, Visual, Kinesthetic, Oral-four of the five learning modalities) Educational Research Foundation with the goal of helping students of any age master reading and spelling. According to their website, AVKO's mission is to provide free and low-cost resources to home and school educators in order to achieve literacy for all, even despite learning challenges or dyslexia.
AVKO has many totally free resources on their website, and that makes it well worth checking out. There is literally TONS of information about spelling and reading, and the research that has been done that explains why today's students are not good spellers. But the members site really shines. For only $25 a year for basic membership, members get access to all the free stuff and much, much more. Members get five free downloadable e-books worth hundreds of dollars including The Patterns of English Spelling, which is a 10 volume set. That book will allow you to create your own spelling curriculum along the lines of Sequential Spelling, and if you use it, it more than pays for your membership. Membership also includes access to Don McCabe's most popular conference talks downloadable in MP3 format. You also get access to a member's only section that has other reading and spelling resources, the AVKO newsletter, placement tests, answer keys, and a 25% discount on all AVKO's printed materials (including Sequential Spelling). There is also a too-rich-for-my-blood $100 premium membership that includes all the benefits of basic, plus read-only access to ALL AVKO's curriculums expect Sequential Spelling and the Engaging Language Kits.
The bottom line for me is that AVKO's site is very much worth checking out, and if you have a student who struggles with spelling at all, I think the membership is well worth it, at least for one year. The downloads are substantial and exceedingly helpful. As someone who has a struggling speller, I have a renewed committment to help her overcome her challenges thanks to all the materials on AVKO's site, and since she just handed me a piece of paper with the word pottery spelled "pudry", I think I'd better start tomorrow!
To check out AVKO's resources, go HERE. TO read what other members of the TOS Crew had to say, go HERE.
As a member of the TOS crew,I received FREE access to AVKO's member site in exchange for my honest review. That free product is the only "payment" I received for my opinion.