IEW Phonetic Zoo Spelling~ REVIEW

I have a great Review product to share today.  I have to start out saying that this is a product that I had done some research in the past for Skylar who has dyslexia.  So, I was aware of the company and their amazing high quality products from the get go.  Now, we have Kaden who is 8 on the Autism Spectrum who has his own bag of needs that we praise God daily that I'm able to stay home with him and give him the opportunities to learn at his own pass and skill level.  Several weeks ago I was given the Phonetic Zoo Spelling Level B program from Institute for Excellence in Writing.

IEW is recognized for offering Families their Prestigious Writing Curriculum. The founder Andrew Pudewa has expressed his mission to help students learn successfully how to articulate themselves through writing with pure confidence.  Where was IEW when I was growing up? :)  With IEW you will find anything and everything to fulfill your childs needs with complete Language Arts Curriculum packages and Spelling/Writing Curriculums from K- Highschool.

Once you look around their website take a look at their Spelling Programs, IEW offers them from K- Highschool!  One of their programs is their Phonetic Zoo Spelling Program! It comes in 3 different levels:

Take the placement test now to see what level to start withOur Review package came with:
  • 5 audio CDs
  • Huge Lesson Cards, with spelling words and their jingles
  • Personal Spelling Cards
  • Small Zoo Cards, which have the jingles and animal cues
  • Downloadable Teacher’s Notes file
  • Spelling and the Brain seminar

 photo Phonetic Zoo Spelling Level B_zpsmmeoy9u5.jpgFor Kaden I was given Level B....there is an online assessment so that you start out exactly where you need to.  Kaden learns a little differently then my other Kiddos.  Basically I give him the material, he and most of the time I look over it.  He recites the information and somehow by the grace of his brain's capability he remembers it.  And if it is a subject he deems worthy he will remember it forever.  Last week to prove this to a friend I asked Kaden where he was when he learned about the planets in our solar system for the first time.  His answer was a question.  He asked do you mean just the basic planet names or when I organized them by their atmospherical pressures and number of moons?  Okay....I looked at my friend and she said the last one.  He took a deep breath and said it was late in the year I was 3.  We had went to the park beside the hospital because it was supposed to rain and it had coverings over the tables.  You wouldn't buy me lunch you made me eat my apples with no peanut butter because you were having my allergies tested.  He then looked at my friend and said, you should know this you were with us too.  I looked at my friend and she was stunned.  So, that is how he learns, he sees it, retains it and moves on to the next thing.  But, this program was so interesting to me because I have an older son who struggled his whole life.  Boy, I wished this would have been around back then.  All this being said this program is an amazing program for kids that are auditory learners.  Kaden kind of is, but is sound sensitive.  He used this program a tad differently, I will explain down further. 
I was given a downloadable Phonetic Zoo Teacher's Notes PDF file and honestly I just kept it online, for us there was not a lot of planning on my part, but typically this would have been great printed and placed in a folder.  I'm kind of jumping around, but there are "Zoo Cages" to print out where the zoo cards would be attached during the different lessons as you create your Phonetic Zoo.  You may already guess that he wasn't too into this, he has them in a index card holder with his other lists of facts he wants to never forget.  Whatever works, right?  That's why we Homeschool!!!!

Like I said we did things a little differently, but basically daily we went over the lesson using the Teachers Notes from my computer screen and the corresponding Zoo Lesson Card. We read the jingle and he listened via my computer to the audio CD with the track that matches the specific lesson. The program wants your kiddo to listen with headphones and for good reason as it magnifies the learning opportunity ten fold, but we use headphones to keep the sounds of the world out.  So this was confusing to Kaden, so we just used speakers.  The 1st track is for the Spelling test and the 2nd one is for your Kiddo to correct their work.  This would have been interesting for my other typical Kiddos.  But, for Kaden this was very hard on him, he expects perfection from himself.  I knew this would highlight a deficit for him, so I told him from the get go that we were looking for 3 words to work on though out the week.  I wanted to create a platform for him to place any misspelled words on so that it was acceptable in his world.  I hope I haven't lost you with all this. :)
Your Kiddo can check his own work on their own, but I did it with Kaden, only because of the struggle I knew he would have.  Luckily for us he went through the 1st 4 lessons with no mistakes, but when one did happen we were able to table it up on that platform and he worked through it.  Now a child is supposed to correct their own work and once they  a 100% on the test twice in a row they can move forward to the next lesson and only till they get it twice in a row.  If they miss words, they simply write the word correctly next to the misspelled word. And then the next day, retake the test again. The student continues to take the test over again until they get 100% two days in a row, it's considered mastered now.  Simple, right????  After the lesson has been mastered, you can give the student the zoo card to place in their Zoo cages or index card holder.  
I almost forgot that every 5th lesson is a Personal Spelling Lesson Card. Through out the past lessons any misspelled words you can write down for extra mastery.  There is also frequent misspelled word lists in the Teachers Notes for extra words if needed.  When you do these test and correction should be given by the Teachers.
So, what did we think?  I personally LOVED it, even for Special needs.  Kaden was not overwhelmed by brightly colored crazy characters like a lot of the younger curriculums offer.  It was super easy for him to get into a rhythm to know exactly what to expect every single day.  He doesn't like surprise and flare, he's a simple man!!! :)  I also loved that Phonetic Zoo has 3 levels and if you have the starter program and are ready to move on to the next level all you need to do is order just the next CD set.   It screams affordable for what you get out of the program.  So, if you have a struggling Kiddo who needs help with spelling, here is your answer.   If the traditional spelling route haven't proven effective for your student then try something a bit different.  This may look too simple to you, but it's worth a shot.  Your Child could be mastering lists of words by the time Easter comes around with this program. I definitely would recommend looking into this program, let me know what you think about it!
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