American Spirit

American Spirit uses Spelling You See’s core activities of marking various letter patterns, copywork, and writing the passages from dictation. Students will read about various people and events from American history. This level is for a student who spells many common words confidently, with an emphasis on the mastery of everyday words and experience with English’s many irregular letter patterns. Remember, the reading passages should be very easy for your student. That is intentional, to allow them to focus on spelling.

American Spirit continues to guide students through the Skill Development Stage. Students will read about various people and events from American history, with a gradually increasing reading level. At the same time, the emphasis on the mastery of everyday words continues, building a strong foundation for the next stage of spelling.

This level:

  • Features nonfiction stories about people and events from American history
  • Involves the three core activities for Spelling You See:
    • chunking – provides hands-on experience with English’s many irregular letter patterns
    • copywork – requires the brain to pay attention to details in print
    • dictation – gives the student the opportunity to recall the proper letter patterns from memory
  • Gradually increases in reading level, providing opportunities for vocabulary development and allowing students to learn how to spell words in an interesting context

Is my child ready for American Spirit?

Read the passage below to your student, asking them to follow along.

As a young man, Johnny Appleseed learned how to grow apple trees. When settlers moved into Ohio and Indiana, he planted orchards for them. He also planted orchards of his own and sold trees. Johnny lived simply. He had no house. He walked from place to place. His clothes were ragged. He is remembered for helping many needy people.

Ask your student to read the passage aloud by themselves.

Dictate the following list of words, one at a time, to your student, asking them to write the words on a piece of paper.

young, learned, apple, settlers, planted, simply, house, walked, clothes, people

If you answer “Yes” to these three questions, your student is ready to begin American Spirit.

  • Can my student write for 10 minutes at a time?
  • Was my student able to read the paragraph aloud without sounding words out or pausing? Note that the paragraph is written at the minimum reading level for American Spirit.
  • Was my student able to spell correctly eight of the ten listed words?

If you answer “No” to any of the questions above, try the readiness guidelines for the previous level, Americana.

Note: A student who struggles with spelling should not be placed higher than American Spirit, regardless of their level of reading proficiency.

Lessons contained in American Spirit

Lesson 2: Vowel Chunks

A Typical Week:

Days 1-3:

Parts A-C

  • Read the Passage Together
  • Mark Letter Patterns (Chunking)
  • Student Copies Passage for 10 Minutes and Chunks Their Work

Day 4-5:

Part D-E

  • Read the Passage Together
  • Mark Letter Patterns (Chunking)
  • 10 Minute Dictation

American Spirit Set

Includes everything you need to continue to increase reading level in skill development stage of spelling with 36 lessons of American Spirit:
  • Instructor’s Handbook
    • Introduction to the philosophy of Spelling You See
    • Getting Started guide
  • Student Pack
    • 2 Student Workbooks
    • Erasable colored pencils

American Spirit Individual Items

The Student Pack includes two student workbooks and a pack of erasable colored pencils. Each of the 36 lessons is divided into five parts, A through E, and includes two facing pages. Each day the instructor reads the passage together with the student, as it is important for students to hear the words while looking at them. Students will also “chunk” the appropriate letter patterns indicated for that day’s lesson and have opportunities for copywork and writing from dictation throughout the week.
The Instructor’s Handbook contains an introduction to the philosophy behind Spelling You See and the five development stages of spelling. The Handbook also contains a “Getting Started” guide with an overview of the organization of the 36 lessons and information about the important skills and concepts that will be learned in this level as well as information about the three core activities. At the back of the Handbook there is more information about guided reading, chunking, copywork, dictation, answers to frequently asked questions, and a collection of helpful resources including passages for dictation.