Sequential Spelling was AVKO's premiere seven-level
spelling program for the teaching of the patterns of English
spelling within seven normal public school years. Sequential
Spelling is great for schools as well as homeschoolers. The
sequences are not based on grade level curriculum. They are based on
building from easy words to advanced words as from all, tall, stall,
install, installment, installation.
Your children will get immediate results with
Sequential Spelling. Originally developed by author Don McCabe to
teach how to spell and read through a multi-sensory approach,
Sequential Spelling teaches students to recognize patterns of
spelling based on the rules of the English language, but without all
the complicated explanations.
Through seven progressive levels of difficulty,
Sequential Spelling never asks your students to "study" more words
only to spell them. (Note that volume levels do not necessarily
correlate with grade levels.) As students recognize more and more
patterns and begin to spell words correctly that they've never seen
before - all without "studying" - their confidence and spelling skills
JJH Publishing is the software developer,
manufacturer, and technical support for computer based Sequential
What Makes AVKO's Sequential Spelling Program
Traditional Spelling Program
1.Gives the child a list of words to study (and he
forgets them after the test at the end of the week).
2.Tests the child on individual words.
3.The tests are corrected by the teacher/parent with
the looming red ink pen - after the tests are done.
4.The rules of the English language are presented in
dry, hard-to-understand ways outside of the spelling program.
5.The overall emphasis is on a grade for one week
over one set of words.
6.The emphasis is on a theme of words (colors).
7.The sequencing of the words may be due to
introduction of words into the curriculum, instead of the relative
8.There may be a guilt reaction when the child
studies but doesn't do well on the test on Friday.
1.The child doesn't study anything (he remembers the
patterns used to spell the words - even after the test).
2.Tests the child on patterns of the English
3.The child corrects his own paper as he is taking
the test immediately.
4.The rules of the English language are embedded in
the program, without lengthy explanations.
5.The emphasis is on learning the patterns of
spelling for mastery of the language.
6.The emphasis is on the meanings of the words (root
7.The sequencing of the words is based on research
and the building of English words from the root word to expanded
8.The child builds confidence when he can spell words
he has never seen before without studying.
Sequential Spelling FAQs
At what age should I start using Sequential Spelling?
All students should be at a second grade reading
level before starting Sequential Spelling.
Where should I start? If I'm working with fifth
graders, do I start with Sequential Spelling 5?
No. Unless your students have been exposed to
Sequential Spelling before, you should start them with Sequential
Spelling 1 or maybe even Sequential Spelling 2. Use the AVKO rough
placement test download
determine more specifically where your student should begin if level
1 will be too easy for your student(s).
The word scatter is a 7th grade word in our school's
regular spelling program. What is it doing in 1?
Regular spelling texts, as a general rule, pick grade
levels for words according to when the specific words first begin to
occur in the regular subject matter curriculum. This would seem to
make sense, but it does bring about some rather odd sequences. Since
the word ice may not occur in the curriculum until the 4th grade
when it appears in the science class, its introduction is delayed
until that time. Note that in one spelling series the word nice
occurs in the 1st grade, twice in the 2nd grade, price in the 5th,
and rice in the 6th. AVKO believes in teaching all the ice words in
the same unit.
Regarding the word scatter, AVKO teaches it only
after the -at sound has been taught in 30 different words. After the
-atter sound has occurred in eight words, and directly after the
initial c in cat and the consonant blend sc in scat, then and only
then do we teach scatter. Nearly every student gets it right the
very first time. See: AVKO's Approach vs. Traditional Approaches.
Do I give my students the words to study?
No. This is one of the starkest contrasts between
Sequential Spelling and traditional programs. However, if you feel
you must, go ahead. We have found that students prefer not having to
study and that when they correctly spell words that they haven't
studied, their self-confidence about spelling begins to zoom.