Spelling by Sound and Structure (Rod and Staff)

Spelling by Sound and Structure progresses, over seven levels, from phonetic spelling rules, through exceptions and word roots and prefixes, concluding with word study.

Subject: Spelling

Grade level: 2-8

Publisher: Rod & Staff

Website: https://www.milestonebooks.com/list/Rod_and_Staff_Spelling

Description: Spelling by Sound and Structure progresses, over seven levels, from phonetic spelling rules, through exceptions and word roots and prefixes, concluding with word study. Word lists for each lesson are primarily organized around phonetic principles. The program consists of a student workbook and a teacher manual for each level; the workbook contains consumable worksheets, while the teacher manual tells the instructor how to present the principles underlying each list (“Point out that swim is a one-syllable word having a short vowel sound and ending with only one consonant. For most words like this, the final consonant is doubled before adding a suffix that begins with a vowel…”). Most lessons have three parts; in Parts A and B, the student reviews the meaning of each word on the week’s list and learns the phonetic principles underlying each list; Part C teaches an associated skill (alphabetizing, dictionary skills, building compound words, etc.).

Pros:  Affordable (each student/teacher set is less than $20), thorough and phonetically sound, straightforward (as long as you have some basic phonics knowledge, the lessons will be very clear), and no-frills (can be completed without expensive supplements and very little prep time).

Cons: Heavy scriptural content; requires lots of handwriting, so not suitable for younger students or those with fine motor delays; very traditional print-centered approach, not suitable for students who need more multisensory teaching.

Why it’s not in the book: Designed for the classroom, not for home educators (lots of instructions geared towards group teaching); very similar approach to the Spelling Workout program recommended in The Well-Trained Mind; heavily Mennonite orientation makes it unsuitable for many families.

What parents say: Visit these forum threads to find out more.





Susan Wise Bauer

Susan Wise Bauer is an educator, writer, and historian. She is the co-author of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (now in its fourth edition), and the author of (among others) The Well- Educated Mind, The Story of Western Science, the Story of the World series, the History of the World series, the elementary series Writing With Ease, and the pre-rhetoric series Writing With Skill. Susan was home educated through high school and has taught all four of her children at home. She has a B.A. and M.A. in English language and literature, an M.Div., and a Ph.D. in the history of American religion from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, where she taught writing and literature for over fifteen years.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.