The Joy of Knowing How To Learn, Languages Skills Series
All books are 8.5” x 11” soft cover
Spelling – 173 pgs ISBN: 9781545100196
Vocabulary Level A – 266 pgs. Gr 1-3 ISBN: 9781089137252
Vocabulary Level B – 190 pgs Gr 4-6 ISBN: 9781093239065
Author: Dr. Joyce McPeak Robinson
Assessed by Michael Leppert
Dr. Joyce Robinson has been a classroom teacher and administrator. She holds Masters and Doctoral degrees from Boston University. Her series of books is inviting and attractive.
The underlying premise of Dr Robinson’s method is that the first question about learning is: How, not What. If children are taught how to learn, they can take in much more information before they might require aid from a parent or teacher (which many children are reluctant to seek in the first place).
Modern brain research has demonstrated that spelling improvement relates positively to learning other language skills – particularly, reading. Spelling was largely overlooked by the Whole Language Method in the 1980s, which supported an approximate spelling approach. Children who were burdened by this “think” method grew up having difficulty unlearning the approximate (incorrect) spellings of youth. Recent studies have shown that correctly writing out spelling words activates four different sensory receivers. This means that spelling positively affects reading, writing, speaking and listening on a neurolinguistic level.
Joyce Robinson offers a method based on proven educational and psychological research, which include testing of knowledge of material presented; small increments of information; correction; repetition; learning words in context improves spelling; frequent feedback; copying/handwriting – these activities have been shown to improve spelling by 50% and the neural systems connected to reading and memory are also improved by writing the words.
The book begins with the 100 Most Misspelled Words and then following that, are 100 Study Sheets, each one focused on one of the 100 words. The page has 10 Steps relating to the subject word: Using the word in a sentence; having the word written, defining the word, filling in two missing letters from the word, etc., making it easy for the child to remember the word’s definition and use in context by the end of the work page. After the 100 Study Pages are 10 Pre-Test pages for groups of 10 of the 100 words and an Answer Key so the parent can easily check for errors or no errors. Next, are 10 Post-Test pages for groups of 10 each and the student has the opportunity to improve his/her performance from the Pre-Test.
In her two Vocabulary books, Dr. McPeake Robinson follows a similar method as in her Spelling Book.
The 100 Often Used Words are divided into working groups of 10 and are listed in the Pre-test section. There is a Study Sheet that corresponds to each word. The student takes the Pre-test for Group 1, which consists of matching words in one list with their meanings in a second list. Once the student corrects his/her list it’s time to turn to the Study Page for each missed definition to delve more deeply into the meaning and uses. The Study Sheet offers the opportunity to write the word, which provides a deeper connection than merely reading it. It also show syllabication – the act of breaking a word into its syllables, providing another way to see and think of the word, repeating it on the brain.
A large, well-oiled vocabulary is one of the most significant tools a person can possess. Your speech and writing will clearly communicate your thoughts to others and will also aid your mental organization. Knowing more than one word for a concept and being able to pick just the right one is like building muscle in your body – it affords you complete autonomy and enjoyment in writing or speaking tasks.
Visit Dr. Robinson’s website and order her books for your child. They are easy to use and enjoyable! MjL