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Butovsky, Lillian and Tamara Moscoe.

Scarborough (Ont), Prentice-Hall Canada, c1985. 202pp, paper, $8.76, ISBN 0-13-834219-9. CIP


Butovsky, Lillian and Tamara Moscoe.

Scarborough (Ont.), Prentice-Hall Canada, c1985. 202pp, paper, $8.76, ISBN 0-13-834227-X. CIP

Grades 5-6
Reviewed by Jo Anna Burns Patton

Volume 13 Number 5
1985 September

These two titles are the final volumes of a five-volume text series that includes student texts and teacher editions. Spell Well 5, using a space theme, begins with clear directions on the basic arrangement of the text. Divided into thirty-five lessons, each lessons begins with "inspecting equipment," a sixteen-word dictation given by the teacher. "Are all systems go" involves checking the dictation, followed by "making repairs" or exercises to help learn the words missed. Each lesson is followed by "lift off," a test of the words, and "in orbit," a section on tips ranging from forming plurals to use of hyphens to homophones. Readers are also asked to keep a personal dictionary of difficult words they have come in contact with and words from dictation that they have consistently misspelled. Every fifth lesson is a review of words from the personal dictionary using various activities, either alone or with a partner. The final section, "extra-terrestrial explorations," includes an additional twenty supplemental lessons, for use in spare time.

Spell Well 6 has a different setting, however the organization of the lessons is the same. Since the book is geared to an older student the cute labels are discarded and replaced with "dictation," "word study," and "test." Every fifth lesson, again, is a review of the personal dictionary with a week's worth of activities. For supplemental work, there are twenty "encore" lessons ranging from Old English to euphemisms to making crossword puzzles.

Each text has a useful contents page that identifies what is covered in each regular lesson and in each supplemental activity. In addition the index is a complete word list with corresponding page numbers. Directions for using the textbooks are provided at the beginning of each book. However the explanation for using Spell Well 5 is more detailed than that for Spell Well 6. The dictation method is clearer, as well as the meaning of some of the symbols used.

A primary problem with both texts revolves around the use of symbols to identify what the student is expected to do. In Spell Well 5, there is one symbol defined that is not specifically used, and several symbols used that are not explained. Although the symbols in both text are the same, they are only explained in Spell Well 5.

Although one or two copies of these titles could be available in school libraries as supplemental material, these texts are best for classroom use.

Jo Anna Burns Patton, Cote St. Luc P.L, Cote St. Luc, Que.
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