Spelling You See Curriculum Review: 5 Reasons Why It’s Perfect for Early Elementary

spelling you see review

If you’re considering the Spelling You See curriculum for your homeschool, you’ll love this in-depth review! 

Spelling You See is a popular spelling program offered by Demme Learning, the same company as the award-winning math curriculum, Math-U-See.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you want to know in this Spelling You See review, such as:

  • A general overview of the entire spelling curriculum
  • 5 developmental stages of spelling
  • The 7 different Spelling You See levels
  • 5 major positives about Spelling You See
  • A couple of minor cons about the program
  • A final analysis about why Spelling You See is our favorite pick for young elementary

Please keep in mind that this review is NOT sponsored by Spelling You See. We’ve purchased the curriculum ourselves without compensation. All of the opinions expressed here are completely our own. 

{{Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that I may make a small commission if you click through or purchase at no cost to you. For more information, click here.}}

Overview of Spelling You See Homeschool Curriculum

Spelling You See is a gentle way to teach spelling that’s been created after two decades of research.

On their official website, Spelling You See has been described this way:

Spelling You See allows students to develop spelling skills naturally, at their own pace. Rather than studying rules or memorizing lists, we emphasize context, allowing your student to develop a more robust and intuitive sense of words.

That’s right, there are no weekly spelling lists or spelling tests!

Instead, students work on learning patterns within words and practicing with repetition.

Daily Spelling You See lessons are short and sweet – usually no longer than fifteen minutes.

The easy-prep, daily lessons incorporate elements of copy work, reading, listening, and speaking.

spelling test

5 Developmental Stages of Spelling

Research suggests that there are 5 main developmental stages a student must experience before becoming an efficient speller. They are:

  1. Preliterate
  2. Phonetic
  3. Skill Development
  4. Word Extension
  5. Derivational Constancy

It’s important to note that every student must go through each stage in sequential order. None of the different stages can be skipped or accelerated.

Rather, each student goes through each stage according to their own timeline and readiness.

Here’s a quick look at each of the 5 developmental stages:


This is the stage where a child understands that words on the page are read from left to right, top to bottom.

Also, kids in this phase pretend to write by scribbling.

kids scribble


In the phonetic stage, children begin to understand that individual sounds make up the words they hear.

Additionally, these sounds correspond to different letters in the alphabet.

Students in the phonetic stage learn to spell their own names, and commonly misspell words according to their phonetic spelling.

Levels A (Read and Write) and B (Jack and Jill) are designed for this phase.

kids understand letters spelling

Skill Development

Skill development is the longest developmental stage. This is the time when students begin to learn that not all words are spelled phonetically.

Instead, there are many exemptions to every “rule” they may have learned while becoming a proficient reader.

Levels C (Wild Tales) through F (Ancient Achievements) in Spelling You See have been developed for this stage.

spelling you see stage 3

Word Extension

During the Word Extension phase, students continue to focus on understanding the intricacies of spelling, as well as learning how to form words with prefixes and suffixes.

Levels F (Ancient Achievements) and G (Modern Milestones) are most applicable during this developmental phase of spelling.

Derivational Constancy

In the last phase, Derivational Constancy, students begin to find similarities in root words.

Studying Greek or Latin languages can be very useful at this time.

Related post: Institute for Excellence in Writing Curriculum Review

7 levels of Spelling You See

There are 7 different levels in the Spelling You See curriculum that corresponds to the 5 developmental stages of learning to spell:

  1. Listen and Write – Level A
  2. Jack and Jill – Level B
  3. Wild Tales – Level C
  4. Americana – Level D
  5. American Spirit – Level E
  6. Ancient Achievements – Level F
  7. Modern Milestones – Level G

Listen and Write – Level A

Listen and Write is perfect for your beginning reader. It focuses on hearing sounds made by individual letters in simple words and writing each letter individually.

Jack and Jill – Level B

Jack and Jill is a fun level because it incorporates beloved nursery rhymes! Students begin to learn how to recognize letter patterns in rhyming words and are confident in identifying letter sounds, including long and short vowel sounds.

Wild Tales – Level C

Wild Tales is for a fairly confident reader who can read passages about animals and identify letter patterns and chunks. At this level, students copy passages and practice taking dictation.

Americana – Level D

Americana is based on teaching spelling through passages focused on early American history. Students work to expand their spelling skills through more advanced dictation and reading passages.

American Spirit – Level E

American Spirit continues to expand on more mature spelling skills, as students are now able to read at an increased reading level.

Ancient Achievements – Level F

Ancient Achievements is designed as a bridge from identifying complex letter patterns to studying the roots of words and more advanced word patterns. Passages focus on ancient cultures, such as the Egyptians and the Greeks.

Modern Milestones – Level G

Modern Milestones introduces prefixes and suffixes and how they change the meaning of root words. Passages are about modern composers, artists, and inventors.

Free Resource Library

If you’re not already a member of The Reluctant Homeschool Mama’s Free Resource Library, you can join right here!

newly updated resource library

You’ll find over 90 printable resources to help you keep your homeschool organized, engaging and a lot of fun.

Think reading trackers, learning style assessment quizzes, book report forms, unit study planners, holiday fun worksheets, and more!

Related post: Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum Review

Pros about using Spelling You See homeschool curriculum

There are several big pros to the Spelling You See curriculum:

1. Easy and straightforward placement

First, placing your student in the Spelling You See program is a breeze!

You can download their 9-page Readiness Guidelines from their website right here. (Scroll down to the Finding Proper Placement section and you’ll see the white button!)

Additionally, if you still have further questions, you can also contact a Placement Specialist via email.

2. Several purchasing options

There are several purchasing options for Spelling You See.

First, you can find the Student Pack for each Spelling You See level, which contains two workbooks and a sticker pack or pack of erasable colored pencils, depending on the level.

There is also an Instructor’s Handbook available for each level. These Instructor’s Handbooks feature a helpful Getting Started guide. They also contain information regarding each of the lessons for their respective levels.

Finally, there is a Universal Pack for each level as well. These Universal Packs contain the Student Pack and the Instructor’s Handbook in one bundle at a greatly discounted price!

3. Affordability

There’s no doubt that curriculum costs can add up quickly for homeschooling families!

That’s why it’s important to us at The Reluctant Homeschool Mama to share the worthwhile AND affordable curricula that we find!

At the time of this writing, the Universal Pack on Demme Learning (meaning the Student and the Instructor Packs are both included) for one Spelling You See level costs between $42-$58.

(While you can purchase Spelling You See on Amazon, the prices are currently less on Demme Learning in the summer of 2022!)

4. No spelling lists

As mentioned before, there are no set spelling lists for your students to memorize. This takes away the stress of the weekly spelling test!

Instead, your kids focus on learning letter patterns and other spelling mechanics that compound over time. In our experience, it’s a much gentler approach to learning how to spell.

5. Low preparation time

Another thing that matters a lot when it comes to choosing a curriculum is how much time it takes to prepare!

Spelling You See is literally almost zero-prep. You can pick up the workbook, read the lesson with your child, and be there to offer help as needed.

Then when they’ve finished their lesson for the day, give it a once-over to make sure they’re on track. So easy!

6. Builds a strong spelling foundation

The purpose of Spelling You See is to help kids develop strong spelling skills in a sequential fashion.

Our sons and daughter have used Spelling You See for multiple years and all of them have become proficient spellers.

7. Kids enjoy it

Finally, Spelling You See is a great homeschool spelling program because it’s actually enjoyable for kids!

The material for each of the daily lessons is well-chosen and the workbooks are fun to use. There are plenty of colorful illustrations and straightforward instructions.

Plus, the stickers for the lower levels and colored pencils for the upper levels are a nice bonus element that my kids have enjoyed too.

Cons about this spelling curriculum

There’s only one negative aspect about Spelling You See that we’ve experienced: after several years of using the curriculum, my kids tend to get bored with the repetitive format.

We’ve finished levels A (Listen and Write) through C (Wild Tales) with great success.

But, once my kids have a solid foundation in spelling, we’ve found it useful to switch to Spelling Power, an all-in-one curriculum designed to last through high school if needed!

Related Post: Spelling Power Curriculum Review

Additionally, some parents have mentioned that they’d like to see online options for Spelling You See, but we actually prefer it as it is.

It’s somewhat refreshing to find a curriculum that doesn’t rely on a screen to be complete!

(Update: There are some digital tools offered on the Spelling You See website; however, it is not required to use them to complete the curriculum!)

Final thoughts about this Spelling You See curriculum review

There’s no doubt that Spelling You See does a fantastic job of preparing kids to become great spellers, especially when you use it for the younger elementary years.

Not only is it easy to use and affordable, but it is also a gentle approach to teaching spelling.

We highly recommend Spelling You See as an introductory spelling curriculum for beginning and younger elementary students!

If you have any questions about this Spelling You See review, please let us know in the comments below!

Related articles about homeschool curriculum:

Life of Fred Homeschool Math Curriculum Review

Five in a Row Curriculum Review

Sassafras Science Adventures Homeschool Science Curriculum Review

5 Awesome Homeschool Math Curriculums You Need to Check Out

5 Reasons Why We Love Story of the World for Homeschool History

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What are your thoughts about this Spelling You See review?

Spelling You See Curriculum Review: 5 Reasons Why It\'s Perfect for Early ElementarySpelling You See Curriculum Review: 5 Reasons Why It\'s Perfect for Early ElementarySpelling You See Curriculum Review: 5 Reasons Why It\'s Perfect for Early ElementarySpelling You See Curriculum Review: 5 Reasons Why It\'s Perfect for Early Elementary

Hi there! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m Jen, a former reluctant homeschool mom who is ready to help you actually enjoy homeschooling too. Read more here…

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