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Buying Spelling Books and Games in the USA

mugshot Roger Smith
Roger Smith
Here at Spelling it Right I often receive e-mails asking me to recommend a particular book, dictionary or game which encourages an interest in words and spelling. I'm making several suggestions below, all of them available in the USA at Amazon.com. (Do remember that delivery is free from Amazon if your order is over $25).
This isn't a commercial from Amazon! It's just that (being in England) I use the English branch of the company for all my book and software buys and I find their service slick and efficient and their prices competitive. Before I buy an item I especially like to be able to read reviews by customers who've bought it before.
I should mention that any purchases you make by clicking through from the links on this page will earn me a tiny commission (at no extra cost to yourself) and this helps to keep my computer in repair and ensures that I can keep the web site running!


So far as spelling books for parents, teachers and students themselves are concerned I'm going to suggest that you look at several to see if they fit your particular requirements. Unfortunately some of them are not available in England so I have to rely on recommendations from my contacts in the USA who tell me that they complement the worksheets they are using from Spelling it Right.

For parents and teachers of students in grade 4 and upwards, Spelling Smart! is a ready-to-use activities program combining whole language concepts and phonics strategies to teach students with spelling difficulties how to spell by recognizing patterns and consistencies rather than memorizing hundreds of isolated words. Included are step-by-step instructions for utilizing the program followed by 40 sequential lessons covering Sounds, Syllables, Word Building, Rules and Generalizations accompanied by diagnostic tools, word lists, and 200 reproducible activity sheets. Click here to read about the program >> Spelling Smart!: A Ready-To-Use Activities Program for Students With Spelling Difficulties

Most of us are familiar with simple phonics of the "cat sat on the mat" variety from our own early schooldays. In her award-winning book Uncovering the Logic of English Denise Eide argues that much more intensive phonics teaching can unlock the mysteries of English spelling. It is difficult to dispute her claim that 74 phonograms and 30 spelling rules explain 98% of English words. At first glance Eide's book may seem daunting to parents of children who are struggling with literacy. But the author's clear style, use of examples and systematic introduction of phonograms and rules quickly encourages the reader to try out these strategies. Teachers already using the phonics approach will find it an invaluable reference work. Others who teach phonics to a very basic level only may be inspired to think again! Click here for the paperback Uncovering the Logic of English or here Uncovering the Logic of English: (Kindle) for the Kindle version.

Widely used in schools, prison literacy programs and by many parents at home, Toe by Toe is a highly structured, easy-to-follow scheme to help those with reading difficulties. Working alongside a helper for 20 minutes per day, students move forward in tiny manageable steps (toe by toe) but parents report massive strides in reading ability and self-esteem. Be sure to read the rave review by a parent who has bought the book. Click here: Toe by Toe: Highly Structured Multi-Sensory Reading Manual for Teachers and Parents

Spell Well (Grades 4 - 8) 50 Quick, Fun-Filled Ways to Help Kids of All Learning Styles Master their Spelling Words Easy, classroom-tested activities and games designed to be used with a regular spelling program or with students' independent word lists to motivate even the most reluctant spellers and writers.
Click here to view>> Spell Well (Grades 4-8)

My Kid Can't Spell: Understanding and Assisting Your Child's Literacy Development . The title says it all really: Richard Gentry offers practical guidance for parents who want to play a more active role in their children's education. Click here for more information >> My Kid Can't Spell: Understanding and Assisting Your Child's Literacy Development

How to Spell Like a Champ. Written for ages 9 and up, the book shows kids how to build word lists, and organize and study them most effectively. It introduces knowledge of etymology, word roots, and spelling patterns. The book is a spelling bee primer for the ten million kids who participate in Scripps Spelling Bees on the local level.
Don't forget to read the five star customer reviews. Click here: How to Spell Like a Champ

Sequential Spelling 1 by Don McCabe is popular with homeschooling families - parents and their children. They praise its logical method and concentration on word patterns. Do look at the customer reviews on this book. Click here: Sequential Spelling 1

Spelling Power, Fourth Edition by Beverley L. Adams-Gordon has been highly recommended to me by Homeschooling parents. It is rather expensive but users of this program feel that it's good value for money as it can be followed right through from grades 3 to 12. Click here for more details >> Spelling Power, Fourth Editionand remember to look at the very positive customer reviews.
Notice that Amazon often advertise cheaper copies under their "MORE BUYING CHOICES" heading.

Month-by-Month Phonics for Upper Grades: A Second Chance for Struggling Readers and Students Learning English comes highly recommended by teachers, one of whom says "Finally! A book that works for upper elementary students."
It will also be a useful resource for parents too. Click here>> Month-by-Month Phonics

If you're familiar with the "Dummies" series of books you'll know that they're always well-written by people who know their business. Teaching Kids to Spell For Dummies is no exception. It's not available in England so I haven't been able to see a copy yet but looking at the Contents List and knowing Tracey Wood's other work I believe parents will find it most helpful. Look especially at other customers' reviews. Click here to see: Teaching Kids to Spell For Dummies

If you're an adult who finds spelling difficult click on: Better Spelling in 30 Minutes a Day which is very popular among people who never really got to grips with spelling when they were at school

Natural Speller by Kathryn L. Stout is especially liked by Homeschooling parents but would be a useful sourcebook for all parents and teachers. Do read the rave reviews at: Natural Speller

Best-Ever Vocabulary & Word Study Games (Grades 4-8) : "Provides games and activities to expand students' vocabulary to help them read, write, and test better. Boost word power and test scores! Analyze word parts in the Verbosaurus game, review vocabulary words in Oh My Word Relay Races, explore synonyms in Synonym Tag, and more!"
Click here>> Best-Ever Vocabulary & Word Study Games (Grades 4-8)

The Spelling Workout books use a sports theme. Capitalizing on the close tie between spelling and phonics,the program leads students from simple sound-letter relationships to more complex spelling patterns. Click below on the grades that interest you >>
Spelling Workout: Level A, Student Edition - 1st Grade
Spelling Workout: Level B Student Edition - 2nd Grade
Spelling Workout : Level C (Student Edition)
Spelling Workout, Level D (Student Edition)
Spelling Workout: Level E, Student Edition
Spelling Workout (Student Edition) Level F

If your child has been diagnosed as Dyslexic you may wish to have Margaret Walton's book Teaching Reading and Spelling to Dyslexic Children. Written for teachers and parents, it is easy to understand and contains helpful games, charts and activities. Recommended by homeschoolers on both sides of the Atlantic. Click here for information >> Teaching Reading and Spelling to Dyslexic Children

Teaching Kids to Spell is written primarily for teachers in the elementary grades but will be useful for parents too. Be sure to read the gushing review written by an elementary school teacher! Click here >> Teaching Kids to Spell

A university professor involved in learning research describes Unlocking Literacy: Effective Decoding and Spelling Instruction as providing teachers "with the nuts and bolts they need to get optimal student gains reflecting, as it does, the best of what is known about how to teach decoding and spelling skills." Look at it here >> Unlocking Literacy: Effective Decoding and Spelling Instruction

Banish Boring Words! has dozens of reproducible word lists for helping students choose just-right words to make their writing more interesting. I wish I'd had this book when I was at school! Have a look >> Banish Boring Words!


Barrington Stoke School Spelling Dictionary is a simpler version of the Dictionary of Perfect Spelling for the younger user and encourages the use of phonics to aid spelling. Praised by parents throughout the world. Barrington Stoke specialises in books for reluctant, struggling and dyslexic readers. Click here >> Barrington Stoke School Spelling Dictionary

One of the most useful and portable tools for weak spellers is an electronic dictionary and one that I like is the Franklin MWD-450 Pocket Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
It fits into a pocket or handbag so you're never without it and provides an 80,000 word Dictionary at your fingertips. There are also nine word games and exercises to help brush up your spelling skills.
But the lifesaver for weak spellers is the spelling correction function. When you type in a wrong spelling the unit will correct the word for you.
If you'd like more information about this and other electronic dictionaries, click here >>
Franklin MWD-450 Pocket Merriam-Webster Dictionary

If you need a printed dictionary then look no further than the Merriam Webster series. For children, the DK Merriam-Webster Children's Dictionary can't be beaten. The clarity of the presentation makes it very easy to find words and the illustrations are informative and attractive. The definitions are readily understood with helpful examples of the words being used in sentences. Do read the customer reviews on this dictionary. Click here for more info >> DK Merriam-Webster Children's Dictionary


I'm a great believer in making learning fun and there are several relatively cheap commercial games which create an interest in words and therefore help in learning to spell.

The traditional Hangman is a super pencil and paper game and I'm sure everyone is familiar with it. Now there's an electronic handheld version which sits in the palm. With a memory bank of 8,000 words it's great on those long road journeys as an alternative to video games. Read about it by clicking here: Hangman Electronic Handheld Game

Spelling Made Easy is a CD Rom Computer Game produced by the well-know educational publisher Dorling Kindersley. It features diagnostic testing, exercises and score charts to monitor children's progress and is presented in a TV game show format.

When I was still teaching full time I used to run a lunchtime spelling club. By far the most popular game was Boggle and I can thoroughly recommend it both for learning and enjoyment. It's available in several versions.
The classic board game is a great family game - yes, you parents will enjoy playing it too! Read more about this and other board games by clicking here>> Boggle
There's also a junior form available. The manufacturers say it's suitable for age three upwards. I've never actually played this version but I know that it's used by pre-school teachers in the United States. See for yourself by clicking here >> Boggle Junior Letters

And finally, there's now a computer version of the game too. It's included on a CD Rom along with Upwords, Hangman and Word Hunter. Check it out by looking here>> Boggle, Upwords, Hangman, Word Hunter

Sarah Key's book The Body in Action: You Can Keep Your Joints Young has absolutely nothing to do with spelling. But at the age of 75 I follow Sarah's exercise regime and I really do give it full credit for stopping my joints creaking. I cannot praise it enough. Read the reviews. Similarly her Back Sufferers' Bible is highly acclaimed by those suffering with back ache. Have a look at them here The Body in Action: You Can Keep Your Joints Young and here Back Sufferers' Bible

Remember, orders you place with Amazon by clicking through from any of the links on this page will earn me a tiny commission (at no extra cost to yourself) and this helps to keep my computer in repair and ensures that I can keep Spelling it Right running!
Roger Smith

it Right

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Buying spelling
books and games
in the USA

Any product
which creates
an interest
in words
is helpful
to someone
who finds

Spelling it Right has been providing
free advice and worksheets since 2001. Feel free to print the exercises for your own use. (They will print in black and white, thereby reducing your ink costs!)

Remember, orders you place with Amazon by clicking through from any of the links on this page will earn me a tiny commission (at no extra cost to yourself) and this helps to keep my computer in repair and ensures that I can keep Spelling it Right running!
Roger Smith

Click here for
List of worksheets
Contact us