The Spelling Scholar has recently been piloted and adopted by Elmbrook School District (Forbes listed third best school district in the country) as well as Columbus School District, Mount Lebanon School, and Sparta School District, as well as some schools in California, Colorado, and Florida..
Students are presented with several sample words for study or comparison and asked to hypothesize the reason for the spelling. Example: plan + ed = planned; What did we do to add ed to the word?; ask + ed = asked; What did we do to add "ed" to the word? How are plan and ask different?
Of course, this is a simplified example. Students would have more words to compare and more direction to help focus their thinking in an actual lesson. In other words, students are made to think about the word, then they apply their knowledge using written exercises and word sorts. Finally, the tests are application based also.
The discovery lesson format described above helps all students, but especially the auditory learner. Word sorts work when the student is asked to cut out the words and physically sort them in columns, read the columns, correct them, and reread and finally written. Word sorts are done numerous times with the same set of words. When students keep the columns in the same order each time, the kinesthetic learner remembers in which column s/he placed the word, and the visual learner can see the column in which the word was placed. Between the discovery lesson and the word sorts all learning modalities are reached.
Personal words are misspelled words taken from student's writing across the curriculum. Each student maintains a list and selects five (5) words from this list for a portion of the test.