Don McCabe, the author, faced a great dilemma. He served in the Army Security Agency during the Korean War. He suffered from dyslexia, but he either had to learn the Russian language or receive a first-class ticket to serve in the infantry in Korea. He overcame his dyslexia and learned Russian. After the war, he founded the AVKO (Audio-Visual-Kinesthetic-Oral) Educational Research Foundation, Inc., and dedicated himself to teaching dyslexics how to spell and read through a multi-sensory approach. The result: Sequential Spelling.
You ask your children to spell a simple root word or suffix, such as — "in (from Volume 1), and, to help them understand the meaning, you use the word in a sentence. Once your students have attempted to spell the word and before you give the next word, you give them the correct spelling and let them correct their own work immediately.
Each successive day you ask students to spell more words that contain "in", such as pin, sin, spin, skin, and twin. You add more patterns through a sequence based on research and the structure of English words — from the root word to expanded forms. In Sequential Spelling 1, students begin with "in" on the first day and within five days they can spell beginning all on their own. Notice that you never ask your students to "study" more words, only to spell them. As they recognize more and more patterns and begin to spell words correctly that they've never seen before — all without "studying" — their confidence and spelling skills soar!
Sequential Spelling comes in 7 progressive levels of difficulty. It's a Required Resource in Language Arts from Core D-Core 100, and a component of Multi-Subject Packages 3-5. If you have never used Sequential Spelling before, McCabe urges you to begin with Volume 1 because, while your students might be "ready" to spell frightened (Volume 4), they really ought to know the patterns associated with spelling presidential (Volume 1). The truth is, the levels have absolutely nothing to do with grade levels per se.
McCabe used a scientific method to evaluate 5,500 words from The New Iowa Spelling Scale (Greene), rank them from easiest to most difficult, and then to identify the patterns in those words. The words in Volume 1 tend to have a higher number of words to each pattern and are essentially the "simple" words of our language. Volume 1 students spell the word presidential but only after they have studied many, many, -ide words in their progressive, structural permutations. Examples: hide, ride, side, reside and preside gradually build to resident, residential, and, of course, president and presidential.