Spelling in AMI albums

When looking for spelling practice in the AMI albums, look for the following concepts:

  • phonograms (booklets, cards)
  • the word "dictation" in any follow-ups or extensions (think anything with a word list, including the phonogram cards and word study)
  • (or turn any/all word lists into dictation games)
  • function of words 
  • word study
  • let the children come up with words on their own - dictate to each other
  • note typically mis-spelled words in their writing - cover those needed rules through games or direct instruction

Doesn't feel like much, but it is powerful.

The adults are responsible for ensuring all the areas have been introduced and are being utilized.


  1. I am glad you posted about this. I have asked before, at our local Montessori school, and the lower el teacher told me they just use phonetics to teach spelling. Simple enough, I guess - except when I posed the same question to the upper el teacher, she said that is what is used, but some kids still don't spell well by the time they get to her class. Which leads me to wonder if there is something lacking, or a better way than just tackling phonics. My oldest is a writing machine - wants to write all the time, and turns almost every assignment possible in to writing it with a story, and very often uses that as an outlet for grammar assignments she 'makes up' on her own, etc. She has minor spelling issues - my second, however, really needs a good foundation and I just haven't found anything that works great yet. I have considered All About Spelling seriously, but wondered what the albums say as far as tackling spelling, since I don't have any myself. Do they encourage making word lists weekly/bi-weekly, etc. or go about spelling a different way?

    1. For homeschoolers, a lot depends on your comfort level as well --- within a classroom environment there is a LOT more group work, group dynamics, community members helping each other along; the teacher can identify groups of students who need the same lesson and give to all of them at once; without giving a lesson to those who don't need it.

      At home, sometimes we need more resources to assure we're covering the bases.

      And in both cases, there are simply children who will not spell well, regardless of the experience they've had - that doesn't mean we don't give them all that they need, but that we have to find the balance between requiring perfect spelling and entire free-for-all ;) They need to write so that others can understand them (the purpose of written communication).

      With all of that said, I have another Montessori Nugget upcoming with a list of all the places that "spelling" is specifically noted in the AMI albums, with the caveat it can be included elsewhere as well, just not with specifics ;)

      I'll say this though - to answer your question: it's not typically about having a weekly or routine list, but about identifying areas of need (noting a particular word or style of word that is consistently mis-spelled) and presenting keys needed for those spelling rules. The children can create their own dictionary and/or spelling rule book. "Lists" are found with the word study lists in both primary and elementary - these words can be dictated to each other. The grammar studies at elementary include various rules (such as creating plurals); the children should be studying etymology of interesting words, getting them familiar with the concepts of words from other languages, root words, suffixes, etc.

      I love to watch the National Spelling Bee - the kids always ask for etymology, use in a sentence, etc. Those are the keys we need to teach our children to spell well (I mean, if it works for the kids who win those bees, it must be good ;) At least a few of the recent years, the winners have been homeschooled too.....).

    2. Thank you ! That is the perfect reply, and makes perfect sense! Not in attempt to toot my own horn, so to speak, but spelling came very easily to me, and I can't remember what it was that helped it to 'click' so well. Which means trying to find the same with my kiddos is tricky, especially since there is such a difference in some of them.I love the idea of creating their own dictionary - they are not big fans of looking up words in the dictionary themselves, but maybe creating their own will make it personal enough that they won't mind so much. Thanks! I look forward to the next spelling nugget :)