Customer Service Team FAQ of the Month: Spelling!

Nov 08, 2016 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team

Have a question? We are ready for you! Our customer service team joyfully assists families by phone, chat, and email and receives a variety of questions. From time to time, we publish the most frequently asked questions and the answers and hope they may be of use to you. This month we are sharing answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about our spelling resources. We look forward to sharing more of these types of posts in future months!


What are the differences between All About Spelling and Phonetic Zoo?

The main differences between the two programs are the designated grades and learning styles of each course. All About Spelling (Levels 1–3) is designed for students in grades K–5, while Phonetic Zoo is geared towards students in third grade and above.

All About Spelling is a multi-sensory program (visual, tactile, and auditory) that covers all the phonetic rules in a variety of ways and fills in any foundational gaps that students may have in phonics and basic spelling rules. The All About Spelling program groups words together according to their phonograms and sounds. The program is intended to be used in partnership with the student and a parent or teacher.

Phonetic Zoo is a self-paced, self-taught, phonetically-based course presented in an auditory format (CDs or MP3s). A short lesson is taught, words related to that lesson are tested daily for mastery, and as much time as is needed can be taken for an extra challenging lesson. "Problem" words are collected and reviewed periodically. Students hear the words, see the words, and then write down the words. If any word is misspelled, the student corrects it using the audio portion of the program.


How do I know where to start with your spelling programs?

Since spelling is very much based on previous experience and natural aptitude, we recommend having your student complete our Phonetic Zoo placement test. If your student is in K–3rd grade, we recommend the placement test for All About Spelling.  We would also recommend looking at the list of words for each level of Phonetic Zoo and comparing to see which level (A, B, or C) would best fit your student. If your student needs additional practice in phonograms and phonics, start him in All About Spelling Level 1 regardless of his age.


My student is in fourth grade, but still struggles with basic spelling. Should I still start in Phonetic Zoo Level A?

All About Spelling Level 3 is not indicated for a particular grade level, so meet your child's needs regardless of his age. If your student needs additional practice and reinforcement with phonics and basic spelling concepts, you may want to have him work through Level 3 before moving into Level A of Phonetic Zoo. To determine the best starting point for your student, we would recommend the placement tests for All About Spelling and Phonetic Zoo.


I thought the downloadable Phonetic Zoo Starter Set includes the printed materials as a PDF. Why was I charged shipping on my order?

The $79 downloadable Starter Set also includes the printed materials: Lesson Cards, Zoo Cards, Personal Spelling Cards, and printed Teacher’s Notes. The only difference between the $99 Starter Set option and the $79 Starter Set option is the audio. The $99 set includes the audio CDs and MP3 downloads, while the $79 set includes only the MP3 downloads. Since you will be receiving the printed materials in the mail, there were shipping costs added to your order.


Do I need to purchase a Phonetic Zoo Starter Set for each student?

You do not need a separate package for each student if they are working in the same level. The non-consumable printed material is exactly the same across all levels and may be used by multiple students. At most, you might want an extra pack of Zoo Cards and Personal Spelling Cards.

If you have students working in different levels, we recommend purchasing one Premier Package. It includes the MP3 lessons for all three levels, and one set of the printed material which all students can share. Again, at most you would want the extra personal spelling cards and zoo cards referenced above.


Do I need to buy another copy of the Lesson Cards for a second student?

No, you only need one set of Lesson Cards unless you would like each student to have his own. The Lesson Cards contain the rules and words from all three levels of the program and are non-consumable, so they can be used by multiple students in different levels.


What about All About Spelling? Do I need a student packet for each student using the level?

Yes, you will need to purchase an individual packet for each student at that particular level. The packet contains all of the consumable sheets for the level as well as the word cards so that each student will have his own set.


We hope these answers have helped you understand more clearly how to approach spelling with your children. If you still have questions, we would be very happy to speak with you! Our Customer Service Team loves to help. Give us a call!

Live Chat with IEW