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September 2008 — Special Edition

Welcome Back!
After a summer respite, it’s time to get ready for another exciting school year! I have two “Welcome Back” features for you. One is a timely game, “Presidential Spelling Boxes.” The other feature, “If Parents Ask,” provides you answers for parents’ questions. Give me feedback on both these features, please! I want to hear from you! Send your e-mail to

P.S. Are you new to the Sitton methodology, in need of a refresher, or looking for new ideas to extend your use of the Sourcebooks? You may wish to attend one of our 45 open-enrollment workshops scheduled for October 2008–February 2009. Check our 2008–2009 seminar schedule to see if we’re coming to a city near you. If not, consider having a Sitton seminar at your school or district. Call 888-WE-SPELL for more information.

Play Presidential Spelling Boxes
A presidential election occurs in the United States every four years. This fall marks the 44th opportunity for U.S. voters to elect a president. Classrooms like yours across the country, perhaps the world, are focused on this important event!

To help put this fall’s presidential election into historical perspective for your students, play Presidential Spelling Boxes. This game activity increases students’ knowledge of past U.S. presidents and familiarizes them with the spellings of presidents’ names. The follow-up research and writing activities—the apple activities—provide skill application and spirited academic dialogue as students extend their knowledge of our past leaders.

Play the game throughout the fall election season. Select from the easier primary games or the more difficult upper-grade games. Some students may benefit from a posted list of our past presidents to use as a reference.

Duplicate the game sheets. Cut the pages into separate game strips, or have students do so. Save the strips. Use the twelve different game strips over time for homework or for an at-school activity for individuals, cooperative groups, or student pairs. Provide students with a game strip, then let them play!

More able students can use the game as a model to create more Presidential Spelling Box games for your class to play.

  • Presidential Spelling Boxes & Answer Key—Primary grades
  • Presidential Spelling Boxes & Answer Key—Upper grades
If Parents Ask…
Parent support for your spelling and word-skill curriculum is important to its success. Answering parents’ questions and showing them how to participate increases their support and, consequently, the strength of your program. Here are ideas for answering parents’ frequently asked questions:
  1. Why did you change to a new spelling program?
  2. How is the new program different?
  3. When will we get a list of words for the test?
  4. How can we help our child prepare for the spelling test?
  5. How can we help our child learn the spelling words?
  6. Why is my child struggling with spelling now when my child did well with the old spelling program?
  7. Why does my child have different spelling words than other children in the same class?
  8. How does this program ensure that my child will learn to spell well in writing?
  9. Are there components to the program that we could use at home to complement work done in the classroom?
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Published three times per year by Educators Publishing Service