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A Day With Using Spell to Write and Read

I thought I would write about how we are using Spell to Write & Read.

Many it seems (including myself) have a difficult time getting started with SWR.

Currently I am using SWR with my 3rd and 6th graders. Josh and Annette. I am also using The Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading with my two middle students, Caleb & Brent.

The two are very similar in that they both are based on Orten-Gillingham and Spalding methods.

Again, many (including myself) find it's much easier to get stared with PR than SWR. I think that one of the reasons is with SWR you see the whole picture. Beginning to end. You see the complete list A-Z and all the steps.

With PR you get a piece at a time. In other words. SWR gives you the whole pie. PR gives you one piece at a time, so I thinks PR is easier to digest.

I'm loving using PR with my two middle students but I also like SWR. Reading through SWR has helped me to understand PR better.

Just so you know. My SWR journey started this past December, so I'm still new to this whole thing. I'll share how we are using it right now and will continue to share as we use it.

Here it goes.

Monday, no spelling

Tuesday:
  •  We go over all the phonograms. We only pronounce the sounds Tues-Thur. We don't say any of the rules that go with that sound. For instance we only say "/A/" for the phonogram 'ai'. We only say /O/ for the phonogram 'oe'. We are NOT saying "/O/ two letter /O/ that we may use at the end of English words"
  •  I also go over any rules for that day that are in the Preliminaries
  • We then start the spelling words. I say the word, use it in a sentence, say it again. I dictate 20 spelling words.
  • I finger-spell the word
  • Josh & Annette, write the words in their logs
  • I write it on the board as I say each sound. I use to have them 'make my sharpie pen write the sounds' but they thought it was babyish. Since I finger-spell the word and they already wrote it, I think we are okay if I make my sharpie write the sounds.
  • Then we go to the next word and continue in the same manner until we finish all twenty words.
Wednesday, I have them quiz themselves using the cd. Words that they have trouble with I recycle back into our daily spelling words. I also call out a word through out the day and week. It might be time for lunch, dinner or bed and I'll say, "Josh, how do you spell _____?"

Thursday, We go through the Preliminaries and another 20 words (as stated above).

Friday, they quiz using the cd and we go through all the sounds along with the rules. For the phonogram 'ai' we would say, "/A/ two letter /A/ that we may not use at the end of English words."

Our spelling sessions usually take between 30-40 minutes. I try not to go past 40 minutes. This is why we only pronounce the phonograms and not their rules the firs three days. It goes much quicker that way.

As you can see we are not doing any of the Spelling Enrichment's or what some call activities. The extra activities are good but I don't have time to do them.

What you need to get started is the Core Kit which cost $95.00. You also need to purchase a Primary for k-2nd or 3rd or Black Log for older children. You can also use regular notebook paper and binder if you like too.

Some nice extras to purchase are:
  • Alpha List. We haven't use it yet because I'm not dictating review words yet. Maybe next year I'll start that.
  • Chart Masters, I use these so we don't have to build the Reference Pages in the log, but you don't need them. There are instructions on how to make your Reference Pages. Actually right now we are not using the R.P because this confuses my oldest.(more on that later)
  • Dvd- Modified Teaching Reading at Home Training Video by BHI and LITHBTH. This dvd was made in 1996 that Wanda made as a training video for teachers using Teaching Reading at Home. This was a supplement she wrote for The Writing Road to Reading. Wanda would like to update this but until then this is it. I found this dvd very helpful and watched it a few times.
  • You Can Do It! SWR-DVD by Britta McColl, this one was very helpful as well. I also watched this one more than once. I liked the finger spelling demonstration.
  • An Introduction to Spell to Write and Read: A Blueprint for Language Arts Success- I didn't care for this one. I thought it was going to 'show' me more with how to use SWR but it was more of talking about what SWR is.
  • My Wise Grammar Book is helpful if you are using this with a younger student. They are already made sheets for the Reference Activities. If you are starting with an older student you don't need them.
  • Advanced Phonogram Cards by Silvia Mondragon- we haven't used these advanced phonogram cards yet but I'm sure they will come in handy when we get there.
  • Phonogram Fun Packet by Beall's Learning Games- I learned all my 70 phonograms playing this game with my children. We all enjoy it. Still working on all those rules.
I'm using SWR for strictly spelling. I am not having the children use any of the Spelling Enrichmemts. Joshua, my oldest spells at a high 2nd grade level. He also has trouble with processing too much information. This is why I'm keeping it simple.


30-40 minutes may sound like a long time but what I have found out is with any Orten-Gillingham or Spalding spelling method; it's going to take time. You cannot use PR, SWR, WRTR or any other O-G/Spalding program without you the teacher/mom teaching it. These are not independent spelling programs.

And lastly, I'm no experct with using SWR. I just started using this with my kiddos three months ago. Hope to encourage others with our ups and downs. I still make mistakes here & there.

That's all I have to write for now. I'll try to update more often with SWR.

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