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New, need some help with WRTR


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Hi! I'm brand new to the forums here. I joined mostly because there seem to be many folks here who are familiar with WRTR, and the WRTR Teachers list and Spalding forms don't seem to get much traffic.

 

I have four kids, two of whom are school aged, a 3rd and a 1st grader. We are following the Mother of Divine Grace syllabi recommendations this year. We followed these for my oldest's first grade year, also, but last year enrolled with St. Thomas Aquinas Academy -- a correspondence type program. In any case, MODG recommends WRTR along with Starting a Spelling Notebook for third. As MODG's recommendation for first grade phonics didn't work for my older son, I decided to try to use WRTR for both of the kids. I read through the book several times and thought I was good to go, but after a week of school I find myself thinking, "What do I need to do next?"

 

Some of my problems: Starting a Spelling Notebook, while using the WRTR book, seems to make several changes to the methodology. I can't decide whether to follow this, or try to figure out what to do based solely on WRTR. For instance, SSN (for my third grader) has you start the beginning notebook rule pages while you are still learning the phonograms, for variety. Also, once you are into the spelling list dictations, it has you dictate words on Monday, the child copies these words into the other column on the page on Tuesday and read them into a tape recorder, then do a "self-test" on Wednesday by listening to their reading, then do a spelling test on Thursday (it is a four day week for most 3rd grade subjects). I can't quite figure out what WRTR wants me to do. It sounds like they want me to dictate words every day (how many?) to write into the notebook and have the child practice reading (out loud? how many?) words from the notebook everyday. I had thought there should only be one instance of each word in the notebook, like it is a reference book. Should the child then practice writing the words on other paper? Then it suggests, in one spot, a weekly spelling test, but gives no guidelines on that. I don't own a Teacher's Guide and don't really see how I can afford one, unfortunately.

 

The Y thing. I have to agree with others, like the author of the Sound Beginnings program (which I kind of wish I'd bought) that it doesn't make sense not to teach the long e sound for y. I'm not sure I can buy the Spalding explanation that it leads to better spelling, as there are many other sounds spelled multiple ways, and the long e sound at the end of a two syllable word is almost always spelled with a 'y'. I would think teaching the short i sound would make it less likely for the child to accurately figure out how to spell a word which they haven't already studied, such as in their own writing. I had decided to teach this sound for the y and just adjust the program, but now I'm realizing how much I'd have to figure out and change if I did that. But I already introduced the sound and made some changes as notes to myself in my copy of WRTR. I'm really torn about how to go with this. Thoughts on this?

 

For my first grader, I think I have a rough idea of what to do. SSN doesn't cover this grade level, so I'm just going by WRTR. We've had one week of school, and have introduced the first 26 phonograms. So next week I'll keep adding more phonograms, starting teach putting words together (he can already read, somewhat) cover vowels and consonants. At least that's my plan. I would love a list of more specific things to cover when, but my understanding is that if I just practice these things, and syllables, markings, etc over and over before we start the spelling dictation then we'll be good to go, yes? Now, once we're doing the spelling pages, we dictate words every day, read words from the notebook everyday. Do we practice on other pieces of paper, too? Spelling tests?

 

I think maybe I'm overthinking all of this, but I just prefer to have things planned out and this doesn't really do it for me. However, I don't see how I can buy much, if anything, to help me at this point. Money is very, very tight.

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Welcome! I'm sorry that I can't help with WRTR, I can give you a bump and let you know to go ahead and bump away as many times as you need!

I know there are many WRTR users on here. I know "Ellie" is a big fan.

 

Good luck! I hope you get many replies!

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I can't help you directly with WRTR, but you might want to look at All About Spelling instead if you can't make WRTR work for you (it isn't exactly the same but is based on Orton-Gillingham also, and it solves the 'y' problem which also is an issue for me). I also own WRTR and SSN, but can't quite get going with using it. I think SSN simplifies it, but still I haven't used it. AAS is an open an go program, that uses the phonograms and the rules (but teaches the rules and the words that are spelled that way, versus marking up words and teaching them in random order). Just an idea to consider; you can see it at all-about-spelling.com. WRTR is supposedly excellent once you get yourself going on it. I also ordered a Spalding teachers manual but sent it back because it really wasn't very helpful; it didn't contain much that isn't already in WRTR 5th edition, in my opinion (I ordered the 1st grade book). And it only has lesson plans for a few weeks, and then you have to figure it out on your own. If you search this forum for WRTR you can find a few old threads that have some details on how people do WRTR daily.

 

Good luck!

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I can't help you with WRTR either. :001_huh: i went with SWR after struggling with WRTR for awhile and am really happy with how the program's laid out. Hopefully this will give you a bump and either Ellie or one of the other WRTR users on the board can answer your specific questions.

 

Spalding did just announce an online course for homeschoolers. That would have been incredibly helpful to me when I was starting out.

 

I do teach the y as i/I without a long e and my ds hasn't been confused at all. If I were going to modify it, I'd also add the long e sound to the i as well to maintain the i/y connection.

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icon1.gif"Starting a Spelling Notebook" by Mari MaAllister, has been a huge help! Here is a link if you'd like to read about it.

Messagehttp://www.acbooks.net/Merchant2/mer...duct_Code=VAx1

 

 

This was a great help to me when I was just getting started with WRTR. I highly recommend it if you plan on staying with WRTR. I found it hard to be consistent though, so I am switching to AAS this year.

I thought it might be of some help to you.

 

 

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Thank you for your replies, everyone! I looked at AAS but it is out of my price range, unfortunately, seeing as I would need to buy multiple levels. I may look at it again. I'm currently considering Sound Beginnings. I'm waffling between buying something new and just making WRTR work by hook or by crook.

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Hi, I thought I'd comment on the "y thing". I have had 3 kids in Riggs (offshoot of spaulding) over the course of the past 6 years. Riggs allows y to say long "e". Y has 4 sounds then 'y' (not yuh) -'i' (short) -'i' (long) - 'e' (long). Example words are yippee-myth-by-baby. I would ditch the WRTR version and use Riggs for that letter! HTH! AngieE

 

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The Y thing. I have to agree with others, like the author of the Sound Beginnings program (which I kind of wish I'd bought) that it doesn't make sense not to teach the long e sound for y. I'm not sure I can buy the Spalding explanation that it leads to better spelling, as there are many other sounds spelled multiple ways, and the long e sound at the end of a two syllable word is almost always spelled with a 'y'. I would think teaching the short i sound would make it less likely for the child to accurately figure out how to spell a word which they haven't already studied, such as in their own writing. I had decided to teach this sound for the y and just adjust the program, but now I'm realizing how much I'd have to figure out and change if I did that. But I already introduced the sound and made some changes as notes to myself in my copy of WRTR. I'm really torn about how to go with this. Thoughts on this?

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We just started Spalding last week. I am also trying to get a grip on how to use it for spelling.

My twins are in 3rd grade. We are doing the phonogram review currently. This week, I have a list of 30 words picked out of our readers. I will pick out 10 words and see if I can identify what rules apply to each of the words.

After the phonogram review,

Monday & Tuesdays - Identify what rules apply.

Wednesday - Spelling words Pretest

Thursday - work on Mispelled words

Friday - Retest if reqd & Dictation of sentences using the Spelling words.

Edited by tarana
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Hi, I thought I'd comment on the "y thing". I have had 3 kids in Riggs (offshoot of spaulding) over the course of the past 6 years. Riggs allows y to say long "e". Y has 4 sounds then 'y' (not yuh) -'i' (short) -'i' (long) - 'e' (long). Example words are yippee-myth-by-baby. I would ditch the WRTR version and use Riggs for that letter! HTH! AngieE

 

Does Riggs do markings? How do they mark the y making the long e sound?

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Have you look at Spell to write and Read? I have never used WRTR but I have use SRW from what I'm told it is WRTR made a little easier to use. If you understand the method you might be able to get by with just the wise guide. It is the spelling list, it tells you what phonograms and spelling rules to teach each day along with a list of words, dictation sentences, the words are marked for you. The SWR TM is very good if you can afford it.

Also I taught mine the long e sound for y. This is the way they say it. y, i, I and sometimes E. We started this because they kept telling me that y said E and it really does. I have been to a SWR teachers workshop so I know how it is supposed to be taught and I am breaking the rule, but it makes better sense, I don't think it will mess them up. I also know other WRTR users that teach the long E sound for y.

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I used WRTR with both my boys. It's been a few years, but I think I can remember how we did it.

 

I'm not familiar with the programs you are using in conjunction. I do know I took liberties with Spalding's methodology.

 

Regarding the notebook, I started them on their notebooks before we had finished memorizing all the phonogram cards - maybe at about 75% memorized.

 

We wrote in the notbooks daily. I just went down the list and dictated as many words in a day as they had the patience to work. Some days it was around 8 words...some days closer to 15.

 

One thing I wish I'd done differently is focus more attention on the formation of letters. Spalding goes into great detail about the importance of paper and pencil positioning, posture, etc., and I pretty much ignored that. Consequently, my boys (though they can write pretty fast) are not efficient writers and their penmanship is not great.

 

As for the "y" sound...I'd forgotten all about that! It seems to me that what's 6 to one is 1/2 dozen to the other. :) Pick whichever method makes most sense to you.

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Does Riggs do markings? How do they mark the y making the long e sound?

 

 

Long e sound for the letter y is marked with a number 3. They are taught that y makes 4 sounds, but only 3 are vowel sounds. Long e is the third vowel sound. This is what Riggs says about Y: "/y/ is an unusual phonogram in that it is both a consonant and a vowel, but that it has three correct vowel spelling and pronunciation sounds, short i and long i and another pronunciation sound more recently validated by dictionaries - when y is used in unstressed suffixes, it has a long e sound. We have revised orton phonograms to accomodate these conventions." The Riggs mauanl goes into detail about how to teach this as it can be confusing to yound students. rule 15 "vowels i and y may say short 'i' at the end of a syllable (fam i ly, bi cy cle), but usually say long e or long i (pi an o, ba by, by, fi nal). rule 16 "Vowel y, not i, is used at the end of English words (by, guy)" My kids say rule 16 this way "English words do not end with 'i'!"

 

There are other differences in Riggs and Spaulding phonograms, but won't go into that now! HTH! Angie

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So, I'm a little fuzzy on exactly what you're doing.

 

Are you doing Spalding, or are you using someone else's lesson plans and whatnot to work your way through WRTR? Because if it's the second, my advice would be to ignore that and do Spalding, e.g., following the manual (Writing Road to Reading is the manual for the Spalding Method).

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So, I'm a little fuzzy on exactly what you're doing.

 

What a coincidence, so am I!! ;)

 

Are you doing Spalding, or are you using someone else's lesson plans and whatnot to work your way through WRTR? Because if it's the second, my advice would be to ignore that and do Spalding, e.g., following the manual (Writing Road to Reading is the manual for the Spalding Method).

 

Well, I do have a guidebook with some very brief lesson plans, but I can tell that it does deviate quite a bit from the instructions in the WRTR (which I also have). I would prefer to just follow WRTR if that's what I continue to use, but I am not sure what I am supposed to be doing on a daily basis, once we get into writing in the notebook. Do we write words every day? And then read words previously written into the notebook? Practice phonograms? We would likely only be using the spelling portion, at least at first.

 

Also, I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with not teaching /E/ as a sound of y. Which is a pretty big thing, eh?

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Regarding the notebook, I started them on their notebooks before we had finished memorizing all the phonogram cards - maybe at about 75% memorized.

 

We wrote in the notbooks daily. I just went down the list and dictated as many words in a day as they had the patience to work. Some days it was around 8 words...some days closer to 15.

 

One thing I wish I'd done differently is focus more attention on the formation of letters. Spalding goes into great detail about the importance of paper and pencil positioning, posture, etc., and I pretty much ignored that. Consequently, my boys (though they can write pretty fast) are not efficient writers and their penmanship is not great.

 

The first two paragraphs are pretty much what I do, too.

 

And I agree with the third paragraph. The detail on letter formation is good for penmanship, but it's also important for actually learning the phonograms. Do spend time on that.

 

I would prefer to just follow WRTR if that's what I continue to use, but I am not sure what I am supposed to be doing on a daily basis, once we get into writing in the notebook. Do we write words every day? And then read words previously written into the notebook? Practice phonograms? We would likely only be using the spelling portion, at least at first.

 

I use WRTR to teach how to read, how to spell, and penmanship. I skip the grammar and composition parts - I like R&S/FLL and WWE/SWB methods better. But anyway...

 

Basically, you are learning the phonograms (by memorizing the sounds, learning to draw the letters, and writing the phonograms from dictation), then learning the spelling rules and reinforcing the phonogram sounds by writing spelling words in the notebook and marking them. After you write however many words in the notebook each day that you think your child could do, you also practice reading by "reading for spelling" and then "reading for reading." RFS is when you have them sound out each phonogram in the word, or sound out each syllable in the word, and then say the word. RFR is when you just have them read the word.

 

Yes, do these things every day. Learn the phonograms first, then start the spelling notebook. Reinforce the phonograms periodically as you see the need. You could do this with the flashcards or by giving dictation again. Start with a certain amount of spelling words per day (I would adjust the amount to the child, not go by what it says in WRTR), and work your way up as the child gets used to the routine. After you finish the list of spelling words, including marking them along the way, do the reading for spelling then reading for reading, then you are done.

 

I am sure I am forgetting some minor details, but this is the basic WRTR routine that I have used for years. If you haven't tried out making a notebook for yourself yet, I'd recommend that, too. It will help you imprint the phonograms and rules in your own mind first, and will help you work out a routine for your kids. It doesn't take very long each day once you get into a routine. And you can work it as you see fit - if your child gets further and further in the spelling list, and he/she starts having trouble, you can always back up and go over previous words. The Morrison/McCall spelling test can help with this, too. But you can also use your own good judgment about your kids and what they need.

 

hth

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