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Your Thoughts on Spell to Write & Read (SWR)


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Hi, I just sold mine, after almost 2 years of struggling with it, and switched to Spelling Power. My daughter and I both love the new program. I thought StWaR was needlessly complex, the layout of the two books together does not flow logically. I like the phonics cards and wish I had kept them, but that is really all. Spelling Power is so much easier to use, has better activities and better study for retention skills. For Spelling Power, I would not have purchased the student book if I had known I could just print pages from the activity disk.

Edited by acrosier
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I love it. My son who is using it said that it changed his life; he went from a pre-1st grade reading/spelling level (at 9 years old) to well-above grade level in less than a year. But he is a rule-follower, once the spelling rules were explained to him he finally grasped how the English language works and now can read complex, scientific words with ease. He is a parts-to-whole learner, I am not sure if it would work as well with a child who is more whole-to-parts or is not a fan of following specific rules.

 

It was overwhelming to start the program, but I took it one step at a time and now mostly just use the word lists. Once he understood how everything worked, I let him stop using the markings. I might switch him to Spelling Power (which worked great for my daughters, but they were early readers and excellent spellers from the beginning) next year. I'm going to start my 1st grader on SWR in the next couple of months.

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for me it required a class to get started. And even then it just had way too many components and steps.

 

Just stopped doing it. I think it is great when you can do it but for me it was way too much.

 

All about spelling is kind of like it but a bit easier to implement.

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Agreeing that it's complex. I used it for 3 years with ds for an hour a day (oh, it is a long day if you do everything they say to do) and his spelling was still his weakness. I switched to AAS (using 2 years now) and his spelling is so much improved. Neither of us dread spelling now and we get it done in 15 min/day.

 

I don't think it's an expensive program at all. I thought I would go back to it after we finished all the levels of AAS, but I ended up selling it.

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my kids rebelled at going back to 3 letter words.

 

SWR is ( IMHO)

1. needlessly complex. Learning curve WAY too steep for the instructor.

 

2. teaches that (y) does not make a long e sound.. that " baby" should be pronounced " ( something like) ba beh. AAS gives a long E as one of the sounds of y.

 

3. The sample sentences are sometimes political. Ex: "Everyone knows our taxes are too high".

There is an activist flavor to many lessons. Another Example, In the abreviations for honorifics.. Mr, Mrs, and Miss. but no Ms.

 

word lists heavy on Christian worship words.

 

 

 

PROS.

 

You can test into the spelling list you need. Wise Guide takes you through college level words.

 

If you like it, then once you have mastered the format, you are set for the duration of schooling.

 

~chrisitne in al

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Thanks for the input...The reason I am asking is that my 1st grader is taking an enrichment class on Mondays, and the teacher is using SWR...I had never heard of it before or looked into it, but thought of buying it so we can do the same things at home...Perhaps the answer is to buy it used and just use what we can from it ;)...We are using OPGTR and Spelling Workout Level A right now...

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I have several phonics curricula and it has taken messily mucking around in them all, for me to understand how this works.

 

I'm currently using SWR and have put WRTR away again, and haven't touched Riggs in a couple months. I also have a battered copy of TRH and some other stuff.

 

I'm totally fickle and use them all. And I'll never sell any of them. I have a love/hate obsession with phonics curricula.

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There is also a Yahoo Group for this that is so helpful! You can ask any questions you have there and Sanseri (author of SWR) or other trained instructors will answer your questions. I just started using it very basically with my almost 4 year old son who is begging to learn to read. I love the phonogram cards! I agree there is a bit of a learning curve to all of this and I am still learning but I think that this will really be worth it. I did not learn to read with phonograms so perhaps this is why it can be confusing to me. However, my husband was taught with SWR and he still remembers everything to this day. I think that the program has been a huge success for my husband and that is why I am excited to be able to teach it to our sons.

 

Oh, and there are also You Tube videos on how to teach a lot of the skills. Check those out too!

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I credit SWR with saving my son's serious spelling problem. He was tested years ago with auditory processing problems and had a speech impediment (mispronouncing many sounds). Because he learned to read quite young, he mapped the wrong letters to the sounds of english words, so that "cat" could be spelled "get", etc. SWR is intense, and would be overkill for a "natural speller." But for a child like mine, it was required.

 

It took me 40 hours to read and understand the manual (one intense week), and then I needed only 10 minutes on Sunday to plan for the week. At that point, it was pretty close to open and go.

 

Ruth in NZ

 

oh, and I did not use the y as a short i sound in "baby". We just went with y as ee at the end of a word. no big deal.

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I love it, my son hates it. After using the Heart of Dakota spelling for the last few months, I am wondering why in the world we spent so much time on spelling when it can be done in such a shorter amount of time! That being said, we're at the beginning of this journey and we aren't done with spelling. *I* understand SWR, and if his spelling ever falters in the future, we will definitely go back to it. That being said, if my son's spelling is going well without it, we probably won't.

 

Pros: It is great for someone who needs to see all the parts to something. I love learning all the particular "whys" behind spelling.

 

Cons: It has a very steep learning curve, I love the word "complex" to describe it. The manual is not user friendly, at all.

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SWR can be hard to get the hang of. But once the light dawns the implementation is straight-forward. I always suggest finding a veteran user to help you through the first while. It is the strongest teaching of phonics and spelling conceptually that I have found. Even when we use other material, I use an SWR emphasis. Being an immersion program, it does take time to see results.

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AAS is so much easier to use. SWR overwhelmed me just from the samples. If a program requires hours to learn for me to teach, it is not worth my time.

 

I totally agree that AAS is much easier. But so no one gets confused, both AAS and SWR teach similar phonograms and rules but their methodologies are much different.

 

I do feel that the time it took to learn SWR was worth it as it is material I can use the rest of my life to be able to help anyone who wants to learn to read or spell better.

Edited by HiddenJewel
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2. teaches that (y) does not make a long e sound.. that " baby" should be pronounced " ( something like) ba beh. AAS gives a long E as one of the sounds of y.

 

3. The sample sentences are sometimes political. Ex: "Everyone knows our taxes are too high".

There is an activist flavor to many lessons. Another Example, In the abreviations for honorifics.. Mr, Mrs, and Miss. but no Ms.

 

word lists heavy on Christian worship words.

~chrisitne in al

 

I ignored the /i/ for (y), that just didn't make sense to me.

 

I make up my own sentences; we are atheists, so the majority of the sample sentences just didn't work for us, but it's pretty easy to come up with sentences.

Edited by greenvneck
messed up the quote option the first time
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I have SWR, and I really love it after using it for a year and a half. I was really put off by how needlessly complex it is to get started. But I eventually came to an understanding that allows it to be pretty open-and-go now. We just did a diagnostic test, and dd6 increased a full year in only five months. It is very much worth the cost, as it is cheaper than AAS or the new LOE. I even spent some money to get some the game components recently.

 

I totally believe in the methodology, but it doesn't have to be so hard to get started. If you are thinking about SWR, you might want to check out Logic of English, which is a new program written by a former SWR trainer. I understand it is much more clear and very easy to get started. Having gotten to where I am with SWR, I wouldn't change, because the price is just too high, and it appears to have a worksheet component that wouldn't fly with dd6.

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Well what are you wanting to do? I used SWR for years, use it now for my ESL student, and will probably use it for my ds. It has a lot of value and a lot of options it brings to the table (sentences for dictation, enrichment activities, etc. etc.). But when your ds is just using some of it in an enrichment class, I don't really see the point. Are you wanting to drill the phonograms? Surely you're not going to use it ON TOP of your OPGTR? I guess I'm just having a hard time understanding why you need to spend $150 or whatever the core kit costs these days. If you know what you want to accomplish, then cherry pick and buy just that component.

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I think the SWR/Phonics Road/WRTR approaches (Spalding) are great because they teach analysis. In learning to analyze the words the child develops a valuable skill they can apply in other academic areas. I don't think of it like we're spending "too much time on spelling." I don't think of it as just spelling. It's almost like an area of logic: you find all the smaller pieces of the word, take it apart into smaller units to work with a bit at a time (syllables), scan your mind for rules that apply to the problem, create the solution (spell the word) and review what you know to make sure it's correct. My daughter is practicing the process of solving problems over and over again, every day. She'll be able to use that later.

Edited by grace'smom
left word out of last sentence...
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I think the SWR/Phonics Road/WRTR approaches (Spalding) are great because they teach analysis. In learning to analyze the words the child develops a valuable skill they can apply in other academic areas. I don't think of it like we're spending "too much time on spelling." I don't think of it as just spelling. It's almost like an area of logic: you find all the smaller pieces of the word' date=' take it apart into smaller units to work with a bit at a time (syllables), scan your mind for rules that apply to the problem, create the solution (spell the word) and review what you know to make sure it's correct. My daughter is practicing the process of solving problems over and over again, every day. She'll be to use that later.[/quote']

 

Grace'smom, this is a very good point that I hadn't thought of. We are a family that enjoys analysis, and this is definitely part of the reason that we use the program. Dd6 does not always like the intensity of SWR, but I see her using those skills all the time and with greater frequency as she is exposed to more of the rules. She gets excited when she recognizes what she has learned in everyday life. And she tries to apply what she has learned to new words that she encounters.

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Well what are you wanting to do? I used SWR for years, use it now for my ESL student, and will probably use it for my ds. It has a lot of value and a lot of options it brings to the table (sentences for dictation, enrichment activities, etc. etc.). But when your ds is just using some of it in an enrichment class, I don't really see the point. Are you wanting to drill the phonograms? Surely you're not going to use it ON TOP of your OPGTR? I guess I'm just having a hard time understanding why you need to spend $150 or whatever the core kit costs these days. If you know what you want to accomplish, then cherry pick and buy just that component.

 

My son seems to be doing well with the approach (I am a helper in his enrichment class, so I am there while he is there)...I was thinking of replacing OPGTR with SWR, so we can work on it during the week as well...It seems confusing going back and forth between the two...

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My son seems to be doing well with the approach (I am a helper in his enrichment class, so I am there while he is there)...I was thinking of replacing OPGTR with SWR, so we can work on it during the week as well...It seems confusing going back and forth between the two...

 

I think you are wise to consider that it might be confusing to go back and forth. I think they are different approaches.

 

Is it just one day a week he is being exposed to SWR? When you say he is "doing well" with SWR, do you mean during just the classtime? Or does the teacher give you tasks to do at home with him, too? And how is he doing with OPGTR during the rest of the week - are there problems? Or is he learning with that?

 

I just ask because it seems odd to me that SWR would be just taught one day per week, unless tasks are given to the parent to do with the child during the rest of the week. If you aren't being given tasks for the rest of the week, I would say that if your child is learning to read with OPGTR, stick with that and don't worry about buying SWR or components of it. If SWR part of a once-per-week "enrichment" class, maybe just let it "enrich" his OPGTR, in whatever way it might on those Mondays?

 

Both programs have their merits. With my questions/argument, I'm just trying to save you some money and hassle. :D

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I think you are wise to consider that it might be confusing to go back and forth. I think they are different approaches.

 

Is it just one day a week he is being exposed to SWR? When you say he is "doing well" with SWR, do you mean during just the classtime? Or does the teacher give you tasks to do at home with him, too? And how is he doing with OPGTR during the rest of the week - are there problems? Or is he learning with that?

 

I just ask because it seems odd to me that SWR would be just taught one day per week, unless tasks are given to the parent to do with the child during the rest of the week. If you aren't being given tasks for the rest of the week, I would say that if your child is learning to read with OPGTR, stick with that and don't worry about buying SWR or components of it. If SWR part of a once-per-week "enrichment" class, maybe just let it "enrich" his OPGTR, in whatever way it might on those Mondays?

 

Both programs have their merits. With my questions/argument, I'm just trying to save you some money and hassle. :D

 

He is exposed the one day, then we have some "homework" that we complete at home...I say that he is doing well only because he seems to be able to read more material now, after only three weeks with the enrichment class...He seems to understand the way all of the letter sounds are introduced at once, and using the phonic cards...It is possible that he has just gotten to a point where he is improving, but I am wondering if he will do better with that approach...It would be nice to save the $100 it would cost to purchase it though :tongue_smilie:

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WRTR is a VERY similar approach. You may be able to get a copy from the library or even just purchase one (I think they're like 20) and easily ride along with the class he's taking. I think, I am no expert, but I think WRTR is what SWR is based on anyway.

 

Also, you can easily make your own phonogram flashcards.

Edited by grace'smom
spelling error
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I had been creating my own rules-based spelling program but decided to take a break to try SWR. I found that it took us a good 45 min a day (easily) to do the lessons - with me having to be involved in the entire lesson (this was compared with the 15-20 min my ds8 spent on the lessons for my own program with me being able to do chores nearby rather than have to sit right with him).

 

Like others have said, it took me quite a bit of reading to understand how to use the program.

 

Though SWR supplies rules, the word lists didn't really seem to follow much of a pattern (except for general challenge level of the words). I prefer to focus on introducing a new rule and practicing words relating to that rule (and build on it over time) rather than having just a mish-mash of new words each day.

 

Take care,

Andrea

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He is exposed the one day, then we have some "homework" that we complete at home...I say that he is doing well only because he seems to be able to read more material now, after only three weeks with the enrichment class...He seems to understand the way all of the letter sounds are introduced at once, and using the phonic cards...It is possible that he has just gotten to a point where he is improving, but I am wondering if he will do better with that approach...

 

OK, this makes sense. I love and use WRTR, which SWR is based off. Sounds like he is thriving with the SWR approach. I can see why you are considering buying it.

 

WRTR is a VERY similar approach. You may be able to get a copy from the library or even just purchase one (I think they're like 20) and easily ride along with the class he's taking. I think' date=' I am no expert, but I think WRTR is what SWR is based on anyway.

 

Also, you can easily make your own phonogram flashcards.[/quote']

 

:iagree:, this is another money-saving option for an approach that seems to be working for your son.

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Though SWR supplies rules, the word lists didn't really seem to follow much of a pattern (except for general challenge level of the words). I prefer to focus on introducing a new rule and practicing words relating to that rule (and build on it over time) rather than having just a mish-mash of new words each day.

 

Take care,

Andrea

 

Sounds like the Spelling Power lists might be worth looking at for you if you like them by rule.

 

I actually like that the WISE Guide lists are not by rule. The student then gets to review several rules on each list he does. Each word is analyzed so each rule is discussed time and time again until it become second nature.

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Sounds like the Spelling Power lists might be worth looking at for you if you like them by rule.

 

I actually like that the WISE Guide lists are not by rule. The student then gets to review several rules on each list he does. Each word is analyzed so each rule is discussed time and time again until it become second nature.

 

I did look into Spelling Power, but wasn't all that crazy about it...that's why I ended up creating my own lessons. I do go with the idea of continuing to practice the rules again and again so that they become second nature, but I like focusing on introducing one rule at a time and building.

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I did look into Spelling Power, but wasn't all that crazy about it...that's why I ended up creating my own lessons. I do go with the idea of continuing to practice the rules again and again so that they become second nature, but I like focusing on introducing one rule at a time and building.

 

The SWR rules are introduced on Rule pages, then they are practiced through the word lists.

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