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amyc78
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I have a rising kindergartener and I am starting to research (panic over) reading programs. I'm intrigued by the Spalding method and Spell to Write and Read... But I know very little about it. Could someone explain the method to me and describe what a typical kindergarten lesson looks like? Does it seem to suit certain learning styles better than others?

At this point, we have only done AAR pre level and some starfall, abcmouse, Bob book stuff... A couple days of the Primer on easypeasy... She knows all her letter sounds but doesn't seem to be ready to put the puzzle of words together yet- neither by sounding out or sight.

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I have a rising kindergartener and I am starting to research (panic over) reading programs. I'm intrigued by the Spalding method and Spell to Write and Read... But I know very little about it. Could someone explain the method to me and describe what a typical kindergarten lesson looks like? Does it seem to suit certain learning styles better than others?

At this point, we have only done AAR pre level and some starfall, abcmouse, Bob book stuff... A couple days of the Primer on easypeasy... She knows all her letter sounds but doesn't seem to be ready to put the puzzle of words together yet- neither by sounding out or sight.

 

SWR is a Spalding spin-off. :-)

 

Spalding teaches children to read by teaching them to spell. You begin by teaching the single-letter phonograms (IOW, the letters of the alphabet), with specific instructions on writing each phonogram (letter). When you start with a 5yo, you're going to teach the letters that begin with circles, then the letters that begin with lines (there is a script for this). then you'll move on to the multiple-letter phonograms. You teach two-four a day (depending on your child), and you do oral and written drills daily of phonograms already taught. When your dc knows the first 54 phonograms (if you're using the fourth edition of the manual) or 45 (if you're using the fifth or sixth edition), you begin teaching the words in the Extended Ayres List (scripts for these). With older children you teach 20-30 words a week; with a 5yo, you'd do maybe 10. And you continue doing the oral and written drill, and teaching the phonograms until she knows all 70.

 

That's pretty much it. :-)

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Spalding/O-G/SWR is one way to do it. There are some other methods that are just as good for many students. Some children have unique needs that require one method over another. In most cases the program YOU like will be the best one.

 

See if your library has WRTR 4th edition. Or buy an old ratty copy and cut out the flashcards and scribble in it and do the program YOURSELF. It's gradually getting harder to find new and like new copies, but ratty copies are plentiful and cheap.

 

Once you have done the 4th edition, you will be able to use the newer editions or SWR or any O-G program. I strongly recommend starting with WRTR 4th though. Don't judge it. Don't tweak it. Just DO it YOURSELF. Only judge it after you finish it.

 

If you are going to do cursive first, I do not recommend Spalding/O-G programs. I much prefer Alpha-phonics (or How to Tutor) and Don Potter's supplements, for cursive first.

 

I'm using SWR right now, but could not have jumped right into using it. There are too many extras, that cloud the newbie from seeing the main program.

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My little man literally spelled his way into writing and reading via Spell to Write and Read. We began SWR when he was four years old. We're still using it, and he is now almost ten. What a blessing SWR has been to both of us! You're welcome to check out our blog and see each year's daily/weekly schedules, but I'll try to come back later to share more details. Meanwhile, here are some helpful links for research and reading.

 

Literacy Today: What is Wrong and How Can We Fix It? (Senate Speech by Wanda Sanseri)

What is Spell to Write and Read?

Investigating SWR (includes comparison to WRTR)

SWR Methodology

SWR and Preschoolers

 

On a side note, this year my little man was old enough to compete in our local homeschool spelling bee for the first time, wherein he took first place for fourth grade, and then went on to participate in the regional bee—4th through 8th graders all competed against each other. Both were successful and rewarding experiences for him.

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Thank you!! @CMama, those links are very helpful! The general methodology of SWR seems to make a lot of sense but I have to be honest, those sample pages gave me a headache! Does the 4th edition of WRTR have a simpler layout? 

 

Spalding's manual (Spalding is the method; WRTR is the manual) is much simpler than SWR, although some people figure out SWR and have trouble with WRTR, so there you go. :-)

 

I am most familiar with the fourth edition of WRTR, but I also own the fifth and sixth, which just means that if you have the fourth edition and ask questions I can help you out more than if you have the fifth or sixth. The method really is the same, of course, so I can give any question my best shot and come up with a pretty good answer. :D

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I can't say enough good things about SWR, but Ellie is right, it's a matter of preference. I started out with the intention of using the 4th edition of WRTR, but was immediately frustrated and overwhelmed by it. I soon came across SWR and the light bulb brightened, showing me the way. I still have WRTR on my shelf and have attempted to flip through it from time to time, but it still goes unused, whereas we continue to grow and glean from SWR.

 

Perhaps you could check out a copy of WRTR from your local library to get a better feel for it. Unfortunately, if your library is anything like mine, then I doubt you'll be able to find Spell to Write and Read or the WISE Guide at a local library due to its Christian content.

 

Honestly, just viewing the sample pages of SWR as someone new coming into it would probably leave me a bit confused as well, but having both the manual (SWR) and the spelling lists (WISE—stands for Words, Instruction, and Spelling Enrichments—Guide) in front of you may make a huge difference. If you're serious about it, I'd get my hands on both as soon as possible. What's more, seminars are offered to learn how to teach SWR, as well as Hidden Secrets—a 2 part DVD set wherein author Wanda Sanseri uncovers the secrets to language success taught in SWR. Here are some excerpts from her videos:

 

Spell to Write and Read: Introduction

SWR: Scientific Aids to Master Spelling

 

The Hidden Secrets DVD set could take the place of a seminar, and I have referred back to it here or there. However, after first attending an SWR Seminar, I found SWR trainer Britta McColl's You Can Do It! DVD more helpful in actually seeing how SWR is implemented in the home. 

 

I just have to say that SWR has been such a wholesome learning experience in our lives. I love the sentences provided for each spelling word in the WISE Guide. We often find ourselves in deep discussion over them, and then quoting them later on. It is truly one of my all-time homeschool favorites. I'm not saying that it's been all sunshine and roses along the way, but (for us) SWR has proven to be more than worth the money, time, and effort spent.

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You might also want to look into Logic of English Foundations. It is very similar in methodology but extremely user friendly. I started with SWR for my DD and while it is a great program, there is a steep leaning curve. LOE is so, so easy to implement. I've been using Foundations with my DS this year for kindy and he's doing great.

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We haven't used it yet, but I bought this guide as well and it was really eye-opening to me! I think we are going to jump from AAS to Spalding this coming year.

 

The guide is pretty good--I own it. :-) My main complaint is that it doesn't encourage people to actually read the manual. You need to read the manual, even if you use the guide to tell you when to do what. :-)

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If you want SWR, this might help.  Quick and Dirty Guide to Getting Started with Spell to Write and Read

 

I used SWR with my dd successfully. I started with WRTR 4th but quickly switched when I realized it didn't actually tell me what to DO with my K5er.  Now they have the scripted lesson plans, etc.  Just for your trivia, my dd was reluctant to sound out words even when she finally started reading.  Turned out she had a developmental vision problem.  You go to a developmental optometrist (which you find through COVD) to get it checked.  We ended up using all the levels of AAS after our vision therapy as review, so I've used many of the products on the market, lol.  (AAS, PR, HTTS, WRTR, SWR...)  

 

My ds has more specialized needs because of his speech problem, so he's getting LIPS (phonemic awareness remediation linked to speech therapy), which we do using SWR techniques, if you can imagine.  I'm just taking it one day at a time.  If he doesn't click by 1st grade, I'll get him Barton.  For now though, I still really like SWR for all the added helps it brings to the table.  I haven't used LOE.  The lady who wrote it used to be an SWR trainer, so there's definitely overlap there.  Hopefully after you read the QDG you'll wrap your brain around SWR enough that you'll start to see the differences. (what they include for teaching helps, how they actually teach reading, etc.)  Britta of MorningStarLearning had some terrific videos on SWR as well.  

 

 It's normal that this is hard for you.  I declare the scariest parts of homeschooling are the beginning (will he learn to read?!?!) and high school at the end (will he turn out ok, get a scholarship, and find a life?!?!).   :lol:  You'll figure it out.  Mistakes are, as Cathy Duffy says, tuition in the University of Home Ed.  :D

 

 

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I started using Spalding (WRTR 4th edition) recently when learning to read from a primer (OPGTR) wasn't enough. 

 

The handwriting/spelling method really has helped my ds make huge leaps.

 

WRTR can be difficult at first to learn how to use. But Ellie described it well in her first post.

 

Basically if you decide to go that route, just read through it. You'll realize it repeats itself a bit. I underlined and kept notes as I read about how to use it, schedule it and not get too confused with the repetitions. You may want to ignore the advice about a child doing such and such by October etc. It assumes a teacher is in a classroom. Just start it whenever and keep working on from there. I also ignored the grade recommendations for various things. Again just continuing on as my ds is able.

 

You can cut out the phonogram cards in the middle of the book (laminate if you like).  We are just going through and working on those sounds and handwriting. Recently started the Ayres lists. It's scripted a bit, but to the teacher, not scripted by telling you what to say. I especially appreciate the booklist in the back of *real* books to read in a specific order. My ds has been able to read several of them a couple times (repeat reading for practice and fluency). 

 

He still reads from the OPGTR, but it's not a headache now because he's getting so much instruction in writing.

 

I can't compare to SWR, because I have never seen it. But personally, I don't like reading/phonics/spelling programs that have a lot of bells and whistles and extra stuff to buy. 

 

 

 

 

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I have a rising kindergartener and I am starting to research (panic over) reading programs. I'm intrigued by the Spalding method and Spell to Write and Read... But I know very little about it. Could someone explain the method to me and describe what a typical kindergarten lesson looks like? Does it seem to suit certain learning styles better than others?

At this point, we have only done AAR pre level and some starfall, abcmouse, Bob book stuff... A couple days of the Primer on easypeasy... She knows all her letter sounds but doesn't seem to be ready to put the puzzle of words together yet- neither by sounding out or sight.

 

I use SWR - but I admit I don't use it in K, so I can't tell you what a typical Kindergarten lesson looks like.

 

In 1st, you do some

- phonogram work: hold up some phonogram cards (5-10), you say the sounds, they say the sounds - or, they say the sounds if they already know them

- written work:  dictate 5-10 words for them to write in their logs - or on their paper if you aren't using the logs yet - or at the white board if they still need 'large motor' work ** Note - this is SWR's full dictation method, see this Youtube video for an example.

- reading work:  they try to read the words they wrote from dictation

 

---

Instead of the see/say phonogram work, you might say 5-10 phonogram sounds & have them write them.

You might work on a reference page or do an extra activity with the 5-10 words they worked with so far that week.

Lastly, make sure you carve out 5-10 minutes for a game - phonogram bingo, hopscotch with words you've dictated that week & put on half-size index cards (hop, read the word, pick it up, hop to the next spot, read the word, etc.), make sentences outloud with words you've learned so far, etc.

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