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SWR vs. R&S


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I'm thinking about switching my son (9), daughter (7), and other daughter (6) over to SWR from R&S phonics. 


I'm finding R&S to be confusing without much reinforcement for my kids. It's just day-to-day lessons without much review. My kids need the review. Especially when it comes to sounds/spelling rules. 


I've heard that SWR is really teacher intensive which doesn't both me too much as I want my children to be strong in the grammar/math/english areas. But my questions are:


Can I teach all three children together?


Are there any consumables that I will need to purchase?


Is there review/reinforcement of spelling/grammar rules?


Is the learning curve for the teacher steep because of the way the curriculum is taught or because phonics in general can be confusing?


Is my 9 year old too old to start? He's reading slowly and I'm wondering if SWR will help him with his reading skills or hinder him?


Thanks for any helpful information!!

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Whether you can teach all three children together depends on the level they are at. I have three children using SWR this year and two of them are grouped together while the third has his own class. I am able to group two of them because despite their difference in ages, they are spelling at the same level and their handwriting speeds are roughly equivalent. If I had my oldest child doing it, she would have to be her own class, too, because she'd be on more advanced lists.


There is basically one consumable that you have to purchase for each kid - a learning log. They run from around $6 each to $12 depending on which log you buy. Younger kids & first timers do best with the red learning log, IMO. You will want one for yourself as you will put together your own log in a "learn it by doing" type of situation.


There is constant review of spelling rules. The course basically teaches no grammar by itself. There are grammar concepts (parts of speech, capitalization) in there, but it isn't a grammar program.


The learning curve for the teacher is steep, IMO, because of the way the course is set up, the marking system used, and because some of us never learned the phonogram sounds like the four sounds of 'ou' or the spelling rules like "A, E, O, U usually say /A/, /E/, /O/, /U/ at the end of a syllable."


Nine year olds are not too old to start. My kids can all read at least a little when we start SWR and we work on other reading practice, so I don't know how it will help/hinder his reading.


At the beginning, IMO, SWR takes awhile to put into practice. Eventually, you either drop it or find your own way to implement it (schedule it, streamline it). Actually, I should say that after awhile, some of us get into the groove teaching it. Some never do and they drop it.

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RootAnn answered your questions well. The only thing I would add is that if you do end up buying it, don't let yourself get bogged down in the teacher's manual. Do read it, but the very best way to learn how to teach SWR is to dive in and do it once you have read the section on how dictation works. You can ease into it slowly and add the enrichment activities later when you're comfortable with how it works. Once you do get the hang of it it's very open and go, no prep needed, but if you choose to use it give yourself the time to get used to it. 

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