Frequently Asked Questions about
SWR Lesson Plans
When will the Lesson Plans be available?
Great question! We will start accepting pre-orders only after we are ready to go to press. We’ll announce when/where pre-orders will be accepted just as soon as they’re done.
How much will be Lesson Plans cost?
That will be determined once the final editing is finished and we know our costs.
How will I know when I can pre-order the Lesson Plans?
We will announce this through our email mailing list, on our social media channels, and on our blog. The best way to find out is to be on our email mailing list so we can email you directly.
The Lesson Plans
For what grades are the Lesson Plans recommended?
SWR places students in the Wise List based on skills, not grades. The teacher uses a Diagnostic Spelling Test to determine the students’ level of mastery with the English phonics code. The Wise List covers words from beginning Kindergarten to college freshmen levels.
To effectively prepare a student for a strong foundation in reading, spelling, and writing, it is recommended that he complete SWR by the end of fifth grade. However, many students have used SWR in higher grades for remedial learning with powerful results, including adults and English as a Second Language learners.
Would I be able to use the Lesson Plans with an older student or an adult?
Yes! The Lesson Plans include teaching tips for how to adjust the activities for older students.
How many lessons are provided in the Lesson Plans?
See the Lesson Plans Descriptions.
Are the Lesson Plans applicable for different teaching situations?
Yes, a teacher could use the plans in a classroom, while homeschooling, for tutoring, or in a co-op or hybrid-school setting where the students are in class for one or two days each week.
Can I see samples of the Lesson Plans?
Samples will be available when we are close to completing the project.
Can I start the Lesson Plans any time during the year?
Yes, the plans are not locked into any specific time of year for starting. However, you’ll want to start at the beginning of the plans as preliminary instruction is included for the teacher with the initial lessons. Once the teacher has reached a standard rhythm to the lessons, this instruction is reduced for the remainder of the plans.
Starting in the middle of a set of plans is possible, but the teacher should at least review the beginning lessons so that she is better equipped for the later lists where less instruction is repeated.
Are the Lesson Plans necessary for teaching SWR?
No. Teachers have been successfully and effectively teaching reading and spelling for over 40 years with our methods and materials. There is plenty of support available to help you use the existing materials in your teaching situation. The Lesson Plans will be an additional tool, but not a required one.
What is included in the Lesson Plans?
See the Lesson Plans Descriptions.
Following are the four components of the plans:
- The Lesson Plans Teacher’s Manual:
A manual that includes all the lists, tips, and instructions listed in our Descriptions, including the teacher version of any supplemental worksheets, sample reference pages, and weekly tests.
- The Lesson Plans:
The teacher instructions presented in weekly sections, but with plans and instructions for what and how to teach each day of the week.
- The Online Portal:
Each level of the Lesson Plans will have a private web page loaded with links pointing you toward support materials, color photos, teaching videos, and more. The Lesson Plans will alert the teacher when to go to the Online Portal to connect with these resources.
Digital files available for download from our web site will contain:
- the Wise List audio files of every spelling word taught in that Lesson Plan level so the teacher can hear the words clearly spoken and with the think-to-spell pronunciation, and
- the student version of all supplemental worksheets, weekly tests, and extra files for the teacher’s use and recordkeeping.
In what format will the Lesson Plans be packaged?
We are working out the details for the best way to deliver these plans to our customers. We’ve had to re-evaluate our approach a few times now.
Will the Lesson Plans components be sold separately?
No, everything will only be sold together as a package.
Are the Lesson Plans sold separately from the other materials?
Yes, they will be available as a stand-alone item or made available in money-saving combos. You can expect those to be on our web site once they’re available for pre-order.
Do I have to have experience with SWR to use these Lesson Plans?
Prior knowledge or use of SWR is not necessary, however, we always recommend that you attend an SWR Seminar if at all possible for the best possible introduction to the program. The plans will walk you through the initial stages of preparing to teach and then using the program, assuming this is your first year. Teachers with prior SWR experience will breathe a sigh of relief knowing they can simply open the plans and have their lessons laid out for them.
If I have these plans, do I still need to attend a training seminar?
We highly recommend that teachers attend a live seminar with an Endorsed SWR Trainer. The Seminar is where SWR comes to life and teachers experience the method first-hand from both the student’s and the teacher’s perspective. Although the child learns the principles of phonics very quickly, understanding these concepts tends to be one of the biggest challenges for the new SWR teacher.
The Lesson Plans assist greatly in showing the teacher what to do; the SWR Seminar provides the experience of teaching that many educators find difficult to glean from the pages of a book. Nothing replaces the 2- or 3-day experience with an Endorsed Trainer guiding you through the process, encouraging you and helping you practice the dictation method, and answering questions in person.
Who Needs What
How do I select which Level of the Lesson Plans to use with my students?
The Lesson Plans are organized by the Wise Lists covered in each. Read the Lesson Plans Descriptions of each carefully.
Once we’re ready to publish the plans, we will provide helpful information about choosing the best level for your teaching situation. For now, following are some guidelines.
For the beginner student, start with Level A or B, depending on penmanship needs, the pace he can realistically keep, and the amount of material your student is ready to tackle for the year.
For other students,
- Administer a Diagnostic Test. Refer to the instructions on our site for administering, scoring, interpreting, and using this test to place your student.
- Once you have a current and accurate diagnostic test, you’ll want to consider other factors that play a part in planning your school year.
- How many students are you teaching this year? The fewer levels you have to teach for the year, the more successful you will be. One or two levels per year is ideal; three is going to tax you, but it can be done.
- How experienced are your students with SWR? They don’t have to have any experience, but if they do, that will give you an idea of how much both you and they can accomplish.
- How successful has your student been thus far if you were using SWR? If you’ve had slow progress, is that because you were moving slowly through the lists and were inconsistent? or were you keeping a good pace, being consistent, and you have a student that struggles?
- For those previously using SWR, look at the lists covered by each Lesson Plan Level and how that fits in with what you’ve done and what you want to yet accomplish.
Do I need a set of plans for each student I’m teaching?
Group your students whenever possible. The fewer levels you have to teach for the year, the more successful you will be. Classroom teachers need to settle on ONE level. Other teachers might select up to two levels per year. Although three levels in one year can be done, is going to tax you, and you may not meet your goals. One of our field testers with a family of seven children, four of whom were learning with SWR, made three levels work for her. She used Level A for her budding Kindergarten student, Level C for a struggling 2nd grader, and then combined two older students in 4th and 6th grades in Level D.
Please note that the younger the student, the more difficult to group with older students because of the penmanship, vocabulary, and attention span issues.
If my child starts in a certain level and then tests at a different level during the school year, will I need to go with a different level of the Plans?
Accurate placement in the Wise List is important before beginning. Typically a student will not change levels mid-year.
Do the Lesson Plans take the place of Spell to Write and Read and/or The Wise Guide?
No, the Spell to Write and Read and The Wise Guide books are central to the program; they are the program. The Lesson Plans help you use these materials and point you to where and what to read when in your teacher texts. The Plans will direct you to teaching the word lists found in The Wise Guide.
Do I need to have the worksheet books to use the Lesson Plans?
The Wise Guide Enrichment Activity Worksheets are woven throughout the plans with instructions on how and when the use them each week.
The Lesson Plans description says the worksheet are included. Why do I need the Worksheet books as well?
The Lesson Plans only include a limited number of extra worksheets not already included in the Worksheets books. These do not replace the Wise Guide Enrichment Activity Worksheets; they only add to them.
What other materials will I need to use the Lesson Plans?
We’ll be posting a list of both regular materials to have on hand each week as well as supplemental materials you’ll need through the year. Stay tuned!
Modifying the Lesson Plans
How do I adjust the Lesson Plans if I don’t teach SWR five days each week?
The Lesson Plans are based on a 5-day schedule, but tips are included in the Lesson Plans Teacher’s Manual for how to adapt to other teaching schedules and situations.
What do we do if we don’t finish all of the assignments when they’re assigned?
The Lesson Plans Teacher’s Manual will offer suggestions for for how to modify your lessons and how to select the most important activities if you cannot get to everything.
We do SWR with a modified approach because my student has dyslexia/vision problems/auditory issues, etc, how will these plans work for us?
When a teacher follows the methods as laid out in the SWR book and the teaching sequence as presented in the Lesson Plans, the struggling student will flourish. Modifications can be made to the breadth of the lessons, but the teaching sequence will be the same.
Spell to Write and Read is based on the work of Dr. Samuel Orton, who worked extensively with children who had reading issues and were labeled dyslexic. Dr. Orton mentored Mrs. Romalda Spalding, who created curricula based on their clinical work. Mrs. Spalding emphasizes sound first, then speaking, writing, and lastly reading. Her approach to multi-sensory teaching proves to be most effective in reaching individuals who struggle to make the connection to reading. Wanda Sanseri took graduate level training under Mrs. Spalding and has retained the purity of her teaching methods in Spell to Write and Read while expanding on it to create a complete Language Arts program.
How does SWR overlap with Classical Conversations?
SWR is a complete Language Arts program for Grades K-3, including penmanship, phonics, spelling, reading, reading comprehension, grammar, composition, vocabulary, and Greek & Latin roots. Around 4th grade and above, we recommend supplementing the grammar and composition in SWR with other curricula, which CC provides. This means that both the SWR Lesson Plans and CC will be providing the student with assignments for these subjects. While suggestions are provided in the Lesson Plans Teacher’s Manual, the teacher will be the one to decide how to handle the overlap of grammar and writing assignments.