How do we use SWR to teach a student who already has some reading and writing experience?


When taught to read before developing consistent spelling skills, students will likely have holes in their language foundation. SWR works to successfully fill in the gaps and enable them to strengthen their understanding and usage of the English language.

Assess Student Skills & Determine Placement

  • SWR provides the diagnostic tools necessary to determine where the student is in his spelling skills.
  • Suggested resources compliment the SWR system to measure reading comprehension.
  • Assessments provide a benchmark for measuring future progress.
  • A determination is made as to where in the Wise Spelling List the student should be placed for spelling instruction. This placement indicates the level at which the student’s understanding of the English phonics code begins to falter. Student interest is piqued when he is placed at a level that not only builds much-needed skills, but also challenges him.


Written Symbol for Sounds = Phonograms

  • We introduce the 70 basic phonograms which represent the 45 sounds of the English language.
  • For most students, teaching the phonogram sounds for the alphabet is accomplished quickly. When we begin introducing the multi-letter phonogram patterns, many students’ understanding of the phonics code blossoms dramatically.

Begin Spelling Instruction

  • The student hears the word, and then, together with the teacher, builds the word by phonogram sounds. The student learns to see each word as a sequential grouping of sounds rather than merely a meaningless string of unrelated letters.
  • The student uses logical thinking while using our marking system to reinforce the phonogram patterns and the spelling rules.
  • Using the Black Learning Log, students create their own personalized primer for spelling entirely from guided teacher dictation. As the captain of a ship logs information about his travels, so the student will record information he learns about the English language. He will include the weekly spelling lists and will build reference pages where he practices applying the spelling rules.
  • The student progresses through the WISE Spelling List at a pace that encourages both mastery of the material while providing him with the “big picture” of the consistencies within our language.

Teach 28 Spelling Rules As Needed

  • We begin to teach the 28 spelling rules as they coordinate with the phonograms and word list, and by building Reference Pages in the Spelling Notebook.
  • The first Reference Pages to be built illustrate the most common spelling rules used in the language, from beginning readers all the way up to adult level texts. These pages also lay the foundation for the first spelling list the student will use, as determined by the diagnostic testing.
  • The student continues to learn and reinforce spelling rules and build Reference Pages as he makes progress through the WISE Spelling List.


Integrate Other Language Arts Skills

The weekly spelling words become the springboard for a myriad of enrichment activities that build other language arts skills such as

WG Worksheets
  • grammar concepts
  • verb conjugations
  • punctuation
  • compound words
  • plurals
  • vocabulary relationships such as antonyms, synonyms, and analogies
  • building derivatives with prefixes & suffixes
  • beginning composition skills
  • learning Greek and Latin roots
  • and more!


Improve Writing Skills

older girl writing

  • Again, instruction in both penmanship and composition skills are geared to meet the individual needs of the student.
  • Instruction is provided for teaching the student how to transition from manuscript to cursive penmanship, if the student did not start with cursive.
  • Students reinforce spelling words in the context of various sentence-writing activities.
  • Skills in powerful composition are introduced, laying an excellent foundation for a more structured writing curriculum in the future.
  • Students are exposed to quotes from classic literature, history, the Bible, and poetry to enrich their learning experience and whet their appetites for further research.

Strengthen Reading Skills

  • Through the work done on improving spelling skills and the enrichment activities branching off these foundational efforts, the student’s reading abilities are strengthened.
  • Students are given the skills to read rich literature, the “living” books that build character, and books that change lives like the Bible.
  • Recommended supplemental resources provide the tools for consistently teaching and assessing reading comprehension skills.

My older daughter (8) has been writing a lot of three-paragraph essays for a homeschooling writing class she attends.  Just this past week we wrote an essay titled, “Three States I Would Like to Visit,” and I mentioned that using a quote is a wonderful way to conclude or introduce an essay.  So she pulled out her Wise Guide and used one of her favorites.  Her final sentence in the essay was, “Finally, as Augustine said, ‘The whole world is a great book and those who never leave home read only a page.'”  Her teacher was blown away and we have decided to try and use a quote from the Wise Guide in at least every other essay she writes.  Thanks, Wanda, for all the “freebies” like this we have gained through your Herculean efforts at putting this program together.–Wendy