TOP TEN TIPS for getting started with SWR
8. Practice the dictation process before teaching your students.
Part of what makes SWR so effective is the spelling dictation process when teaching new words. The teacher dictates each spelling word syllable-by-syllable, phonogram sound-by-phonogram sound, while the student hears, says, writes, and sees the words. All of the learning modalities are engaged. The student then dictates the word back to the teacher. Once they have each written it, they analyze the word together for any spelling rules involved and use a special marking system to note what they have discovered about the word.
It’s essential that you learn to correctly teach this process. If you have one of the newer copies of SWR (©2009 or later), there is a one-page overview of this dictation process on the inside of the back cover. Here’s a copy of this Spelling Dictation outline if you don’t have it in your book. We also have a fantastic bookmark, which puts the dictation outline at your fingertips while teaching.
As you build your own log—always staying ahead of where your students are in the program—be sure to practice dictating the words. In other words, this in an on-going step in your weekly preparations for lessons.
Take a look at our Endorsed SWR YouTube Channel and/or get one of our SWR DVDs for samples of the spelling dictation that help you understand what and why you’re teaching this way. As you practice the dictation, use a mirror and watch yourself. Practice forming the fingergrams with your hands, always making sure you’re teaching from the student’s perspective of left to right. This will appear backwards from your perspective; that’s okay. It’s the student’s perspective that matters, not yours. You’ll get used to it pretty quickly.
Not sure about how to teach a word? Ask about it on the SWR Yahoo Group before you need to teach it. Before long you will be a pro at the spelling dictation, and your students will be actively involved and learning.