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Making the Connection Between Spelling and Reading

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We are commonly asked, “Why is Spell to Write and Read called a reading program if we’re just teaching spelling?”

It’s important that you help your student see the direct connection between spelling and reading. These are the two ways we interact with our written language. Reading involves pulling the language out of the written code while spelling involves putting our language into the code when we write. The student needs to see these processes as interchangeable for the language to make sense and become automatic.

Make sure you’re dictating the new spelling words correctly.
See SWR p. 75 and our recent blog posts for the common faux pas you want to avoid. Watch videos of our Endorsed SWR Trainers on our YouTube channel. Consider investing in one of our SWR DVDs to be sure you’re using our dictation method correctly.

Cover a broad base of words.
By the end of Wise List I you will have taught your students 50% of the most frequently used words, and you will have introduced them to the 70 basic phonograms. This is the point when many students are ready for books. Keep in mind that some students are ready before this point whereas others still need more work on the spelling lists.

Moving slowly through the lists actually works against you. Many times we think we have to slow down for the student to master his new words. Instead, we want to cover a large pool of words quickly so that the student can experience the phonograms and rules in action over and over and over. Slowing down stops this process. See SWR p. 64 for an overview of how to progress through the spelling lists and how repetition will help your student gain mastery.

Your student’s first reader is his Learning Log.
Have your students read from their Learning Logs daily. Your student should be reading the words two ways:
(1) how we “think to spell” them, and
(2) the way we naturally say or read them.

Fluently reading words in the Learning Log is a good sign of readiness for reading from books.

Have your students write, write, write!
Phonogram mastery comes from building words with phonograms. Word mastery comes from building sentences with words. When a student reads his own writing, he gets more out of his practice with the decoding process.

The more we have our children write, the more they will understand for both reading and writing the written code we call English. Dr. Harvey Wiener, author of Any Child Can Write, said, “There is a close relationship between writing and reading, especially in the initial learning stages. Part of the ability to recognize a word develops from the ability to write the word and to read it back; for many people, including adults, the tactile aspect of writing is an indispensable feature of the learning process.”

Having a journal where he writes his reinforcement activities — including sentence writing — is a great second reader. Have your student write a sentence or two about an event or a favorite story and then illustrate it in our Story Journal or use the Writing Journal for writing practice with your beginning writers (K & 1st grades).

Those of us using SWR or teaching cursive writing with Cursive First, understand the value of writing practice.

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