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Spalding Phonics

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 8:24 pm
by AprilP
Does anyone know of a curriculum that uses the "spalding phonics" method?

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:20 pm
by momo3boys
i have never heard of it, what is it like :?:

Posted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:53 pm
by AprilP
With spalding phonics the shildren learn "phonograms". Phonograms are basically the sounds of speech. It's kind of hard to explain, but for example, in the word "keep" the phonogram would be "ee". In the word "boat" the phogram would be "oa". There are 71 phonograms..I think. And what's great about it is that there are hand movements so go with each phonogram. It is multisensory so it works with all learning types. My oldest went to kindergarten and first grade in public school. This will be our first year of homeschool. She learned to read very succesfully with this method. At first I thought it looked way too complicated and I was kind of skeptical, but it's actually more simple to recognize the phonogram in a word than to sound out every single letter. And I've started teaching them to my kindergartener (soon to be), and since she is more hands-on, she's actually having alot of fun learning them.

Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 8:31 pm
by Chrisy
Have a look at this one, I have no idea what it's like as I found it by using spalding phonics curriculum as a search on the web, hope this helps

Posted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 12:42 am
by GraceRules
Yes!!! What a coincidence!! I went to the regional homeschooling curriculum fair today and purchased Spell to Write and Read. The developer of this program went through the whole thing with me showing me the phonogram cards, the spelling rules cards, the heart of the curriculum, the spelling workbook. It was overwhelming but I bought it anyway thinking it would make more sense after reading through it at home. Well I got it home and it was still overwhelming to me and very complex. Not very user friendly at all.

Ironically I was reading through some recommendations at another homeschooling website and thought I'd check out their recommendations for grammar. They HIGHLY recommended The Writing Road to Reading written by Romalda Bishop Spalding. What I found interesting is it appears to be a curriculum identical to Spelling to Write and Read but at a MUCH lower price. Everything included in SWR is in this book. The only difference other than price that I can see is The Writing Road to Reading has been around for a lot longer. I went ahead and ordered it and will compare to SWR. If it is pretty much the same, I will return SWR. I will keep you posted.

Sorry for the long post, and I hope this helps.

Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 8:10 pm
by AprilP
Chrisy and Grace, Thanks! and please keep me posted!

Posted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 4:22 pm
by GraceRules
Hi April,

I wanted to keep you posted on what I found. Like I said above I purchased both and now have had time to review the two. The Spelling to Write and Read (SWR) program is based on the spalding method but makes it more user friendly. WRR book is basically the theory whereas SWR is the theory in practice. Looking through the two curricula it looks like the developer of SWR spent considerable time taking the WRR concept and turning them into a distinct spelling book, a comprehensive teacher manual, and then the learning log for the student to use. They are both pretty much the same approach to reading, spelling, writing, but SWR takes the spalding method and breaks it down into smaller pieces. They are both a complex approach, but I think the complexity comes from its thoroughness. If you're interested, the SWR has a yahoo group for users. Their website is

Hope this helps.

Posted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:20 pm
by AprilP
Thanks so much for the info. I'm wondering, which ever I decide to go with, does the spalding phonics act as the main language arts curriculum, or is it just a supplement to one? (I'm a first timer)

Posted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 8:25 am
by nep
The spalding method- either version of it is the core program for reading and beginning writing.

I understand the book "The ABC's and All Their Tricks" (Margaret M. Bishop) is a very helpful resource for those of us embarking on teaching our kids to read. I bought it but have yet to review it thoroughly. It is put out by Mott Media though I think it might be available at places like as well or you can buy it from them.

I am actually thinking of using a program that forms a complete language arts program for the first three years or so and uses the method of spalding's umm...oh what is the word?...Mentor, Dr. Samuel T. Orton. It has the same idea as well with phonograms and seeks to reach many types of learners. It is expensive though but it made lots of sense to me while Writing Road to Reading left me blank. Though I understand the newest edition is suppose to be much more user-friendly and complete (and can be purchased at amazon or barnes and noble, etc. ). Still I am opting for this program from Riggs Institute titled - Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking. Again the same idea, so maybe it isnt worth the money. I get to find out I guess. hehe. But I enjoy the 'sceince' behind reading and words and this program explains things.

An encouragemnt with the Spalding/Orton method regardless of which books you end up using is that it has been known to produce excellent readers and even to help children who normally in a public school setting would be labeled with disabilities. (Though, in fact, it was likely their learning style that inhibited them in such an environment and sometimes led to dyslexia, etc.) As has been mentioned it reaches to each style of learning , hence the 'whole' language bit you might hear regarding it (and which has nothing to do with the whole language approach of learning in public schools).

Anyway, this is the part I am most excited about in my first year with my 6-year old. So I am rambling on. All I meant to say was -"yes, it is the core of your language program and you can branch supplements out from that." Maybe I need to get out more. :P [/u]

Posted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:52 pm
by GraceRules
Well I guess that depends on what level your child is at. If you're using it to teach reading and writing, then that's all the language arts you need. If however, you're using it to teach spelling to an already reading child (depending on age and reading ability) then you would need another curriculum to teach grammar and writing composition.

Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 7:16 pm
by AprilP
Any suggestions on how I might integrate spalding with the regular 3rd grade language arts program? We're going to use Alpha Omega Lifepac.

Teaching phonics using Spalding method

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 1:56 pm
by perficiophonics
Hello, I read the questions concerning the different Phonics methods. I have some information concerning these programs. One post mentioned the Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking by Riggs. I worked for Myrna (the author) until her passing in her Learning Institute and I became very familiar with this method, so I can answer any questions you may have.

When looking for a phonics program you want to find one that teaching the Phonograms explicitly and in isolation. For example a card with the letter "a" and just the sounds on the back and how to write the letter. What you don't want is a program that shows the letter and a picture. For instance a card with an "a" and an apple. This is too much information and incorrect because "a" has three sounds a-apple, a-ate, a talk.

That being said, both Spalding's Writing Road to Reading and Writing and Spelling Road to Reading by Riggs are good curriculums. Another curriculum that is fresh on the market is Phonographics by We Teach Kids to Learn ( This is a DVD that shows how to write all the 26 letters, (lower and upper case) it has all of the multi-letter phonograms. I have been using this program in my summer school class. My class consists of K-3rd all have benefited from the information and it frees me up to help kids instead of being at the whiteboard. NOTE: I do not work for We Teach Kids to Learn I just used the product and liked it and thought you all should know.

I hope that helps somebody. I'm willing and able to answer any questions you may have about phonics instruction

Posted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 8:03 pm
by AprilP
Hi! I'm so glad you posted. So far, I've purchased a dvd that is about 10 minutes long and teaches the phonograms and hand motions and I've taught just about all of them to my almost five year old. She is pretty enthusiastic about it and writing the words she sounds out. I can really see how knowing the phonograms is helping her alot. I'm wondering what kind of daily activities we can do to reinforce the phonograms she has learned. In my oldest child's public school, spalding was used. She had a list of spelling words and had to underline all the phonograms they saw within the words. And of course they always practice writing and saying them. So that's about all I know of to do with the kinder.

Now, my 7 year old has learned to read with spalding(in public school) and is a very good reader. When shopping for a curriculum, I could not find any that used the spalding method, so I purchased the alpha omega lifepac language arts program. Looking through the material, I'm worried that this might confuse her a little or make her forget about the phonograms. Does this really matter since she already reads well? What kind of work would she be doing for third grade spalding phonics? Are spalding work books available for HS?

Glad to help you AprilP

Posted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 4:11 pm
by perficiophonics
First I will address your questions about the older child. The main focus of Spalding is to teach Phonics and spelling in a concrete multi-sensory way without workbooks and other extraneous stuff. If your older child is already reading well Spalding's work is done. If she learned how to mark her spelling words she can continue to do that with new more difficult words. Other than that make sure she is reading challenging material. The main focus for her should be composition and grammar now that her reading up to par.

AS for your kindergartner I could go on and on. I will try to just answer your questions without giving you extra information you may not need. When you tell me that the DVD you purchased was only 10 min. long this is bit of a concern. Does it teach all the sounds for all the 26 letters of the alphabet, in other words 3 sounds for a 4 sounds for u and such? Does it show her how to write all the letters both lower and uppercase? From my experience the hand signals they learn are not important and at times can take away from the importance of writing the letters. Just so you know the hand signal thing is not a part of Spalding's original program. The most important thing is that your daughter know the all the sounds for each letter, the printing of the letter, and for identification purposes the name of the letter.

The best daily activity you can do is to review what has been learned. You could do little tests by saying the sound and having her write what she hears.

When I taught Kindergarten the student were taught about 50 phonograms (the 26 letters of the alphabet plus the combinations--ee, th, igh, sh, etc...) Then we started spelling words. By mid-year my students were writing simple sentences and reading books.

What you don't want to do is give her a bunch of pointless worksheets. For instance it is very popular to have a worksheet with for example a picture of a bell and then _____ ell (child is supposed to fill in the b). It would be better if you taught her how to write the word bell.

If she knows her first 26 letters well then move on to more difficult ones like (th, sh, ay, ough etc...). Before you know it she is spelling and writing sentences and of course reading.

I don't work for this company anymore, but if you are looking for a good K-1 language arts program [u]Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking [/u by Myrna McCulloch gives you daily lesson plans with spelling words. I'm not aware of any other program that offers this in-depth help. I will warn you though the curriculum can be confusing.

I could write more. Please write me with more questions as they arise.


Posted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:14 pm
by AprilP
I don't think the DVD is meant to be instructional for the child, but for the parent to then teach the child. It's basicaly a woman sitting next to large flash cards reciting the sounds of, I think 72 phonograms and demonstrating the hand motions at the same time. There is nothing about writing or individual letters. But she already can recognize and write the individual letters and sound them out properly. The same week I began teaching her the phonograms on flash cards she started writing them in sentences! Not correct sentences of course, and they had no punctuation, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how well she was responding to it. On one paper, she drew a picture of me with a big smile and above this picture she wrote: YIisMIMOMsMIlieNAtMeBecAsLove. translated: Why is my mom smiling at me? Because love. Another sentence she wrote: CKANIhAVAPEChr translated: Can I have a picture?
So I guess I need to emphasise pronounciation and sentence structure?
I realize now I need to have her practice writing them more as well as recognizing them.
I know what you mean about the worksheets that have them fill in the missing letter. And I found that my kids focused too much on the pictures to guide them instead of thinking. The word PIG written with the picture of a big colorful pig above it...she'd say the word pig without hardly glancing at the word.