child hiding behind book
Spalding Education International is a scientifically-based language arts instruction committed to teaching all students to spell, write and read. It is the home of The Writing Road to Reading, written by Romalda Spalding and used for grades K through 6.
The Spalding method of teaching language arts has three basic parts:
phonics and spelling
These components are integrated in spelling, writing, and reading lessons. The comprehensive lessons include phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, high-frequency vocabulary, word meanings and usages, word parts, grammar, listening, and reading comprehension.
Approximately eight years ago, Collier County’s public schools began training teachers on the Spalding Phonics method and using it in its elementary schools. Patricia Walkley has been training Collier County’s elementary school teachers on Spalding since the program was implemented and has continued to be the county’s main Spalding Phonics trainer. Walkley trains new teachers in the district every year.
Collier County’s current executive director of elementary programs, Jennifer Kincaid, decided to have teachers trained on how to use the Spalding method during the summer of 2004. According to Walkley, Kincaid did this in order to have consistency within the elementary schools so every child is taught the same way with the same phonics instruction. Having used the program as a teacher, Kincaid realized the advantages of using it in the classroom.
Walkley advocates the Spalding method of teaching phonics because she also used it as a teacher with her own students and saw the advantages firsthand. “Everyone should be taught a phonics program, but not the kind attached to a basal reader because it’s not enough, it’s too generalized,” she says. According to Walkley the best grades to teach Spalding is in grades K through 2.
Walkley also says that whole language doesn’t work. “It doesn’t provide students with enough,” she says. Walkley believes that Spalding is a great program. “I think it’s one of the best phonics programs because it is very systematic, very explicit, and repetitious,” she says. “Research has shown that these attributes must be there in order for a phonics program to be successful,” Walkley says.
“One of our biggest advantages with teaching Spalding is with our ESOL (limited English speaking) students,” Walkley adds. According to Walkley, pronunciation of words is very important when students are beginning to learn to read; it helps them to read, spell, and write.
“There needs to be a connection between the printed word and the way it sounds; students learn to identify the sounds that the printed image is making,” Walkley says. These sounds are referred to as “phonograms.” Students being taught with Spalding phonics learn 70 phonograms that represent 108 phoneme sounds. Walkley says that students feel more confident when they are learning the sounds and this also gives them the power to write. “Students aren’t afraid to write when they know what sounds the letters make,” she says.
According to Walkley, Spalding is so widely recognized that it is used in Lee County’s adult education ESOL classes to help adults read and speak English.
For more information on the Spalding Method and The Writing Road to Reading, visit: www.spalding.org.
Darlene Pellechia is a CCPS teacher, editorial contributor, and mom of three.