Click HERE for this Newsletter.

Upcoming public SWI workshops/conferences in 2019

Jan 17-19: Bangkok with Pete Bowers & Fiona Hamilton (WordTorque). Details HERE

Jan 23-25: Edmonton (Details HERE)

Feb 20-23: Vancouver (Email Pete for details: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

March 1-2: Chicago SWI Conference with Pete Bowers, Gina Cooke, Doug Haper and more (Details HERE)

July 9-12: Melbourne (Pete deliveirng Keynote at ALEA annual Australian literacy conference.)

Click HERE for a flyer with information on all of these workshops.

Here is a screen shot of the first page of Newsletter #95

 Screen Shot 2018 11 24 at 6.35.41 PM

This Newsletter was inspired by a weekly blog post Claire Wasserman-Rogers wrote for parents of the preschoolers she and lead teacher, Carolee Fucigna teach at the Nueva School. The account of how they address morphology in the orthographic inquiry that drives their early literacy instruction is truly inspiring. It is also a topic of keen interest in the research right now. See the blog of my brother, Jeff Bowers (a cognitive psychologist at Bristol University) for more on this research debate. Click HERE to see a draft of our latest paper (Bowers & Bowers, 2018) that just came out in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science titled, "Progress in reading instruction requires better understanding of the English spelling System."

From the introduction to the Newsletter:

Two key points we make in that series of articles include the following:

  • There is no instructional evidence supporting the hypothesis that morphological instruction should be avoided until after phonological aspects of orthography are taught (what we call the “phonology-first hypothesis”).
  • The evidence from all the meta-analyses of morphological instruction and subsequent instructional studies points in the opposite direction. It shows particular benefits for younger (and less-able) students. Also, the greatest gains of morphological instruction Goodwin & Ahn (2010, 2013) found were for phonological outcomes.

While Claire's account focuses on morphological instruction, the Newsletter provides many examples of the othroghraphic inquiry of structured word inquiry that addresses the interrelation of morphology, etymology and phonology from the beginning of instruction. In particular, I focus on examples of the interrelation of morphology and phonology. We already have research evidence telling us that ww should be teaching morphology from the start. What we lack is examples of what this can look like.

This newsletters shares stories and images of learning with young students at Nueva and also from other schools in the Bay Area (San Francisco Friends School and Athena Academy) and links to examples from other schools around the world. This offers educators and researchers some models of what structured word inquiry instruction can look like in the earliest years. 

I also include list of links many sources for proffessional development in SWI and resources.

Just after publishing this Newsletter, I read the spectacular post "Comprehending Spelling"  by Sue Hegland at one of thse resources I point to -- her blog Learning about Spelling. I'm pasting a key paragraph from that article below to encourage you to read the rest of it. 

Sue writes:

There’s a lot of debate about the best way to teach students to read and write, including how to introduce the writing system to young students. For some reason, it’s assumed that showing students the actual structures of words and the ways in which the spelling of words reveals meaningful relationships to other words is too advanced or even unnecessary. So we teach students to analyze pronunciation, which is a moving target. As prefixes and suffixes are added to words, the pronunciation of those words constantly shifts. Meanwhile, the consistently spelled structures of those words are sitting right in front of us, ready to be used to anchor those pronunciations to something that is logical and coherent. The writing system itself shows us that analyzing written words provides the best foundation for learning written English.

Excellent food for thought!