WRTR for Reading Instruction: Curious?

in 1GRD, 2GRD, Manual Analysis, Phonics/Reading, WRTR

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I am!  A while back I got a 3GRD and 6GRD teacher’s manuals for a STEAL on Ebay. It was a revelation!  I totally understand what’s happening now.  But, I was really curious about how WRTR taught reading.  Aren’t you?  Just for heck?

Well, I found a public school site that posts their lesson plans! I trimmed out everything that wasn’t directly reading/writing/spelling instruction.  There’s no text structure and auditory comprehension stuff, though you can’t really cut that out of the Spalding reading plan, but I’ll explain that in a minute.

KGRD Spalding

WRTR kids read from memory, not sounding out. If you read the foreword to WRTR, the next to last page talks about how this system minimizes sounding out, which is a bad habit in reading, only to be used rarely. Isn’t that amazing?

Some people talk about Spalding taking longer to “kick in,” but I have seen no evidence of that.  I’ve seen that in methods that mimic the phonics instruction, but not the rest of the Spalding method.  It seems from the lesson plans and the videos, KGRD kids start choral reading books before the end of the first semester and continue gaining. And they’re not sounding out.  Choral reading doesn’t allow for that. Watch!  Here’s one where the kids are reading in Preschool.

So what’s going on?  Here’s the piece most people don’t seem to know.  After the introduction of a new word with markings and phonograms, that word is used in every language art activity for the rest of the week, or longer: oral composition, vocabulary training, parts of speech, kinds of writing, pronunciation, for everything in that classroom. There is daily choral reading of the word lists for “reading” (whole word, no sounding out) and for “spelling” (sounding out.) Watch this Kindergarten video to see that, but start 3 minutes in so you don’t get bored.  Spalding kids are totally memorizing “whole words” for reading, but it is introduced and constantly supported by intensive phonics and rules. Memorizing whole words is only a weakness in an absence of intensive phonics and spelling rules.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Molly July 29, 2016

Well, I am totally LATE to getting to commenting here, it’s been on my mind and then life & moving interfered. This is super informative! I have to say, my assumption was in a traditional phonics (Spalding, or OR, etc.) system, the child was *supposed* to sound out the word in order to read. My assumption has probably come from statements like “the learner’s understanding of reading progresses from the parts to the whole…” (SB Introduction…although truthfully, nowhere does she explicitly state my assumption) and my subconscious mirroring of a culturally-popular program’s advertising (“Learn to read with Hooked on Phonics!”). So I admit to being floored by your assertion! And illuminated! Thank you! I will look at the lesson plans and see if I can be on the ball to use them. By school year start time. Mid-August. Ummm…..yeah maybe in a couple years, when the now-3.5 year old is ready!


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