Copyright Susan and Peter Bowers 2008

My evolving practice and learning through

“spelling-out-loud” and “writing-out-loud”

I have been refining my practice of “spelling-out-loud” and  “writing-out-loud” since I encountered Real Spelling in 2001. I addressed this process in the morphological  intervention study (Bowers & Kirby, 2010) that introduced the term “structured word inquiry.” Below you can see a screen shot of a document with a diagram I created as a worked example of the process of spelling-out-loud. The original document has been on my website and a regular feature of my workshops since 2011. I have just revised that document (May 25, 2018) and am posting it at THIS LINK.  You can see a screen shot of one of the diagrams in that document below.


When I first began using and adapting practices for spelling-out-loud that I saw in Real Spelling I was thinking about it in terms of a useful way to help students focus on the orthographic structures of words in general and especially in the context of working with word sums. Over time I realized that it was an especially important aspect of building teacher’s orthographic learning.

For year’s now I’ve wanted to revise the document I put together as a kind of diagram explaining this process for each of the three suffixing changes (replacing final, non-syllabic <e>s, doubling final, single consonants and replacing <y> with <i>). My language with those conventions has evolved with my learning, so I needed that document (linked above) to reflect that change. As my understanding of what is behind this practice has grown, I also needed to rework my introduction to the process.

I am attaching a new 5-page document that attempts to give some more detail on the process, some of my reasoning behind the practice and ways I see it benefit the learning of teachers and students. You can download that document HERE. See a screen shot of the first page below.


A key point you will see in that document is that while I have developed my own conventions for spelling-out-loud and writing-out-loud, there is no adaption of the word sum. In fact a prime motive of my conventions for how to work with the word sum is to facilitate a precise use of and attention to this long-established linguistic tool for analyzing morphological structure.

The following two videos of students working with word sums are directly addressed in the document linked above.








The two videos below are not addressed specifically in the document, but offer illustrations of me working with word sums in classrooms. Below left you see me writing-out-loud with word sums and a matrix on the <do> and <go> family in a lower school class. Below right you see me “typing-out-loud” as I introduce word sums and a matrix to kindergarten students for the first time.