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Contact: Peter Bowers  PO Box 295 Wolfe Island, ON, Canada  K0H 2Y0

Phone: (613) 385-2084 

Email: wordworkskingston@gmail.com







































Copyright Susan and Peter Bowers 2008http://www.wordworkskingston.com/Site_46/WordWorks_Family_Update.html

Structured Word Inquiry:

(Scientific Word Investigation)

“Word Scientists” look for the deepest word structures that make sense of the greatest number of words.

Click HERE for background on SWI.

Marcia Henry on WordWorks:

“Pete & Sus Bowers are great ‘wordsters’ who provide teachers with an in-depth understanding of the English language.  Teachers can gain so much practical knowledge  from their teacher resource book, "Teaching How the Written Word Works" and their impressive and informative online WordWorks newsletter.  I'd love to attend one of their workshops!  Observing classrooms of teachers who have worked closely with WordWorks was a highlight of my visit to Kingston. Students were so involved and fascinated by investigating words. How fortunate they are to have wordsmiths like Sean Lonergan and Skot Caldwell as their teachers!”



Marcia Henry is past president of The International Dyslexia Association

and former director of the Center for Educational Research on Dyslexia at San Jose State University

 

sign + al → signal

re + sign → resign

de + sign + ate → designate

sign + ate/ + ure → signature

do + es → does

do + ne → done

do + ing → doing

go + es → goes

go + ne → gone

go + ing → going

Making sense of how words work by investigating morphology, etymology and phonology.

English base <sign> from Latin root signum

"mark, token, indication, symbol”


Applying the Principle of Backwards Design from UbD to Structured Word Inquiry

Click here for a WordWorks article on developing

enduring understandings of how the written word works.

"This article by Pete Bowers makes some interesting connections between UbD, Real Spelling and the development of critical thinking skills in students."

Bill and Ochan Powell - Education Across Frontiers

 

Resources for Spelling-Out and Writing-Out Word Structure with Word Sums

REVISED (May 25, 2018)

  1. BulletA free WW resource: “Spelling-Out Word Structure”

  2. Click here for information on spelling-out word sums including a free pdf guide for teachers who want to use this process for learning, instruction and assessment.

  3. BulletSpelling-Out Word Structure: Targeting Central Concepts, Assessment & Instruction

See a new article and video addressing these ideas all building on a practical lesson growing from a Grade 1 student’s question, “Why is their an <h> in school? You don’t hear it.”

Click here for a video of an on-line Skype session addressing this topic with Grade 2 teachers and an article addressing how this topic links to the UbD.

 

Must See Links


  1. BulletA New Hub for Research Related to SWI: Jeff Bowers’ Blog


Click HERE to go to a new blog by my brother Jeff Bowers, a cognitive scientist from the University of Bristol. We have written a number of recent articles related to SWI. You can find that work in this blog (and at the bottom of my About WordWorks page).

More importantly, Jeff does a great job of explaining the context of this research in his blog posts. I highly recommend exploring this page often, and adding your comments to the discussion!

  1. Bullet Scientific Word Investigations in the Classroom & Beyond

Click here for a video modeling ways to teach GPCs from the beginning of literacy instruction and a discussion of how this practice fits in the current literacy research on the crucial place of explicit instruction about grapheme-phoneme correspondences in structured word inquiry. This is a topic that is widely misunderstood and mischaracterized, especially by people who hear about SWI second hand. .

Click here for a video of Nueva pre-school teacher Carolee Fucigna as they create a morphological web on the base <rain>. See how straight froward it is to investigate morphological families with readers and non-readers. 

How can I start?

Click here for a post from Rebecca Loveless on “Word Bag Excitement” that offers teachers a sense of this excellent activity for studying word families modeled on Lyn Anderson’s work. This is a great reference for jumping in. Rebecca’s site has many more posts to explore too.






Click here for Mary Beth Steven’s brilliant recent post “Outer Beauty Attracts, but Inner Beauty Captivates.” This is a wonderful way to compare studying real “word families” compared to words that simply rhyme. Explore her whole blog!




Click here for an inspiring post, “Comprehending Spelling” from Sue Hegland’s excellent blog, “Learning About Spelling”. This is a short, accessible and eloquent case for why we should do the obvious -- teach our written word works.

 

Tools for making matrices

Free trial versions of matrix making software for morphological analysis available for download

Word Microscope: Tutorial Video & User’s Guide

Click here for a “User’s Guide” for working with this computer tool including links to tutorial films, complementary resources and links to related research. 



Video introducing the new “Mini Matrix Maker”


Watch this video to see how teachers and students can easily create matrices from word sums on Mac or PC computers with Neil Ramsden’s “Mini Matrix Maker”.


 

About WordWorks

See an introduction to WordWorks and Structured Word Inquiry

(including videos) here

Key Links

  1. BulletRelated Websites

  2. Real Spelling Tool Box 2

  3. Real Spellers

  4. Beyond the Word 

  5. (Lyn Anderson, AUS)

  6. LEX (Gina Cooke)

  7. Rebecca Loveless

  8. Mary Beth Stevens

  9. Language Innerviews (Scott Mills)

  10. Language Insights

  11. Word Torque (Fiona Hamilton, Bangkok)

  12. Learning About Spelling (Sue Hegland)

  13. Sound Literacy

  14. WW on YouTube

<s> /s/

E.g., sign, signal, assign


<s> /z/

E.g., design, resign,

does, goes

Explore Lyn Anderson’s excellent blog with illustrations and resources about structured word inquiry for all ages at this link .

Lyn has been developing her understanding and practice in this area for over a decade.  Her lessons and ideas  for morphological instruction from the start are just exceptional.

Structured Word Inquiry at

The Nueva School











Click HERE to see the page on the Nueva School website describing how Structured Word Inquiry has transformed the instruction at this top US private school. It includes a video illustrating how this work is integrated across the grades.

WordWorks Literacy Centre

Spelling it like it is!

Nothing motivates like understanding

Free, weekly open-ended on-line SWI sessions with Pete

(Mondays 5pm EST,  Tuesday Mornings Australia)

Recent articles on SWI and the Research & Extensive Interview


Structured Word Inquiry (SWI): Literacy instruction that makes sense of English spelling for students of all ages and abilities (Bowers. P, in press)

Click HERE for a pre-print of this article that will appear in the Patoss Summer 2022 Bulletin, vol 35, no 1. I think this is the shortest, most accessible article I have explaining the orthographic conventions addressed by SWI, and the place of SWI with regard to the theory and research on literacy instruction.

A promising new tool for literacy instruction: The morphological matrix (Ng, Bowers, P.N. & Bowers J. B., 2022)

Click HERE for a new article that is the first to investigate the role of the matrix. We show empirical evidence that presenting words in a base-centric model (the matrix) is more effective for memory than presenting words organized around affixes.

Structured Word Inquiry (SWI) Teaches Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondences More Explicitly Than Phonics Does: An open letter to Jennifer Buckingham and the reading research community

Given some serious mischaracterizations and misunderstandings about SWI in peer-reviewed research, I recently published an article on PsyArXiv that you can download HERE.

See this new 15-min video I made to clarify the qualitative difference between the teaching of grapheme-phoneme correspondences in Phonics and SWI.

Interview on SWI with Education Podcast ‘Pedagogy Non-Grata”

I was invited to do an interview to discuss the theory, practice and research of SWI on this podcast. The host was new to SWI which provided a rich opportunity to respond to the kinds of questions novices to this work typically have.  See Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE.  I recommend that you follow the links to videos of the interview as it is much more effective to describe orthographic conventions while looking the linguistic tools we use in SWI. Part 2 is divided into two videos -- the last one emphasizes the research.

 

This Newsletter points to the new article I published addressing misunderstandings and misrepresentations about SWI in the research (See more including abstract above.)

I point to rich new resources from Lyn Anderson and Ann Whiting (Caught in the Spell of Words)  for teachers/tutors working with SWI.

I also point to resources related to learning with the newly available Tool Box 2 that I highlighted in the previous WW Newsletter #100.

WordWorks Newsletters & Resources

Some gems from the WW archives!


WW Newsletter #101: The return of the Real Spelling Tool Box 2 and more!

   

Click HERE for this Newsletter.

Click HERE for an inspiring story from a tutor that illustrates the fact that far from inhibiting the learning of grapheme-phoneme correspondences, studying these conventions within the context of morphology is a necessary condition for making sense of how grapheme-phoneme correspondences work.



Revised <sign> Lesson in “Teaching How the Written Word Works”

I have posted a pdf at this link on Real Spellers with a revised <sign> lesson after learning that what I had presented as an <-ify> suffix can be analyzed further. That pdf shares the evidence that convinced me to make this change. I also use this learning experience to share a key feature about matrices and word sums.

Books printed after May 2013 already include the revised lesson. You know you have the revised version if you see on <ify> suffix on the <sign> lesson on page 8. Even if you have the revised version, I recommend you download this pdf to gain from the explanation that helped me understand why this revision was needed.

 

Click THIS LINK for details.

I began offering this free weekly session at the beginning of the COVID pandemic in an effort to ensure teachers and parents had a place to pose questions about SWI whether or not they could afford to attend more formal on-line courses.

The response has been so rewarding (and fun) that I’ve only missed a handful Mondays since the first session on March 23rd, 2020. I plan to continue indefinitely even once we are past the pandemic.

There is no sign up, just a regular date and time to join. Most weeks we simply address questions people bring. Some weeks we have a special guest, or planned investigation to share.  Every week has novices and experts who come to share their questions/experience, or just listen in.

Click THIIS LINK for a document reflecting on learning from the first session that is filled with links to free resources to build understanding of scientific word investigation.

Upcoming On-Line SWI Workshops with Pete Bowers

  1. 2-Session Spelling-out Orthography (2-hrs ea) 

  2. North Am: Sept 28 & Oct 5 (7:30 pm - 9:30 pm EST; 4:30 - 6:30 PST)

  3. Australia (Melbourne): Sept 29 (9:30 am - 11:30) & Oct 6 (10:30 am - 12:30 pm)

  4. (Note the different start times in Australia due to different dates for daylight savings times.)

  5. Cost: $90 USD. Click HERE for more info & registration


  6. A special 2-Session Teaching with the Tools of SWI Sept 28 & 29 (9 am - noon EST) hosted by Montreal Fluency ($160 CAD) (3-hrs ea) 

  7. Click HERE for a description of the content of this course. 

  8. Email me at <peterbowers1@mac.com> if you are interested in registering.


  9. Oct 1 & 8 2022 Fall Spelling Symposium hosted by the Dyslexia Institute (on-line)

  10. Click HERE for this exciting opportunity with presentations by myself, Sue Hegland, Rebecca Loveless, Fiona Hamilton and Lyn Anderson


  11. Oct 22 Full-day SWI Workshop in Oakland, California (My first in-person workshop since the pandemic!)

  12. A school for dyslexic students has just confirmed this public full-day in-person workshop. This is my first in person workshop since the pandemic. More details to come, but if this may interest you, please email me at <peterbowers1@mac.com> to reserve a spot or just inquire.


  13. 3-Session Teaching with the Tools of SWI (2-hrs ea) Organized by a school in Adelaide, Australia

  14. Australia (Adelaide): Tuesdays Oct 25, Nov 1, skip a week, Nov 15 (10 am -noon) North Am (EST Mondays Oct 24, 31 (7:30 pm-10:30 pm), Nov 14 (6:30 pm-9:30pm)

  15. (Different times for last session in North Am due to different daylight savings time.)

  16. Cost: $90 USD. Click HERE for a description of the content of the course.

  17. Email Pete <peterbowers1@mac.com> to inquire and registe

  18. Nov 18 & 19 Invited speaker and “master class” presenter at 2022 ASHA Annual Conference in New Orleans.

  19. I’m honoured to be an invited speaker at this major annual conference. I’m especially pleased to be able to also present both a standard talk and a hands-on “master class” on SWI theory research and practice in person. See the ASHA Conference website HERE


Consider these three messages below about the effect of my courses:


  1. My daughter is dyslexic and your course totally changed her life. After her tutor took your course, they both spent hours together breaking words apart and understanding how they work. They have so much fun doing this each session, and my daughter now reads full books at her grade-level! So Thank  you!

  2. I wish our classes did not have to end, I am learning so much and believe in this so much. I see my kids that I've been working with now finally understanding and reading and problem solving and having fun! I have so many stories and not enough time to tell them all, but every single one of them is positive and full of smiles!

The message below is in my latest WW Newsletter (more on that below) which shares stories of transformational learning from teachers very new to SWI. This one is from an SLP whose only support for SWI was my 5-Session General SWI course last March and a copy of my book.

  1. Hi Pete, I'm absolutely LOVING your book - Teaching How the Written Word Works! I've taught two of my more challenging clients how to be 'word scientists' and they've gotten soooo excited (after 1 session!). I could actually see the light bulbs turn on :D My younger client actually jumped out of his chair he was so excited-it was amazing!

  2. Today was the second session with my younger client and we started making hypotheses from our observations...He's excited to hear back from you... Btw, he's a pretty precocious 4th grader who's been really tired of learning how to spell, so you've completely changed his mind after 2 sessions!

Click HERE for a flyer on these up-coming courses and share widely!


Click THIS LINK for details about my on-line and in-person PD, fees etc. 

Click THIS LINK for descriptions of all my on-line courses.


The Dyslexia Training Institute (DTI) presents


See details and register HERE.

Here is how DTI describes this event:

This symposium brings together four experts in spelling. Together, they bring a range of experiences including classroom instruction and tutoring across ages and abilities, administration, teacher education, and research. The presenters have planned their workshops as an integrated series of sessions that build on their backgrounds and strengths. Both Saturdays will involve a mix of practical and conceptual topics: participants will engage in orthographic investigations that can be used in classrooms and tutoring sessions across the grades, complemented by presentations that unpack the theory behind those practices.


WW Newsletter #108: Special issue on how some teachers can have a transformational effect on students with their first attempts teaching SWI

Click HERE for this newsletter in which I look at specific stories from teachers and tutors and unpack how it is that they could have such an effect with minimal PD in SWI. I unpack what I see going on in these stories and how it fits with what we know from the research. I also include links to many free resources that will be of interest to both SWI novices and experts.


Two New “Must Have” Books for those interested in SWI / Real Spelling

Sue Hegland and Gail Venable are both experts in English orthography and brilliant educators with deep experience in Orton-Gillingham.  These books are very different, but complement each other wonderfully. On Amazon, each book has a generous amount of content in the “look inside” feature.

Click HERE for a link to Sue Hegland’s “Beneath the Surface of Words.”

Click HERE for a brilliant talk Sue did for the IDA titled “Morphology: Important from the beginning” that gives you a sense of how accessible and clearly she addresses this topic.

Click HERE for a link to a Real Spellers post in which Gail introduces the book and provides links to Amazon in many countries. Also see THIS POST describing the metaphor the image on the cover of her book provides for finding the beauty of English orthography hiding in plain sight - just below the surface.