Websites with related resources


1)  Real Spelling

Real Spelling provided my introduction to the structure and purpose of English Spelling. The Real Spelling Tool Box 2 remains the most comprehensive and rigorously accurate linguistic reference I know about English spelling. I describe Real Spelling as a kind of “encyclopedia” for how English
spelling works. As such, it is an invaluable tool for teachers.

  1. - For more on Real Spelling and the relationship between that resource and WordWorks, click here.

  2. - For a short piece explaining what it mean to say that Real Spelling is not a program click here.


2) Real Spellers

This exciting brand new website was created by Matt Berman, an elementary teacher at the prestigious Nueva School in the San Francisco Bay Area (Of 34,000 private schools in the US, it was recently one of only  50 to be named as a “Blue Ribbon School”). Matt participated in one of our 2010 3-day summer courses. Ever since, he has been on fire deepening his understanding of the spelling/meaning connection of words with his students. He recently published a blog on this topic to support teachers working with Real Spelling and WordWorks. Here is the description Matt offers about his site on his homepage:

This site is for users, teachers, and students of the Real Spelling™ toolbox. While Real Spelling has given permission for us to have this site, it is in no way affiliated with, or endorsed by, Real Spelling™. This site is created by you, its registered users, and will only be as good as you make it. So, log in and contribute!

Real Spelling posts from teachers, students and parents have become regular highlights of my WW Newsletters and workshops.  For example, I regular highlight what I learned from this Real Spellers post by a 12 year old student through is investigation of <investigate> on the Word Microscope.


3) LEX (Linguist-Educator Exchange)

Gina Cooke started publishing this excellent blog this year. On top of her training as a linguist and an Orton-Gillingham trainer, Gina Cooke has also attended our summer course, a number of my workshops at Learning Centres in the US and she has participated in the Real Spelling Residential Study Week in France. Gina’s expertise as a linguist and an educator offers readers of her blog a rare and special resource. Read Gina’s description of her blog here.
Copyright Susan and Peter Bowers 2008

4) Word Searcher

This free tool created by Neil Ramsden is invaluable for scientific inquiry about the spelling system. It allows the user collect data banks of words based on letter sequences. My teacher resource book and workshops feature lessons on how teachers use the Word Searcher to create their own lessons investigating any word or spelling convention. Click here for some examples or here for an e-book I created on using the Word Searcher. It is difficult to overemphasize how important this tool is for teachers teaching structured word inquiry.

5) Word Microscope

(Note: Learn about the new revised version, including an example investigation here)

This new tool facilitates morphological investigations in many ways. The most immediately appealing feature for many students and teachers is that it allows users to type word sums for a set of words with a common base, and at the push of a button, turn those word sums into a matrix.

Teachers love that it also keeps a log of a user’s investigation that can be printed, saved and revisited and revised at any time. We have made the current version free for use so that we can get feedback from users for how to improve it before we move to a version that will be for sale. You can see many examples of the learning supported by this tool at the “Matrices Forum” at Real Spellers.

Click here to read more about this resource and to learn how you can download your own copy. For the moment it is still available only in the PC platform. Once the first commercial version is available, we will work to create a version for Mac users as well!


Neil Ramsden’s website: Word Building and Spelling experiments in English Morphology

It is worth noting that the Word Searcher and the Word Microscope are just two of the tools for learners of English spelling that spring from Neil Ramsden’s website. At this link you will also find excellent interactive suffix checkers and other goodies that I highly recommend for teachers trying to refine their understanding of English spelling and how to teach it in the classroom. Explore!