The Writing Road To Reading

Spalding – Orton Method of Writing/Spelling into Reading

A Brain Based Approach

We are so excited to have instituted this excellent and, I think, THE BEST METHOD of learning to read, here at Montessori. It is the way that Maria Montessori taught reading. It is adapted to the English language. Montessori was Italian & this is the closest to her method I have yet to find.

An important point about the Spalding phonograms is that they are correct by modern linguistic standards. That is, the letters represent minimal speech units (phonemes), not blends.The program begins by teaching a set ofphoneme-letter units called phonograms. There are 71 of these, the letters of the alphabet plus some multiple-letter units like ea and ng. These particular phonograms were selected by Anna Gillingham for Samuel Orton, the famous neurologist who later also asked her to develop a method for teaching reading to dyslexics. Spalding uses a list of 1,700 words compiled by order of frequency. Over the course of spelling, children learn, by example, 29 rules. Given 71 phonograms & 29 rules, you can spell about 80% of English words, & a higher percentage of the most frequently used ones.

After 54 of the phonograms have been learned, instruction in spelling begins. Each child thus accumulates a personal list of hundreds of words for which the spelling has been worked our & repeatedly practiced.

When about 150 words are learned, reading begins. A major shock is that reading is never taught. It just begins!

They simply pick up a book and start reading! (It is, of course, a pretty exciting day.) They fly right over the basal readers with their impoverished vocabularies, & start in with good children`s literature — like Sendak`s Where the Wild Things Are. They also start right in thinking & reasoning about content.

 Parent Participation 

You will be involved in working with your child in this program of learning to read through writing! You will be taught along with your child, step by step, how to be a part of this process and those things you will be doing at home. Parent participation is vital to your child’s success!

You will find that through this process that your child will learn at an accelerated rate, giving you at the same time, an excellent way to know where your child is at all times in this process of learning. AND IT WILL BE FUN FOR THE BOTH OF YOU!


To learn more about the Writing Road to Reading: The Riggs Institute