SPELL-Links combines explicit and direct instruction in word meaning, semantic relationships, and comprehension of written text with interactive listening and speaking activities that build vocabulary development and comprehension of spoken and written language throughout the SPELL-Links curriculum.
The curriculum (from the beginning) must include instruction in the comprehension of written language.
This includes grammar, sentence variation, and the mechanics of language.
SPELL-Links includes explicit instruction for developing knowledge and use of inflectional morphemes to express a variety of syntactical relationships including quantity and time, first person and third person, and noun-verb agreement. Sentence revisions, sentence variations, and editing written work for punctuation and capitalization are taught through structured oral and written language activities throughout the curriculum.
The curriculum must include the study of base words, roots, prefixes, and suffixes.
SPELL-Links features extensive instruction to develop students’ morphological awareness and knowledge of inflectional suffixes, derivational affixes, and word roots, and explicitly teaches students how to apply their knowledge of letter-meaning relationships, morphological rules, and semantic relationships to read and spell base words and multi-morphemic words in authentic reading and writing tasks.
Instruction must include teaching of the six basic syllable types in the English language: closed, VCe, open, consonant-le, r-controlled, and diphthong. Syllable division rules must be directly taught in relation to word structure.
Each of the six syllable types is explicitly addressed through in-depth study of orthographic and phonetic features of closed and open syllables, VCe syllables, vowel digraphs and diphthongs, and syllabic-r and syllabic-l vowel sounds. Students are explicitly and directly taught to map spoken syllables with their corresponding letter patterns. Syllable stress is explicitly taught in multi-syllabic words, with instruction systematically progressing from auditory discrimination and identification of syllable stress in spoken words to orthographic representation of unstressed vowel sounds in written words, to developing the robust mental graphemic images of unstressed vowels in words that are needed for accurate and fluent reading and writing. SPELL-Links explicitly teaches students how to recognize, manipulate, and use syllable structure and syllable stress to read and spell words.
To leverage the biological wiring of the brain, SPELL-Links organizes sound-symbol association instruction, at the base word level, by sound pattern. (In multi-morphemic words, instruction is organized by morphemes.) Students are explicitly taught how to simultaneously activate the phonological and orthographic processing centers of the brain when encoding and decoding words in order to develop efficient, integrated neural pathways (“functional connectivity”) needed for accurate and fluent reading and writing. Students are explicitly taught how to properly blend phonemes into words when decoding and how to simultaneously segment spoken words into individual phonemes as they write the corresponding letters.
Sound-symbol association must be taught and mastered in two directions: visual to auditory and auditory to visual. Additionally, students must master blending of sounds and letters into words as well as the segmenting of whole words into individual sounds.
Students develop their ability to discriminate, identify, segment, sequence, blend, and manipulate phonemes through extensive PA activities throughout the SPELL-Links curriculum. Students develop precise phonological representations of words through PA activities at the syllable, onset-rime, and phoneme levels. Students also develop their ability to discriminate and identify syllabic stress in spoken words. Students are explicitly taught how to activate and use their phonological representations of words when reading and writing.
Phonological awareness is the understanding of the internal linguistic structure of words. An important aspect of phonological awareness is phonemic awareness or the ability to segment words into their component sounds.
SPELL-Links explicitly teaches students how to use phonemic and phonological awareness, letter-sound relationships, and letter patterns and spelling rules to spell regular words; how to use letter-meaning relationships, morphological rules, syntax, and semantic relationships to spell inflected and derived forms; and how to develop mental graphemic representations (MGRs) of irregularly spelled words in long term memory. Instruction is provided at word, sentence, paragraph, and text passage levels.
Multisensory, structured language programs include both synthetic and analytic instruction. Synthetic instruction presents the parts of the language and then teaches how the parts work together to form a whole. Analytic instruction presents the whole and teaches how this can be broken down into its component parts.
SPELL-Links explicitly teaches students how to combine a variety of phonological, orthographic, and morphological units into words and how to analyze a whole word in order to identify its phonological, orthographic, and morphological properties. SPELL-Links explicitly teaches students a set of strategies for applying these synthetic and analytic word study skills to authentic reading and writing. Teachers use the SPELL-Links strategy monikers to prompt error analysis and error correction by the student, gradually fading prompts as the student analyzes and self-corrects his or her own decoding and encoding errors.
All levels of language are addressed, often in parallel, including sounds (phonemes) symbols (graphemes), meaningful word parts
(morphemes) word and phrase meanings (semantics) sentences (syntax), language passages (discourse) and the social uses of language pragmatics).
In-depth diagnostic assessment is conducted using the SPELL-2 software to identify a student’s specific learning needs and to create an individualized instructional plan. As the student progresses through the prescribed SPELL-Links lessons and activities, the teacher and student use a variety of SPELL-Links progress monitoring tools, including word lists for mastery measurement of decoding and encoding skills, to assess progress and to make appropriate adjustments. Students are expected to achieve mastery for each SPELL-Links activity and for each SPELL-Links lesson before progressing to the next.
The teacher must be adept at flexible or individualized teaching. The teaching plan is based on careful and continuous assessment of the individual’s needs. The content presented must be mastered step by step for the student to progress.
All concepts (declarative knowledge, procedural skills, and meta-linguistic strategies) are explicitly and directly taught within SPELL-Links’ many and varied interactive learning activities; teacher-student interaction is forefront and continuous throughout the SPELL-Links curriculum. Students are provided with immediate feedback; feedback is gradually faded until students meet performance criterion without assistance.
The inferential learning of any concept cannot be taken for granted. Multisensory language instruction requires direct teaching of all concepts with continuous student-teacher interaction.
Within a single SPELL-Links lesson, each concept is introduced and explicitly tied to previously-learned concepts. Words are repeated across activities within the lesson and presented again during authentic reading and writing activities at the end of the lesson to strengthen knowledge, skill, and application. Across SPELL-Links lessons, word lists (included) provide repeated exposure to previously learned patterns; pattern-loaded reading and writing activities at the end of each SPELL-Links lesson provide additional opportunity for cumulative review.
Each concept must also be based on those already learned. Concepts must be systematically reviewed to strengthen memory.
SPELL-Links’ sequence of instruction is based upon an extensive body of research across multiple disciplines regarding the development of spoken and written language skills, including phonetics and
the acquisition of speech, speech perception abilities, orthographic knowledge, morphological
knowledge and knowledge of semantic relationships, and the development, storage, and retrieval of mental graphemic representations of words in long term memory. The organizational sequence
leverages the universal, biological wiring of the brain. The sequence of word study instruction gradually and systematically progresses from the patterns that are perceptually, phonologically, orthographically, and morphologically most simple to those that are most complex.
Multisensory language instruction requires that the organization of material follows the logical order of language. The sequence must begin with the easiest and most basic concepts and progress methodically to more difficult materials.
Teaching uses all learning pathways in the brain (visual, auditory, kinesthetic‐tactile) simultaneously or sequentially in order to enhance memory and learning.
SPELL‐Links uses the connectionist word study model based on current research, including brain imaging studies, to develop neural pathways and “functional connectivity” of the regions of the brain involved in effective reading and writing. SPELL‐Links instruction is multi‐linguistic and multi‐modality (multi‐sensory). Across its writing, reading, spelling, and spoken language activities, SPELL‐Links explicitly teaches and develops the integration of phonology, orthography, and morphology using auditory, visual, tactile-kinesthetic inputs and oral and handwriting outputs.
Students with dyslexia and dysgraphia benefit greatly from SPELL/SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing instruction. Our products meet and exceed the recommendations of the International Dyslexia Association for an effective reading and language intervention program.
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