Today I am reviewing a fairly recently released (2014) book from the Learning By Design, Inc. team entitled SPELL-Links Strategies by Numbers. This 57 page instructional guide was created to support the implementation of the SPELL-Links to Reading and Writing Word Study Curriculum as well as to help students “use the SPELL-Links strategies anytime in any setting.’ (p. iii) Its purpose is to enable students to strategize their way to writing and reading rather than overrelying on memorization techniques.
SPELL-Links Strategies by Numbers contains in-depth explanations of SPELL-Links’ 14 strategies for spelling and reading, detailed instructions on how to teach the strategies during writing and reading activities, as well as helpful ideas for supporting students as they further acquire literacy skills. It can be used by a wide array of professionals including classroom teachers, speech-language pathologists, reading improvement teachers, learning disabilities teachers, aides, tutors, as well as parents for teaching word study lessons or as carryover and practice during reading and writing tasks.
The goal of the 14 strategies listed in the book is to build vocabulary, improve spelling, word decoding, reading fluency, and reading comprehension as well as improve students’ writing skills. While each strategy is presented in isolation under its own section, the end result is for students to fully integrate and apply multiple strategies when reading or writing.
Here’s the list of the 14 strategies in order of appearance as applied to spelling and reading:
- Sound It Out
- Check the Order
- Catch the Beat
- Listen Up
- A Little Stress Will Help This Mess
- No Fouls
- Play By the Rules
- Use Rhyme This Time
- Spell What You Mean and Mean What You Spell
- Be Smart About Word Parts
- Build on the Base
- Invite the Relatives
- Fix the Funny Stuff
- Look It Up
Each strategy includes highly detailed implementation instructions with students including pictorial support as well as both instructor and student guidance for practice at various levels during writing and reading tasks. At the end of the book all the strategies are succinctly summarized in handy table, which is also provided to the user separately as a double sided one page insert printed on reinforced paper to be used as a guide when the book is not handy.
There are a number of things I like about the book. Firstly, of course it is based on the latest research in reading, writing, and spelling. Secondly, clinicians can use it the absence of SPELL-Links to Reading and Writing Word Study Curriculum since the author’s purpose was to have the students “use the SPELL-Links strategies anytime in any setting.’ (p. iii). Thirdly, I love the fact that the book is based on the connectionist research model, which views spelling and reading as a “dynamic interplay of phonological, orthographic, and semantic knowledge.” (iii). Consequently, the listed strategies focus on simultaneously developing and strengthening phonological, orthographic, semantic and morphological knowledge during reading and writing tasks.
You can find this book for purchase on the Learning By Design, Inc. Store HERE. Finally, due to the generosity of Jan Wasowicz PhD the book’s author, you can enter my Rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance to win your own copy!