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Classical Christian
Homeschooling Online Catalog: Orthography of Grammar Curriculum

This page last revised:
June 2003


of Grammar: Grades 1-2

Using the Online Catalog

Orthography is the study of the elementary sounds, letters and syllables of English; it is the first study of English grammar which includes the study of letters (orthography); the study of words which are made of letters (etymology); and the study of sentences, which are made of words (syntax). The study of orthography entails phonics instruction for learning to read and spell, and writing letter forms and penmanship.

Before beginning orthography instruction, CCH highly recommends parents read and study the teacher’s resource The ABC’s and All Their Tricks by Margaret M. Bishop, in particular the introductory essays on the regular phonetics of English (pages 1 through 66), and also the appendices on syllables, and syllables, stress, and word structure. This information will help you, as the teacher of English, understand why English is the way it is in its phonics and spelling, and this understanding is necessary if you are to impart the same to your children. Can you use the resources below without The ABC’s and All Their Tricks? Yes. However, I do feel you will not be as effective as you could be, especially when applying phonics to spelling, the most effective method of learning to spell by syllables.

Click to order Writing Road to ReadingWriting Road to Reading
Romalda Bishop Spalding, Mary E. North, Editor

Subtitled: The Spalding method for teaching speech, spelling, writing, and reading. This is CCH’s top (and now only) recommendation to teach orthography: phonics and the phonograms for reading, writing, and spelling, to children. The Spalding Method is a total language arts approach that has been used by teachers and parents for nearly fifty years to teach millions of students to spell, write, and read. Now completely re-written and fully updated to reflect the latest research on how children learn language, this newest edition is easier to use than ever -- it eliminates the need for the additional teacher’s manual which was so necessary for the 4th edition.

The Spalding method is based on the phonetics research of Dr. Samuel T. Orton, on which most modern scientific-approach phonics instruction is also based. The Spalding method integrates phonics, reading, penmanship, and spelling instruction together. Bound into the book are the seventy phonogram cards designed to be detached and used for instruction and drill. A recording of the phonograms is also included, to ensure correct pronunciation. The Spalding Method helps train the right and left sides of the brain as children learn the phonograms while writing them, seeing them, reading them, and hearing them spoken. This ensures that no matter what type of learner your child is -- auditory, visual, or kinesthetic -- the Spaulding method will work for him. The program is so well-designed that dyslexia is often arrested before it has a chance to become established.

It is cost-effective and efficient; students use pencils, paper, and their minds. The results are stunning: Children learn to connect speech sounds to print and begin to write and read almost magically. The Writing Road to Reading (WRTR) teaches parents and educators how to teach the writing forms to our children, thus eliminating the need for a penmanship workbook. The child can go straight from WRTR to copybook. The penmanship instruction for teaching letter formation is the best I have ever seen. WRTR can also be used for all six years of spelling instruction in the grammar stage, without an additional spelling curriculum. This is the only grammar curriculum needed for 1st and 2nd grades, or for any child (or adult) at any age who needs remedial reading, writing, or spelling instruction.

The Spalding method is the proven, research-based method that has helped millions of children for more than forty years. Decades of implementation by reading specialists has confirmed the effectiveness of the Spalding method for all learning types. Romalda Bishop Spalding, a graduate of Columbia University, developed her method using principles learned from the eminent neurologist Dr. Samuel T. Orton and her experiences teaching children with language problems at Harvard Children’s Hospital and public and private schools.

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The 5th edition of The Writing Road to Reading teaches the phonograms for reading, writing (penmanship), and spelling, as the 4th edition does. It also includes instruction for teaching some grammar, writing mechanics, composition, and literature comprehension and analysis, much of which is frankly, twaddle. These lessons may be skipped. To use The Writing Road to Reading to teach the phonograms for reading, writing (penmanship), and spelling, the strong suit of the Spalding method, use the following sections of the new 5th edition.

Chapter 1: The Spelling Lesson, gives an overview of the direct instruction the teacher provides the student to learn the sight, sound, and written form of each of the 70 phonograms, along with the language rules which apply to them. This is the backbone of the program. In the Spalding method, the child sees what the phonogram looks like and hears what sound it makes (the two skills necessary for reading) while writing the form of the phonogram and speaking its sound (the two skills necessary for spelling). All four of these actions -- seeing, hearing, writing, and speaking -- are taking place nearly concurrently.

In 1st grade, a child will learn, in this order:

  1. The first 26 phonograms (“a” through “z”), taught according to the outline on pages 16 (Overview for teaching the sounds and formation of letters) through 31 (Numbers). At the beginning of each day’s lesson, review the phonograms previously learned following the plan outlined on page 39 (Oral phonogram review). At the end of each day’s lesson, review the written phonograms learned so far following the plan outlined on pages 40-41 (Written phonogram review).
  2. The next 19 phonograms (phonograms 27 through 45, “sh” through “ea”), taught according to the outline beginning on page 16, just as phonograms 1-26 were. Review the previously learned phonograms both orally and in writing.
  3. Language and Spelling Rules, page one, rules 1 through 4, according to the lesson outlined on pages 53 (Teaching Language Rule Application) through 57. Don’t be afraid to teach these rules at a slower pace than WRTR indicates, if the child needs it.
  4. While teaching the page one language and spelling rules, teach your child the syllable, vowel, and consonant, and marking information on pages 46 through 48 in preparation for beginning the spelling lessons.
  5. Begin the spelling dictation according to the lesson outline on pages 50-51. As the children have learned the language and spelling rules through rule 4, you may dictate through the word, “you”. The Ayres word list begins on page 254. By the end of 1st grade, a child will have learned the words to mastery through section J, which ends with the word “toe”. You will not need to dictate more than a few words per day.
  6. The child has learned a lot of new material. Review the phonograms through 45, and the language and spelling rules through 4, daily, while the child is spelling the words through “you”.
  7. Language and Spelling Rules, page one, rules 5 through 7, taught like the model which was used to teach the first four rules. Teach these rules at your child’s own pace.
  8. Spelling dictation: the next word is “will” (page 256), which depends on spelling rule 17. Tuck this word away for now; we will come back to it when the children have learned spelling rule 17. Since children are not doing their own original composition at this point, this isn’t earth-shattering for them. Dictate the words “we” through “had” (page 259); tuck “old”; “all”; “may”; and “today” away for now.
  9. In teaching the odd spelling rules, rules 17 through 29 as needed for the Ayres list, this is where The ABC’s and All Their Tricks will really come in handy. WRTR lists rule 17 as “We often double l, f, and s following a single vowel at the end of a one-syllable word.” But it makes more sense to learn Mrs. Bishop’s rule:
    ff as in stiff, fluff, is used at the end of a root word right after a short vowel.” (This second part of the rule may be taught later, when these types of words are encountered in the Ayres list: “Use f at the end of a root right after a consonant (gulf), long vowels (loaf), or special vowel teams (roof).”)
    ll as in well, hill, is used at the end of a root word right after a short vowel.” (This second part of the rule may be taught later: “Use l at the end of a root right after a consonant (curl), long vowels (feel), and special vowel teams (tool).”)
    ss as in glass, dress, moss, is used at the end of a root word right after a short vowel.” (This second part of the rule may be taught later: “Use se at the end of a root right after a consonant (tense), long vowels (please), or special vowel teams (house).”)
    zz as in fizz, jazz, is used at the end of a root word right after a short vowel.” (This second part of the rule may be taught later: “Use ze at the end of a root right after a consonant (bronze), long vowels (breeze), or special vowel teams (gauze).”)
    Teaching the phonic spelling rules in this way allows children to see an easily learned and recognizable pattern, rather than just learning an oddity of English spelling.
  10. When children have shown mastery of the first 45 phonograms, continue teaching a few new phonograms per week, until they have learned all 70. Continue the oral and written review, while teaching the language and spelling rules, and dictating the spelling words.
  11. Continue the Language and Spelling Rules, pages two through six, teaching only enough of the rule as is needed for the words coming up in the Ayres list. Then continue dictating the spelling words in the Ayres list. You have the entire 1st grade year to teach through section J (page 281), so space out your pacing accordingly, planning on finishing with section J a few weeks before the end of the school year so a little time may be given to review. Continue the oral and written review of the 70 phonograms, with lots of reading practice so your child develops reading fluency.

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In 2nd grade, the same pattern is followed, reviewing the 70 phonograms, reviewing the language and spelling rules learned in 1st grade, and teaching the new language and spelling rules as needed for the Ayres list. Continue dictating the new words on the Ayres list, once a satisfactory review of the 1st grade material is completed. In 2nd grade, a child should master sections K through N (page 444). When the child seems comfortable with the pencil and paper, and is writing the letter forms easily, you may teach cursive writing, according to the outline given on pages 32 through 39.

Once children know all the phonograms for reading, and are reading fluently, and know all the letter forms for writing, and are copying without undue difficulty in their penmanship, then they may begin at anytime during the 2nd grade year the preliminary language work in Primary Language Lessons by Emma Serl. If they begin Serl’s sometime during the 2nd grade, their English lessons would look like: first, that day’s review and/or new work for practicing the phonograms for spelling in The Writing Road to Reading; then, spelling exercises; then, reading practice in their literature books; then, that day’s review or new work in Primary Language Lessons; and finally, penmanship practice in the copybook (if the lesson worked in Primary Language Lessons for that day was not a selection to be memorized or copied). If a child is not ready to begin Primary Language Lessons until 3rd grade, the formal beginning of etymology study, that is also okay. Children vary widely in their language abilities at this age, and parents have the freedom to tailor the curriculum to their individual children, by beginning Serl’s in 2nd grade if they are ready for it, or waiting till 3rd grade if not.

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Using the Online Catalog

This online catalog is made possible through an association with Barnes& Clicking on the book title or book cover will take you to Barnes&’s information page about that book. You can look at its price, availability, any discounts currently taken for that title, reviews of the book, and other information, as well as order it if you decide to purchase the book. You can even place books in your shopping cart and save them for purchase at a later time. You can continue to add or delete books from your shopping cart until you are satisfied with your order and ready to purchase. Clicking on any link to Barnes& will open a new window; to return to CCH, click on the “Window” menu on your browser’s menu bar, and choose Classical Christian Homeschooling.

Sometimes books go out of print, or the publisher runs out of stock. Any book not available from Barnes& for any reason can be searched using, a book shopping site which will scan Barnes& as well as, Powell’s Books, Book Close Outs and many other new and used book sites. Be sure to also check for out of print book searches.

Still have questions? Ask me!

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