The Spalding Method is a total language arts programme integrating spelling, writing, reading, an educational philosophy and a methodology.
The most important aspect for us as a school is the philosophy and methodology which underpin all the components of The Spalding Method. The philosophy is child centred and considers the physical and mental well-being of students as the primary concern. Setting high expectations for children and a self-improvement approach among the teachers are considered to be essential elements of the philosophy. The methodology puts an emphasis on explicit, interactive and multisensory instruction. The methodology is sequential and promotes high-level thinking. The language and writing skills are applied in the other subjects in the curriculum.
In the lower school, it aims to teach children to write, spell and read automatically, quickly and effectively. Using this method, pupils will write sentences and paragraphs correctly, which further up the school will lead to quality essays, creative writing and poetry etc. The programme enhances the children’s comprehension and retention of information, and promotes high level thinking by giving children the ability to reason out things for themselves. In short, high expectations and a desire for personal growth will be the basis for the daily lessons and practice.
For children to read, they first learn to spell and learn how the English language works. There are 70 symbols that represent the 45 common English speech sounds. These are called phonograms and through daily oral and written reviews, the children bring a high level of accuracy and fluency to their spelling. It is through spelling that children learn to write and read.
The children then move on to develop a basic vocabulary of the most frequently used words (called the Ayres words) by writing and spelling 1700 words listed in order of their frequency of use in the English language and covers practically every pattern of English spelling and speaking. This method is called spelling dictation and becomes a daily practice in class once children are familiar with the first 45 phonograms.
Having quickly gained these skills and thus the confidence to continue their learning, the children are guided in their writing of sentences and later paragraphs and passages. Writing is essential because it reinforces word meanings and knowledge of how the English language works. Creativity also improves with the Spalding Method because the children’s minds are free to concentrate on the message rather than their handwriting and spelling, which they have confidence and fluency in from their daily practice. At the same time, the children are continually being presented with quality literature through the teacher reading these stories to the class and later from their own reading. The children are actually taught how to think while they read for meaning. Comprehension is essential because it fosters a love of reading.
The Spalding Method is a comprehensive and precise method that enables children to become fluent, accurate readers with a high level of comprehension. This flows over into all areas of learning so children have not only a love of reading but a love of learning which is our ultimate goal!