Julia Retires from UA Southeast!

I fully retired as of the Fall 2019 Semester.  You are welcome to review and use the site postings, which will no longer be updated.  

My thanks and respect to you, the professional educator, for continually striving to learn more about how to help your students grow as readers and writers, thinkers and problem-solvers.   

WordWorks Literacy Centre – Structured Word Inquiry (“scientific word investigation”), SWI.

Peter Bowers’ website is a remarkable resource for teaching yourself and your students how meaning and spelling relate.

Develop routines, and strategies to use “the principles of scientific inquiry as the basis of word level literacy instruction.”


The following are the standard four questions used to guide SWI investigations.

Investigate with these 4 questions…

  1. What does the word mean?

2. How is it built? 

Can you identify any bases or affixes with a word sum?

3. What other related words can you think of? 

Morphological relations: Can the Word Searcher help you find words that could join your word on a matrix?

Etymological relations: Can a word origin dictionary (e.g. Etymonline) help you?

4. What are the sounds that matter? 

What grapheme/phoneme correspondences can you find that fit within your hypothesized morphemes?

Learn more at:

or http://www.wordworkskingston.com

   Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

This site is a fork of the astonishingly deep and rich Real Spelling™ toolbox, and of Pete Bowers’ seminal work in bringing this understanding of English orthography to teachers at WordWorks Literacy Centre. Real Spelling and Pascal Mira hold the copyright to all of the Real Spelling materials, videos, podcasts, and texts. Pete holds the copyright to all of his articles, materials, videos, anything else he posts or allows to be posted here. Individual members own their own submissions. Matt Berman, the Webmaster, owns nothing except the website and its design, and any of his own postings. This site’s content is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license, which means that you are free to share, copy, distribute, transmit and adapt the content for noncommercial purposes, with attributionContact the Webmaster.

Family Storytelling

https://www.languagemagazine.com/family-storytelling/The power of oral language and story for children’s literacy development is crucial for teachers to know and use.

Nile Stanley and Brett Dillingham offer a powerful parenting strategy for developing intellect, language, literacy, and values


Digital Storytelling:  

Here are more ideas from Stanley and Dillingham related to digital storytelling:


International Literacy Association makes, The Case for Children’s Rights to Read

See also, for application to teaching: https://www.literacyworldwide.org/docs/default-source/communications/literacy-today/literacy-today-rights-to-read.pdf

Differentiating for student engagement and success is first a mindset

Click on the link below to open this brief video from Education Week,  showing how to begin thinking about and providing differentiated opportunities for your students!


Teaching Close Reading & Visual Thinking Skills

— using Photo & 8 Min. Films from the New York Times  and The Learning Network:


10 Intriguing Photographs to Teach Close Reading and Visual Thinking Skills

8 Compelling Mini-Documentaries to Teach Close Reading and Critical Thinking Skills



Setting Up Independent Work So You Can Meet 0ne-On-One with Students


Some ideas for motivating student engagement

ILA Choice Reading Lists: Children’s Choices, Teachers’ Choices & Young Adults’ Choices


Helping Students Do Research in the Stacks, by Sarah Cooper.

So how do we turn students into the indefatigable history detectives we’d like them to be? They are used to trying different search terms on a screen, but when it comes to wandering the stacks, sometimes they don’t know where to begin.
The steps below may seem obvious. But they weren’t all obvious to me until students asked the same questions over and over, sending me to help them shoulder-to-shoulder in the stacks.