On February 12, all lower and middle division teachers participated in Structured Word Inquiry (SWI) Training as part of their in-service. The workshop in SWI (also called Scientific Word Investigation) was hosted by Rebecca Loveless, an expert SWI coach. The goals of the training were to help faculty participants become better spelling teachers and better equipped to help students understand the etymology (origins) and morphology (structure) of words.

At the heart of SWI is a belief that spelling is so logical that it is best understood through scientific inquiry. During SWI training, teachers learned that students should first approach words they are trying to spell by asking what they mean, rather than how they sound. Then they should explore the word’s history, which helps give them insight into its roots. Once a word’s meaning and origins are known, it becomes much easier to spell—which is helpful when a word is not easily “sounded out.”

Kathleen Bitter, Stevenson’s Lower and Middle Division Learning Resource Coordinator, explains the benefits of SWI saying, “By understanding the interrelationship of morphology, etymology and phonology, hidden connections between words rise to the surface to amaze and delight us.” She added, “The day was enjoyable and educational for all participants. RLS teachers are actively beginning to weave scientific word investigation into their classroom curricula.”

Ultimately, utilizing SWI at RLS is helping students improve spelling skills and inspire a deeper appreciation for the English language.

You can learn more about Rebecca Loveless and SWI Training here.