“I confirm that Lewis has now completed Stareway to Spelling and his spelling age has gone up by 4 years as a result.”

SENCO at a junior school in Essex – May 2012

Stareway to Spelling

Stareway To Spelling will teach anyone aged 7 or upwards who cannot recall the correct spelling of common words, or who confuses words such as 'were' and 'where'. Often these people can remember spelling test lists in the short term, but cannot write effectively because they soon forget the correct spelling.

The carefully constructed methods within Stareway To Spelling ensure that the 300 most used words can be committed to long-term memory and recalled at will by the student. These words cover three-quarters of all that we read and write, giving students the confidence to tackle writing on any subject and providing them with the strategies required to continue improving their spelling generally.

Each spelling section is preceded by reading tests and exercises that ensure that the student can read these words before the spelling procedures are started. This can reinforce the confidence of weak readers, and is useful in its own right, or as part of a teaching plan involving Toe By Toe.

As with all Keda Cowling's literacy manuals, Stareway To Spelling is a complete self-contained teaching aid that can be used by qualified teachers or by classroom assistants, parents or indeed any literate associate. Precise instructions, developed during years of classroom research, ensure that progressive improvement can be achieved at an early stage.

By the end of the manual the student will have strengthened the link between sight and sound, which is vital for the correct recall of words for spelling. Functional literacy achieved in this way will ensure that the student has the the foundation for achieving Key Stage 2 Level 4.

The rest of the pages within this part of the website are taken directly from the Introduction to Stareway To Spelling. They explain the reasoning and some of the methodology behind the manual. They should give you sufficient information to decide if this book is suitable for your children or students.

   


We have prepared alternative lesson plans for use with Stareway To Spelling:-

 

Lesson Schedule A is designed for weaker students with severe spelling problems who tend to make a lot of errors when tested. This schedule covers the Most Used Words in blocks of 50 words.

 

Lesson Schedule B deals with the Most Used Words in blocks of 100. It is suitable for stronger students who make fewer errors. As spelling is taught in groups of 8 words at a time, it is necessary to test these students with a larger number of words.

Lesson Schedule A

Lesson Schedule B


"It is February 2009 and my son has completed Stareway to Spelling. This book is yet another GREAT contribution to my dyspraxic (and dyslexic) son's learning.

The words included in the book have made his (and our) life easier. Now he can write emails and type very easily and has stopped making simple (and embarrassing) mistakes. As English is not our first language here in Pakistan, therefore, I recommend all parents in Non English speaking countries to give it a try."

Dr Unwar Aswan – Medical doctor and parent, Pakistan - Feb. 2009
 

"My son is about to finish the Stareway to Spelling programme, and we are delighted with the difference it has made to him.  It has given us the structure we needed to support him, and has taught him an effective method of learning spellings.  The 'before and after' sections at the beginning of each block are a great way to show him how he has improved.  We have been using it in conjunction with Toe by Toe, and can see great improvements in both his spelling and his reading (especially the confidence he now has to sound out unknown words).  I frequently recommend your books to other frustrated parents!"

Tracy Schofield, Parent, Kent

“I have been using Stareway to Spelling with one of my pupils this year.  I have found it so helpful.  Since September 2006 his spelling age has increased from 7 years to 8 years 3 months.  (He is 10 years old).  We have not finished the course yet, but hope to very soon.  He really enjoys doing it, especially when he gets to check his spellings himself…  It has completely changed his attitude to spelling”

Carolyn Bennett, Special Needs teacher, Republic of Ireland

Stareway to Spelling F.A.Q.s
 

1.   How old do students need to be before commencing Stareway to Spelling ?

2.   How long does it take to complete Stareway to Spelling ?

3.   Can Stareway to Spelling be used at the same time as Toe by Toe ?

4.   Can Stareway to Spelling be used at the same time as Stride Ahead ?

5.   Why do students have to spell words correctly on 5 separate occasions?

6.   Do words need to go through the RAWS process 5 times to obtain 5 ticks?

7.   How do words gain 5 ticks on the 'Control Page' ?

8.   After testing Most Used Words (MUW) 1-50, there are less than 8 negatives on the Control Page.  What do I do next?

9.   When should I introduce the Paired Words?

10. Will Stareway to Spelling improve my child's handwriting?

 

1.  1.  How old do students need to be before commencing Stareway to Spelling ?

Answer:  Stareway to Spelling is suitable for students aged 7 and upwards.

2.  2.  How long does it take to complete Stareway to Spelling ?

Answer:   It is difficult to be specific.  So much depends on the severity of the student’s spelling problems together with the frequency of lessons.  As a rough estimate, on the basis of four 20-minute lessons per week, most students will complete the manual within six months.

3.  3.  Can Stareway to Spelling be used at the same time as Toe by Toe ?

Answer:   Both manuals can be used in the same lesson though we recommend alternating between a reading lesson one day and a spelling lesson on the next.  Alternatively, some people prefer to finish or partially complete Toe by Toe before starting Stareway.

4.  4.  Can Stareway to Spelling be used at the same time as Stride Ahead ? 

Answer:  Again, both manuals can be used in the same lesson though we recommend alternating between a reading lesson one day and a spelling lesson on the next.  Alternatively, some people prefer to finish or partially complete Stride Ahead before starting Stareway.

5.  5.  Why do students have to spell words correctly on 5 separate occasions?

Answer:   Our aim is to establish high frequency words in the long-term memory.  Just because a student spells a word correctly on one occasion does not guarantee that it will be known the next time.  However, years of our research have established that if a student is able to spell a word successfully on FIVE consecutive occasions – with a gap of at least 24 hours between testing – this indicates that it has been stored in long-term memory.

6.  6.  Do words need to go through the RAWS process 5 times to obtain 5 ticks?

Answer:  No.  Those words that have been spelt incorrectly (“negatives”) need only go through the RAWS on one occasion provided that students are afterwards able to spell the words correctly on 5 consecutive occasions (see above).  In practice, however, some negatives will go through RAWS once whilst others may need to go through the procedure many times.

7.  How do words gain 5 ticks on the 'Control Page' ?

Answer:  After a gap of at least 24 hours since they were last marked, any words on the Control page that don’t have 5 consecutive ticks should be tested and marked with a tick or a dot.  Forgotten words go back through RAWS.  Do not test words which have a dot in the last column or remain unmarked.  They must go through RAWS first.

 8.  If after testing Most Used Words (MUW) 1-50, there are less than 8 negatives on the Control Page.  What do I do next?

Answer:  Students with less severe problems will make fewer errors among the early MUW.  Consequently the steps on Page 17 should be applied to MUW 1-100.  If however, there are still less than 8 negatives on the Control Page the students should be tested on MUW 101-150 etc until there are a sufficient number of negatives to take through RAWS.  Alternatively, students could take the Diagnostic Test (Page 80) which has been carefully constructed with repetition of those words which commonly cause the most problems.  Any negatives could then be written on the spare Control Page (Page 59)

9.  When should I introduce the Paired Words?

Answer:  Once tutors feel confident about following the RAWS procedure and marking the Control Page, it is time to introduce the paired words. Before starting, tutors should read the instructions on Pages 60-63 describing how RAWS is adapted to include these particular pairs of words.  Please don’t be tempted to ignore them.  Confusion surrounding these words is extremely common and is often the main area of weakness for those students with less severe problems.

10.  Will Stareway to Spelling improve my child's handwriting?

As for handwriting, we do not have any resource that specifically targets the fine motor skills involved in handwriting.  However, we often find that children's writing skills do improve as they gain confidence in their own abilities and - in particular - their spelling skills.  It is sometimes (often...?) the case that children write illegibly as a coping strategy.  They are fully aware that they are 'hopeless' at spelling and do not want other people to see the fact.  Our spelling book, Stareway to Spelling, works on the spelling of high frequency words and there are several examples at the start of the book of a child's writing 'before' and 'after'.  As you will see, the improvement is dramatic despite the fact that the child's handwriting problems have never actually been worked on.