Sequential Spelling is based on the classic Orton-Gillingham approach of multi-sensory instruction and follows the instructional focuses of Structured Literacy, including its focuses on phonology and sound-symbol association (our word families or rimes); syllable instruction and morphology. These last elements are introduced in our curriculum and then emphasized heavily in the follow on programs which we endorse (see Products We Love!). This allows children to learn inductively (just as they learned to walk and to talk) and to achieve what the authors of Structured Literacy call automaticity and we call mastery: the ability to process language so fluidly that it no longer presents a barrier to analytical thinking and comprehension.
Sequential Spelling do not believe there is just one way to teach any topic, including spelling. Children deserve to learn in the way that is easiest and most comfortable for them. The education of the young should never focus on the adults' goals or convenience but on the needs and abilities of the children.
This program closely aligns with the goals and methods of Structured Literacy. The most important elements of this program are:
- Language must be learned holistically; spelling, reading, grammar and writing all reinforce each other in learning and none can be slighted without weakening the others.
- Language must be learned in a multi-sensory environment, coordinating hearing with seeing, speech with writing.
- The goal of language instruction is mastery, what is called automaticity in Structured Literacy. Children need to develop their language skills to the point where decoding does not slow or hinder comprehension.
- Children cannot be expected to learn deductively, that is by being given abstract rules from which they are expected to extrapolate answers to new challenges.
- Instruction must be guided daily by an informed authority who reviews performance and adjusts.
- Learning of spelling is critical to a child's acquisition of literacy.
- Learning spelling improves a child's reading.
- Learning spelling builds a child's confidence for writing.
- Learning spelling builds vocabulary.
- The learning of grammar is crucial to the development of a child's ability to communicate in writing and reading.