Structured Word Inquiry (SWI): An Introduction Workshop

Facilitator(s): Peter Bowers
Date:January 24, 2019
Time:9:00 am – 3:30 pm
(includes lunch, which is not prepared in a nut/gluten-free environment)
Location: Edmonton (ERLC Office at Elmwood School)
Room 17/18, 16325 - 83 Avenue
Google Map
Course code: 19-LI-338

Target Audience

Teachers and Literacy Consultants

Also Recommended For

School-based Administrators, Instructional/ Learning Coaches, District Leaders/Consultants

About this learning opportunity

This workshop is for teachers and tutors of any grade and ability. As an introductory session, teachers with no knowledge of SWI are welcome to join. However, any teachers who have worked with Dr. Bowers before will understand that the introductory day is extremely valuable to revisit for those who have already taken this course. On this day, you will be introduced the the basic underlying principles of how the surprisingly ordered English spelling system works. We will learn how to use the “4 questions of Structured Word Inquiry” to guide spelling investigations at any grade level and to understand the interrelation of morphology, etymology and phonology that drives English spelling. This hands on workshop will use lessons Dr. Bowers regularly uses in classrooms from pre-school to high school to help teachers get started investigating English spelling in their own teaching contexts. We will learn how to draw concepts and terms from content areas for these lessons - and thus see how SWI is leverage for learning content area vocabulary, learning to read and spell in any grade and deepening understanding of any subject area.

To attend the classroom-embedded session on January 23, 2018 that complements this session, click here.

This learning opportunity is being subsidized through funding from Alberta Education.

About the facilitator(s)

Peter Bowers, PhD is the founder of WordWorks Literacy Centre and a passionate educator/researcher from Wolfe Island in Ontario, Canada. Near the end of his 9th year as a classroom teacher he attended a 45 minute workshop by Real Spelling. For the rest of that year and the next he and his Grade 4 students became word scientists who rejoiced in making sense of making sense of the spelling-meaning connections of words. After seeing spelling transform from a frustratingly irregular system students had to memorize into a fascinating domain of scientific inquiry, Pete started graduate work at the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON to test the effect of this instruction. He has earned his PhD and since published a meta-analysis of research (Bowers, Kirby, & Deacon, 2010) which showed that teaching about the morphological structure of English spelling benefits elementary students and even more noteworthy -- counter to decades of untested assumptions -- , this instruction brings the largest benefits to younger and less able students. Since 2006, as the founder of the WordWorks Literacy Centre, Peter has worked with teachers and students around the globe to help them bring scientific inquiry about the written word, “structured word inquiry (SWI)” (Bowers, & Kirby, 2010) to classrooms from preschool up.