Keeping an Eye on the Spelling Process As Students Grow: An Institute for Coaches on the Challenges of Composing and Editing for Our Youngest Writers

Three Saturdays: February 27, March 6, and March 13, 2021
Institute will be offered virtually through Zoom.

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Grade: K-2 Coaches
Hours: 11am-5pm Eastern Standard Time
Featuring: Christine Holley with Valerie Geschwind
Payment: Purchase orders for this institute can be made out to: Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, 525 W 120th Street, Box 77, New York, NY 10027

When we study a student’s writing, we glimpse a child’s understanding of the ways words work, of spelling, of phonics. But what next? How are we ensuring that students are developing and improving as spellers over time? Coaches are uniquely positioned to look across their schools to see the ways kids’ spelling—and teachers’ spelling instruction—progresses across each year and across each grade. This institute will empower coaches to approach spelling development and spelling instruction with new fervor, ensuring that every student’s word construction ability grows as they do.

We’ll start by studying how phonics, phonological awareness, spelling strategies, and the use of high-frequency words can progress across grades. You’ll study these progressions alongside clear examples from student writing of how each skill can develop. Grounded in these understandings, we’ll teach you how to analyze student writing from a range of writers so that you can help teachers see patterns indicative of understandings and misconceptions that students might hold. We’ll also share some quick assessments that direct teachers to next steps for instruction and some simple ways of tracking this data and students’ spelling growth.

You’ll learn how to help teachers weave their phonics into authentic writing practices. We’ll demonstrate ways to help students get words on the page—to say words slowly, to segment and blend words in order to hear more sounds within them. You’ll also hear about the ways to help students transfer what they’ve learned in phonics to their writing, helping them represent the sounds they hear in words and expecting them to represent those sounds with increasing complexity over time.

Expect to tackle editing as well—ways to help students hold themselves accountable for applying what they know about spelling to their own writing before they publish it. You’ll learn how to help teachers think of editing as a skill that develops across grade-levels, so that each year, students take on rereading and fixing up their writing with greater depth. Of course, we’ll also help you bring a healthy dose of joy and playfulness into the teaching of editing, which is too often not appreciated for the fun, satisfying part of the writing process it can be.

You’ll leave the institute with rigorous, practical, and exciting ideas for professional development that will inspire your teachers to teach spelling strategically. We’ll plan for both lab sites and meetings that will help your teachers develop a deeper understanding of assessing and planning for their students. We’ll also provide a vision of the whole-class, small group, and conference methods that will support students’ spelling growth.


$650/$600 NYC DOE


This institute will be offered online, in real-time via Zoom, and will not be recorded for later distribution. We will accept attendees until the institute has reached capacity.