I really like SWR. It was so frustrating the first year, but I have learned to love it. I am not an expert at it, but we are making progress. I like Mrs. Sanseri’s approach in that she explains why every word is spelled the way it is spelled. There are actually very few exceptions to rules in the English language! She encourages cursive first, which my kids have done beautifully with. She insists that phonograms be introduced from a young age, but not forced. She suggests that instead of teaching A, B, C, we should be introducing /t/ /r/ /ee/, sounding each phonogram individually. Her book is well laid out, very detailed, and takes some time getting used to her method. You may have to read over it a couple times before you really grasp what she is suggesting. Like I said, I am no expert, but we are making progress and it is very good progress. You can join their Yahoo! Group here.
How we use SWR:
For my oldest, I introduce an entire list each week. The days following the introduction are spent on mastery through playing games, suggested enrichment activities, worksheets that I have created, and review. By the fifth day of working on any given list, I quiz and hope for mastery. If too many word are missed, we stick with it. If only a few are missed, we will move on and continue to quiz the missed words until they are learned.
For my middle learner, I introduce five words each week. She is young and wants to learn, but I don’t want her to get frustrated so we’re starting off slow. We spend a lot of time reviewing phonogram sounds and writing them correctly. I have a set of work sheets for her and we play games to reinforce phonograms, rules, and spelling.
My youngest learner is not ready for much. I let him listen in on what he wants and encourage him when he seems interested. I start with the clock face letters and encourage the sound, not the letter name. One favorite activity is to make the phonogram with glue and sprinkle glitter over it and then retrace it after it has dried.
For help with the phonogram sounds try the following sites: