Structured Word Inquiry

Structured Word Inquiry: Literacy and Subject Area Learning Through Scientific Inquiry about the Written Word

2 day event

Dates: TBD

Location: Winnipeg

Cost: $200 per registrant

** Discount for Registration if your school is chosen as the onsite location for modelling lessons with students. Please contact us for more details. **

We are offering an 'Introduction to Structured Word Inquiry'. Please click here for more details.

NO REFUNDS. If you want to transfer your ticket to another person, please contact us.

Structured Word Inquiry Peter Bowers, PhD - Instruction for building literacy & critical thinking for learners of all ages and abilities

In this 2-day workshop, you will learn more about the research behind this approach and will be provided with all the word inquiry tools needed to become master inquirers (online links, linguistic tools and etymological resources). You will have the opportunity to observe the presenter, Peter Bowers, teach model lessons.

For an introduction to this work, explore where you will find a wealth of resources, explanations, videos and other illustrations of structured word inquiry in action in K–12 classrooms.

For more information please click here.

About this learning opportunity

Wouldn’t it be great if English spelling made sense?

Surprisingly enough - when teachers and students use scientific inquiry to investigate the structures and conventions that link meaningfully related words, they come to see that it does make perfect sense!

Not only can investigating words build vocabulary, it provides an opportunity to make sense of possible pronunciations along with an understanding of why these different pronunciations make sense.

Not only is SWI a means of literacy instruction (vocabulary, reading and spelling), it is leverage for deepening understanding key terms and concepts of any subject area in schools around the world (preschool and up).

Consider the learning conveyed in this video by this Grade 7 student in a humanities class.

See this link for a document on ways to address words across grades and subject areas and links to many other SWI investigations linked to subject areas across the grades.

Structured word inquiry (SWI) (Bowers & Kirby, 2010) is NOT simply morphological instruction. Structured word inquiry is literacy instruction that uses scientific inquiry to build understanding. English orthography represents the meanings of words to speakers of the language through an interrelation of morphology, etymology and phonology. As Venezky (1999) explained, “English orthography is not a failed phonetic transcription system, invented out of madness or perversity. Instead, it is a more complex system that preserves bits of history (i.e., etymology), facilitates understanding, and also translates into sound” (p. 4).

** Discount for Registration if your school is chosen as the onsite location for modelling lessons with students. Please contact us for more details. **

“Structured word inquiry” Bowers and Kirby (2010) is literacy instruction that engages learners of all ages and abilities by making sense of our surprisingly logical spelling system. English spelling can only be understood through scientific investigation of the interrelationship of morphology (bases & affixes), etymology (historical influences) and orthographic phonology (grapheme-phoneme correspondences).

The evidence from multiple meta-analyses is that morphological instruction brings literacy benefits for learners in general, but in particular for less able and younger students.

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.