Last year Julie [not her real name] piloted the Riggs Institute's Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking curriculum in her 2nd grade classroom as well as in an after-school tutoring program for children who were struggling in grades 3-5.
When I am asked to observe in classrooms, I sometimes see children writing on lines that are spaced an inch or more apart. Since writing large letters does not develop the fine motor skills that are necessary for efficient writing, and since doing that may lead to additional problems (see below), the use of appropriate sized lines is one of the first things we discuss.
Humans are born with the capacity to learn almost any skill.
After Riggs students can write and read 55 (of 71) spelling patterns (taught in the first few weeks of instruction), they start applying these patterns to the spelling of whole English words. As they begin to analyze about six words per day, their teachers introduce them to the rules that govern the spellings and pronunciations of English words (see below for the 47 rules taught).
Derived from the experiences of master teachers and the findings of Dr.
We often get calls from new-to-Riggs teachers who are surprised by the pace of our curriculum. A kindergarten teacher, who had attended one of our recent workshops under protest [not recommended], recently called to question the speed at which students can master our content. I listened. She said that her students, who had been in school for 60 days, had only gotten to lesson 10, and she said that none of them were really mastering any of the content.
When Oma Riggs (for whom the Riggs Institute was named) stumbled across Romalda Spalding's Writing Road to Reading in 1959, she was looking for something to help the students who were failing in her first-grade classroom. There were always a few, she’d noticed, year after year--a handful of kids who "just didn't get it." This bothered Oma Riggs.
Last week I heard from a group of first-grade teachers who had recently been told that the Riggs Institute’s Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking curriculum--which they were considering as a replacement for their current program--requires two-and-a-half hours of instructional time per day.