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.
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.
I recently read the following advice on a kindergarten teacher’s website:
As your child brings home writing for the first time, do not be surprised at the spelling. The English language is confusing to children. Premature insistence that students use standardized or “correct” spelling inhibits their desire and ability to write. We will use “temporary spelling” in our work.
Teaching the Riggs Institute’s comprehensive, coherent language arts program requires a significant time commitment. When Riggs teachers first learn that they will be devoting about 2.5 hours a day to the teaching of language arts, they sometimes (often) panic. Yikes! How can they teach Riggs for 2.5 hours a day? And where will they get 2.5 hours per day? And so on.
We often get calls from teachers who are working with older students who are struggling. Can we help increase reading scores? Of course. But reading is not the only thing. Many students struggle because they can neither read, write, or spell proficiently. Many of them struggle with basic processing skills, struggle to stay in their seats and pay attention.
When Myrna McCulloch began to work with her teachers to implement this method at a little private school in Omaha, Nebraska in 1977, she worried about getting everything just right. Although her teachers had received the recommended 40-hours of training from Oma Riggs herself, McCulloch still worried. Because she wanted her teachers to do a perfect job, she worried and worried.