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Introduction to Structured Word Inquiry

$69 lifetime access

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Course overview

Structured Word Inquiry (SWI) is an instructional approach that aims to deepen students’ understanding of the English language by examining the structure and history of words. Unlike traditional phonics-based methods that focus primarily on teaching letter-sound correspondences, SWI delves into the morphology, etymology, and orthography of words to uncover their underlying patterns and meanings.

This course took place in May 2023 via Zoom and was presented by Kimberly Sclarsky Downey.


This course provided the link between Barton and SWI Nicole Reardon | Certified Barton tutor

After tutoring with the Barton Reading and Spelling System for quite a few years, I was ready to increase my knowledge about English orthography. I branched out to Structured Word Inquiry (SWI) and found it fascinating. I wanted to keep teaching my dyslexic students using Barton while also being able to explain a bit more about how spelling works. Kimberly’s course provided the link between Barton and SWI that I was looking for. She gave tips on which lessons it was worth extending the information for our students and ideas for supplementary resources. I highly recommend the course!

A brilliant, interactive, and easy-to-follow course Kathleen van Every | Certified Barton tutor

I had some questions after dipping my toe into Structured Word Inquiry (SWI) as to whether it would be useful with Barton and if so, how to integrate it. Kimberly Sclarsky Downey offered a brilliant, interactive and easy to follow course which I participated in. I highly recommend attending if you are curious about words and better ways to help your students all while keeping fidelity with Barton.

I highly recommend Helena Svanström | Certified Barton tutor

I found this course really helpful and I am looking forward to learning more and improving. One of my students enjoys finding exceptions to all the rules I teach him. This is so helpful - I can now explain some of those words. In the past I have been guilty of explaining some of the words as just weirdos. I won’t do that anymore.

Course details

Welcome introductions

Meet Kimberly and the attendees.

Module One
  • The word that started it all.
  • Defining terms
  • Challenges with O-G
  • Syllable types and syllable division
Module Two
  • Spelling instruction
  • More on syllable division 
Module Three
  • Are these words really irregular?
  • The ‘red-letter’ method
  • Homophones: a great resource
  • Examples from Levels 3-6
Module Four
  • An example from Level 8
  • Q&A

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The Read Write Spell Right tutor community is a private forum, rooted primarily in the Barton tutoring experience, offering a neutral space to explore new ways to support dyslexia remediation with open and welcoming discussions. With a focus on high standards, respectful discussions, and easy navigation, members benefit from research updates and book discussions. Membership also comes with early access to future training courses, exclusive discounts and bonuses. All new members benefit from an initial seven-day free trial.

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