Romalda Spalding was a teacher of teachers. Early in her
life, through her work with pediatricians, she realized how
holistic and integrated langauge is. With her medical
knowledge of how the brain accesses information, she
realized that language was best taught in an integrated form
that connected hearing to writing to speech. Research has
proven that her method works and for decades students –
disabled and otherwise – and their teachers have benefited
from her writings.
The Writing Road to Reading, now in its fifth edition, is
geared to the professional teacher, especially those whose
students might be contending with learning disabilities.
Lessons range from basic phonics and scripting to reading
comprehension, and composition. Therefore, the book is
helpful for all students in all grades. In addition, it can
be used by home-schooling parents and by parents of disabled
The book deals with the rationales, debates and research
into communication, education, learning, child development
and cognitive skills. Clinicians, therapists and educators
will delve into these debates and objectives in this
exhaustingly-researched instruction packed-book, but many
parents will bypass the research and philosophy and advance
to the strategies, instructions and activities. For the
parent who wants practical, hands-on techniques for reading,
writing and speech, this is a treasure-trove of word lists,
techniques, procedures, applications, instructional
materials and lessons.
The sections on spelling and speech are especially helpful,
with their instructional tips and cross-referenced rules. A
child whose teacher or parent uses all of Spalding's
instructional materials, procedures and word lists will not
only know all the rules of the English language but will
probably become quite good at speaking and decoding English.
Each section teaches the parts and structure of the whole.
Therefore the section which shows the procedures and
materials for reading teaches such building blocks as verbs,
modeling mental action, characters and topics, among others.
The writing section teaches -- depending on the student's
grade -- such concepts as cursives, narrative, parts of
speech, dialogue, and composition.
The activities are designed to work within the educational
setting, and the book is therefore a curricula full of
lesson plans to aid the teacher. As one reads through its
copious pages, one realizes why this book is called a
"method". Whether or not the now-deceased Romalda Spalding
would have wanted students to slavishly follow her word
lists – and I don't think she distrusts the intelligence of
the average teacher – The Writing Road to Reading sometimes
seems to leave very little to a teacher's own personal
style. For instance, Spalding or her editor gives a helpful
list of recommended children's literature to read – from
beginning readers to the sixth grade – after each vocabulary
section has been accomplished. The children's book lists are
very helpful, but the more practiced teacher might feel free
to veer away from Spalding's methods and book list.
The book can be a help to all teachers. However, it
certainly is a help for new teachers who have not quite
figured out a successful technique or who might be at a
total loss about how to start. I highly recommend this book,
especially for teachers, speech therapists, special
education teachers, ESL teachers and parents of students