What is Structured Word Inquiry?

The goal of Structured Word Inquiry (SWI)  is to deepen understanding, improve spelling, word recognition, and vocabulary. It starts with a question about a word. 

For example, “Why is there a “g” in “sign”? 

Students investigate “sign” guided by the 4 questions of Structured Word Inquiry(SWI) (Bowers & Kirby, 2010): 

1. What is the meaning? 2. Who are its relatives? 3.How is it built? 4. How is the pronunciation represented?

Using tools that include a lexical word matrix, word sums, and a phoneme chart, students would come to an understanding that “sign” is spelled with a “g” to show the meaningful connection between sign and other words in the family which include signal, signature, and resignation. The “g” is there for a reason.

Structured Word Inquiry is a student-centered, multi-sensory and based on how our orthographic system actually functions. Students learn to “spell-out loud” and represent each morphological element of a written word through auditory, visual and kinesthetic activities. Unlike traditional spelling approaches, SWI provides students with the tools to guide their own investigations. It asks students to “dig deeper” and explore new questions that arise during investigations and share what they’ve learned with others.

I’ve created 3 short videos below to give teachers and parents an overview of a Word Quest, which is an investigation of a word using the principles of SWI. Here is my FREE PDF with additional resources. Feel free to contact me at mona@monavoelkel.com to schedule a class.

Word Quest 1

Why is there an "o" in "love"?

Think spelling doesn't make sense? Let's investigate using the 4 questions of Structured Word Inquiry (Bowers & Kirby, 2010)!

Why is there an "O" in "love"?

Word Quest 1
"LOVE"

WORD Quest 2

Why is there a "K" in KNIGHT?

Think spelling doesn't make sense? Let's investigate using the 4 questions of Structured Word Inquiry (Bowers & Kirby, 2010)!

Why is there a "K" in Knight?

"KNIGHT"

Word Quest 3

Why is there a "G" in SiGN?

Think spelling doesn't make sense? Let's investigate using the 4 questions of Structured Word Inquiry (Bowers & Kirby, 2010)!

Why is there a "G" in "SIGN"?

"SIGN"

Have a Question?

Need more information about Word Quest? Contact me at mona@monavoelkel.com

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