The Curriculum of the Steiner School - The Extra Lesson

Notes and Lesson Plans

Favorite Resources for SWI
updated April 11, 2024

The Word Collector

by Sonja Wimmer

I realized that the amount of information I had on SWI was getting overwhelming, and too much for one page, so I have created this page as an introduction.

For going deeper, here is my original page on The Extra Lesson: Structured Word Inquiry.

I firmly believe, having read a lot of Steiner, that SWI is completely compatible with Waldorf... in fact, it is so compatible that I believe Waldorf schools and homeschoolers will take up this movement before traditional public schools do. Public schools will then follow us when they see how much of an improvement this is on traditional spelling instruction, and how much it helps struggling students. Dyslexic students, in particular, thrive in Structured Word Inquiry.

And, did you know that Portland Waldorf School has a Structured Word Inquiry teacher on staff?


If you are new, here are some places to begin:

What Is Structured Word Inquiry? by Rebecca Loveless

Understanding SWI: "Structured Word Inquiry" or "Scientific Word Investigation" by Pete Bowers


Next, choose some online courses to take. Pete, Rebecca, and Fiona are wonderful and very accessible resources when you are starting out. Gina and Michel are excellent for going deeper.

If you are looking for online courses for Structured Word Inquiry,
you have several wonderful options from expert educators around the world!

RealSpelling Spellinars:

The WordWorks Literacy Centre:
"Nothing motivates learning like understanding"


Blogs from awesome people in the field of SWI:

For the homeschooling family, or a brand-new classroom teacher, I suggest a level 1 investment of

    an introductory course with Pete, Rebecca, or Fiona


    either Pete's book Teaching How the Written Word Works


    a set of the Truer Words cards by Emily O'Connor (there are four to choose from).

    These resources take you through every step of the four questions. Simply choose a word that they've already given you explorations for. It helps to have examples!

    Note: Emily's decks are not something you "complete" in any certain order, so choose the deck of cards that looks most interesting to you! She also offers a short online course with suggestions of how she uses these cards with her tutoring students.

I then suggest a level 2 investment of

There is no end to the levels so take as much continuing coursework as you want! I promise once you realize that the English spelling system makes sense, you'll be hooked and you'll want to learn as much as you can, so that you can make it accessible in your classroom for your students.

Books that would be great for SWI lessons:

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