Services- Training Seminar

Services- Training Seminar

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For The Surest Way to Teach The Skills Children Need Consider Our Training Seminars & This Information!

We assume that you are visiting our web site because of your interest in academic excellence. We appreciate that! Our finely sequenced basic skills method allows you to teach an entirely new program or to supplement your current literature- and composition-based programs for mainstreamed or remedial students of any age and virtually any ability levels. We address reading, speech, grammar and correct spelling in our curriculum [Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking (© McCulloch, Myrna T)] and in these seminars. 

In your first grade (or any) classroom, this complete phonics system is taught in four of the first nine weeks without any visual worksheets, pictures, key words or letter names. This is “explicit” phonics as defined and recommended in the 40/60–year compilation of federal research done by the nation’s leading reading professors, 1985’s Becoming a Nation of Readers (BNR). These experts included Dr. Richard Anderson, director of the used-to-be Center for the Study of Reading, University of Illinois, Champaign, and chair of this committee, who forgot to distribute this report to teachers, schools, colleges of education, State Departments of Education, publishers, and/or legislative bodies, thus it has had very little impact on how anyone “thinks” about teaching the reading, writing and spelling of English. I have it on excellent authority that he wanted to leave the phonics chapter out, but Dr. Jeanne Chall threatened an “Afterword “report” if he did, so it’s in there to no one’s particular advantage if they don’t have the report. The word explicit as used in this report is reading jargon; it is not the normal dictionary definition, either used as an adjective or an adverb, yet that is how it is mistakenly used, over and over, in all relevant documents such as NCLB, Reading First initiatives, state phonics statutes, etc. Legislators simply do not understand that the term to means “teaching the sound/symbol (phoneme/grapheme) relationships “in isolation” which is not done by any of the phonemic awareness programs. These relationships for speech and spelling should be taught to all students, just as we used to teach multiplication tables to give students a working body of information, up front and very personal, to their future academic well-being. They need a working body of information before they get into the intricacies of encoding and decoding. These seminars are your chance to learn what the alphabetic principle actually is, and how to teach it to 5 and 6-year- olds. The alphabetic principle, so often spoken of but never really defined, which would enable your students to speak and write at their first grade oral vocabulary levels (4,000 to 24,000 words according to researchers: Chall, Flesch and Seashore). The National Education Goals Report: Building a Nation of Learners, 1994 and 1998 reveal that 94 million American adults read and write at the two lowest of five levels of proficiency This equates to 51% of the entire adult population. How did this happen? Do you seriously believe that all of these people were brain deficient from conception or birth? We have proven otherwise. 

The phonemes of English speech have increased from (arguably) 40 – 46 to nearly 250 in all the dialects of English spoken worldwide while spelling patterns (the graphemes) are virtually unchanged. We can still communicate in writing across the world, so why do the current programs concentrate on just phonemic awareness, or the sounds of the letters of the alphabet (about 1/3 of the system needed to cover correct spelling) and call it phonics – and then take four years and a blizzard of worksheets to teach it. I happen to know the individual who does the printing of these worksheets for the half dozen publishers; however, he uses our program in his private school for his own children. Teachers, are also victims of this monopolistic system (kept in place by state textbook adoptions in Texas, California and 19 other states (see Ed Week archives, 3-23-05 “ for “Stop State Textbook Adoption.” [Update: As of 2/2015 there are still 19 states that are considered “adoption states” ). We all know who sets the standards, writes the state assessments and adoption criteria, don’t we? Who works with these publishers inside our Colleges of Education and State Departments? These are not the rank and file members of the International Reading Association (IRA), The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and The National Association for the Education of Young Children. These are the organization’s top level people who speak at all the conferences, get the research money and the top jobs. Register your protest of this obvious monopoly violation of federal anti-trust statutes, by learning the truth, which can, indeed, set you free as teachers and citizens. 

We are able to teach this information very rapidly because we use multi-sensory instruction that simultaneously engages students through four neurological pathways to the brain: visual, auditory, verbal and motor. This ensures that each individual’s learning style will be accommodated with one method (no need for separate and costly testing), and permits optimal cognitive development in attention, discrimination, association, and memory. We also use direct and Socratic instruction to: 

  • Get and maintain attention 
  • Conserve teacher and student time 
  • Teach analytical thinking skills 

Mnemonic devices and graphic organizers round out the important instructional techniques of this method –all of which can be used in other disciplines. In 1923, Dr. Samuel T. Orton had a distinct advantage over contemporary brain researchers in his collaboration with classroom teachers who were still being trained to teach the alphabetic principle – both the phonemes and graphemes needed for correct spelling. My mother was trained in the 1920’s and taught 32 children in all 8 grades in one room; classes were 5 minutes in duration. None of her students failed to learn to read. There were/are also some 47 rules of spelling, plurals and syllabication, use of apostrophes and capitalization that we also teach. In 1942, I learned real phonics from my gray-haired teacher and two spelling rules during 8 years of elementary and found out they were both wrong! About five years ago at the Harvard Brain Conference, I heard a very famous neuroscientist lecture an 850-person audience of teachers and school administrators. He said, “Here’s how to do phonics: On the overhead he wrote “buh” “aah” “tuh” – sounded it out and then pronounced bat. I nudged the teacher next to me and asked, “What do you think of that?” immediately she said, “What’s wrong with it?” I said, “Well, in this day and age 

of phonemic awareness, this speaker has just given us 5 sounds for a word that has only 3.” Not one person protested, but the lesson was clear: we should now learn phonics instruction from a neuroscientist who, through no fault of his own, doesn’t happen to know anything about the subject, and has not yet found anyone to ask as Dr. Orton did. My conclusions are drawn from my 30 years of experience, what I have learned of the history of phonics instruction, the alphabetic principle and in administering the use of an Orton-based program in a small, inner city school in 1977, 78, and 79. What happened to our class composite averages is shown in the line graph above. No child failed; they all excelled. See next paragraph. 

The Riggs Institute is a veteran, non-profit literacy agency vending both curriculum and in-service training seminars. 

Additional Materials

Overview with separate script or optional audio at “Downloads.” 

A 23-page Curriculum Evaluation Q & A found at 


Glossary of Terms 

The “Great Debate” / What phonics are we all discussing? What IS the alphabetic principle

Complete description of The Writing & Spelling Road to Reading & Thinking  and much more! 

Essential Consumable Student Materials: 

Dotted line paper, 1 blank composition notebook, red and black pencils 

(Note: Eliminating the cost of workbooks more than pays for the training, the non-consumable teacher materials (one set per teacher, per career for ??? students) and a couple of years of student materials)

The Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking Training Seminars

Direct, Socratic & Multi-Sensory Instruction to teach Explicit Phonics, Initial Letter Formation, Spelling w/47 Rules, Grammar, Vocabulary, Composition

We teach: 

  • The “explicit” phonetic structure of correct English spelling to produce both phonemic and graphemic awareness to render virtually all text both “decodable” and “encodable.” 
  • Letter formation to correct or prevent reversals, build cognition and enhance listening skills. 
  • How to apply 47 rules of spelling, syllabication, plurals, capitalization and apostrophes through a dictated, spelling-vocabulary list. 
  • How to manage teacher/student time efficiently using direct instruction and student-made resources. 
  • How to use brain-based multi-sensory instruction to accommodate all “learning styles.” 
  • How to make the neural connections in auditory, verbal, visual, and motor cognitive developmental to correct learning disorders and to provide for acceleration in the learning process. 
  • How to integrate reading, writing, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and composition basic skills for inclusion into any literature or composition-based program. 
  • How to effectively use on-going assessments of student progress to adjust instructional needs. 
  • How to acquire a higher “expectation” for potential student performance. 

Contact the Riggs Institute to register for a seminar at 605-693-4454 or 

Seminar price is $300.00/ attendee + Required materials price is $203.35, each attendee must have their own set of materials) Schools please inquire for group rates 

Required materials include

  • Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking Level 1 Teacher’s Manual 
  • Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking “Revised “Orton Phonogram Cards 
  • Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking Phonogram Sound CD 
  • Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking Student/Teacher Practice CD 
  • 3/8 Notebook, 10 sheets 3/8” paper, red pencil, Ruler 
  • Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking Training Manual 
  • McCall Harby + Key or one of the McCall Crabbs + Key 


Call or Email the Riggs Institute 605-693-4454; 

Registration Deadline: 

Twelve days ahead of each scheduled class unless materials are already owned. 

Hotel Accommodations: 

Attendee makes their own hotel accommodation reservations 

Required Pre-Study

To take this seminar, the materials on the next pages are required. The enrollee must own (not borrow) them, and must have them in time to spend 9 to 10 hours learning the first 55 Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking “Revised” Orton Phonograms, the techniques for teaching letter formation, and to study the first three chapters in the Level I Teacher’s Edition and finish the pre-study assessments on page 27 of the Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking Training Manual. This pre-study is easily done; our experience indicates its value in that trainees will realize approximately three times more from the formal training if they come to the seminar prepared to take full advantage of the modeling and guided practice we do for and with them.

© Riggs Institute