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Spelling Connections

Cross-Train the Brain with Spelling Connections

Spelling Connections is a K–8 spelling curriculum founded upon over 30 years of research. It's effective; instead of relying solely on memorization or a single strategy like word sorting, Spelling Connections incorporates multiple strategies for teaching spelling, not simply assigning it, in just 15 minutes of instruction per day.

Spelling Connections Provides Complete,
Explicit Instruction That:

Cross-trains the brain to connect spelling with thinking, phonics or vocabulary, reading, and writing.
Is based upon a blend of
phonics and whole
language philosophies.
Incorporates research-based learning
techniques such as self-testing,
self-evaluation, and the
word study method.
Includes diagnostic,
formative, and summative
assessments to monitor
and is the only
program to assess for transfer of
spelling knowledge to
unfamiliar words.
Delivers meaningful
differentiated instruction
and practice for on-, below-,
and above-level students

and four levels of English
language learners.
Integrates technology and online tools, like the new Spelling Tutor and eResources Center, for engaging spelling instruction and practice.
Utilizes a three- or five-day plan with everything you need to differentiate instruction.

Spelling: A Fundamental Building
Block of Literacy

Research in the last 20 years has uncovered valuable insights into the positive impact spelling has on reading and writing. But recognizing spelling as a key component of literacy development is just the first step. To truly teach spelling, schools need more than the memorization-only approach in basal reading programs, or a DIY curriculum made of free online resources that lack credibility. To effectively coach young spellers, schools need an explicit, research-based program that goes beyond memorizing a weekly word list.

"We conducted the most thorough word analysis ever accomplished to develop the lists in Spelling Connections. In all, 22 published word lists and vocabulary studies were analyzed."
- J. Richard Gentry, Ph.D., author of Spelling Connections

Evaluate the Program for Your Class

Want to evaluate Spelling Connections for your
classroom or school? Request a sample for Grades K-8.

About the Author

"Give spelling the consideration it deserves and put effective spelling instruction back into your curriculum.
With Spelling Connections, your students will be prepared for twenty-first century literacy success that translates beyond the classroom."

J. Richard Gentry, Ph.D.
Spelling Connections Author

Dr. J. Richard Gentry, a nationally acclaimed expert in literacy with particular research focus in spelling and beginning reading development, began his career as a classroom teacher. He earned his Ph.D. in reading education from the University of Virginia and served as professor of elementary education and reading at Western Carolina University.

Dr. Gentry's research, writing, and extensive work with students and teachers for over thirty years have had a powerful impact on promoting literacy. In addition to writing popular books such as The Science of Spelling, Spel...Is a Four-Letter Word, Teaching Kids to Spell, Breakthrough in Beginning Reading and Writing, and Raising Confident Readers, Dr. Gentry conducts workshops that have helped thousands of school districts adopt better practices for spelling instruction.

Watch video of Dr. Gentry answering questions from teachers and parents about spelling instruction.

Core Materials

Student Edition and Student Edition eBook provide comprehensive daily spelling practice by connecting spelling to thinking, phonics/ vocabulary, reading, and writing through engaging exercises and activities. The new Spelling Tutor featured throughout the Student Edition is a fun, interactive way for students to study spelling words using a mobile device.

With the Student Edition eBook (available for Grades 1–8), you can

  • create and save notes.
  • highlight text.
  • search for words or phrases.
  • use with interactive whiteboard.

Teacher Edition and Teacher Edition eBook include step-by-step lesson plans, weekly test options, and activities for daily differentiated instruction.

Great for at-home planning, the Teacher Edition eBook (available for Grades 1–8) allows you to

  • create and save notes.
  • highlight text.
  • search for words or phrases.

Teacher Resource Package (available for Grades 1–8),includes Teacher Resource Book for Differentiated Instruction, Standardized Test Masters, Spelling Support for English Language Learners, and online access to Audio Conversations for English Language Learners and Audio Posttest Sentences. Game Mats (English version) also included in Grades 1–6 Teacher Resource Packages.

eResources Center features online printable, projectable, and audio materials for program users:

  • Word Sort Cards
  • Audio Posttest Sentences
  • Audio Conversations for English Language Learners
  • Correlations
  • Spelling Tutor QR Code Blackline Masters
  • Alphabet and Picture Cards and Phonemic Awareness Activities (for Grade 1 only)

Access to eResources Center is included with purchase of Spelling Connections.


Support Materials

Spelling Support for English Language Learners offers vocabulary practice and teaching strategies to accelerate English Language Learners' language acquisition. Available for Grades 1–8.

Standardized Test Masters includes instructional unit tests for all differentiated word lists. A variety of standardized test formats provide valuable practice for high-stakes tests. Available for Grades 1–8

Teacher Resource Book for Differentiated Instruction provides reproducible materials that support the program’s differentiated instruction. Also includes Home/School Spelling Practice letters in English and Spanish. Available for Grades 1–8

Audio Posttest Sentences CDs contains weekly posttest dictation sentences for all differentiated word lists in every unit. Use to support English Language Learners and to administer the weekly spelling test. Available for Grades 1–8

Flip Folders provide students immediate feedback to correct mistakes as they learn correct spellings. This study tool makes practice easy and fun! Pack of 5

Game Mats provide fun, hands-on spelling practice and are perfect for partner and center work. Pack of 3 games. Available in English and Spanish for Grades 1–6

Spelling Research: A Guide to Curriculum Planning contains the most recent independent research about spelling and spelling instruction. 244 pages. Softcover
ABC Poem and Picture Charts for Kindergarten presents each letter of the alphabet in both picture and poem format. Flip chart includes clear acetate overlays. Oversized, 20" x 30"


Interactive Whiteboard Resources

Digital Resources for Spelling Connections offers interactive whiteboard activities to enhance teaching and learning. These whole- or small-group activities allow you to introduce the spelling concept, guide practice, and invite students to the interactive whiteboard to participate in exciting games and activities that connect spelling instruction to thinking, vocabulary/phonics, reading, and writing.

Here are just a few of the things you can do:

  • Model and practice key spelling concepts using interactive word sorts.
  • Differentiate instruction using the differentiated word lists from each unit.
  • Reinforce visual learning to increase recall with meaningful, hands-on proofreading practice.
  • Prepare the whole class for the weekly test with a spelling bee.
  • Use the Digital Dictionary to obtain definitions and examples of usage for all words in the program.


Program Resources

Reinforce the instruction found in this effective spelling curriculum with exciting, grade-level appropriate online games and hands-on activities.

Scope & Sequence

View the Scope and Sequence for Spelling Connections Grades K-8.

Grade K | Grade 1 | Grade 2 | Grade 3 | Grade 4 |

Grade 5 | Grade 6 | Grade 7 | Grade 8


Best Practices in Spelling Instruction

In this audio series, Dr. J. Richard Gentry gives you ideas you can use immediately in your classroom to help your students become proficient spellers. Topics include Word Sorting, Flip Folders, Test–Study–Test Method, and Pattern-Based Spelling Instruction.

Common Core State Standards Alignment for ©2012

See how Spelling Connections aligns to the Common Core State Standards ©2012 for Grades K-8.

Grade K | Grade 1 | Grade 2 | Grade 3 | Grade 4 |

Grade 5 | Grade 6 | Grade 7 | Grade 8

Flip Folder Study Technique

The Flip Folder Study Technique incorporates visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile procedures for learning correct spelling. Download the directions for making and using Flip Folders, including a useful Flip Folder practice master.


 Sample What's Inside Grade Level
Student Edition
Teacher Edition
eTeacher Edition
Digital Resources for Spelling Connections
Spelling Connections Online Games
Standardized Test Master Book
On Level
Below Level  
Above Level  
English Language Learners Support Book
Teacher Resource Book for Differentiated Instruction
On Level
Below Level  
Above Level


Jun 3
New brain research suggests that both orthographic long-term memory and orthographic working memory need to be fully developed and interacting properly to achieve spelling proficiency.
Jan 27
Spelling Connections author and respected literacy expert, J. Richard Gentry, Ph.D., reports on the latest cognitive and education research into spelling’s role in reading and writing development as well as other foundational research for the Spelling Connections program.
Aug 14
During the late 1980s and early 1990s there was a de-emphasis on focused spelling instruction in American schools. In their enthusiasm for more holistic approaches, many educators believed that learning to spell would happen "naturally" if students had wide experiences in reading and writing.
Aug 14
Students who are self-regulated learners set goals for themselves and then independently plan, manage, and evaluate what it takes to reach their goals.
Aug 14
Zaner-Bloser editor Marytherese Croarkin met with spelling expert J. Richard Gentry in Texas to discuss issues in spelling education.
Aug 14
Spelling Connections (c)2016 Bibliography
Aug 14
Research showing that Spelling Connections provides differentiated instruction based on ELL levels.
Aug 14
Excerpts from Literacy Work Stations: Making Centers Work by Debbie Diller
Aug 13
A research white paper by J. Richard Gentry, Ph.D., and Steve Graham, Ed.D., re-posted with permission from Saperstein Associates
Jun 20
From affecting literacy to influencing credibility, experts explain why spelling skills are essential.
Jun 19
Zaner-Bloser has updated its popular spelling program, Spelling Connections, with expanded technology tools.

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