with Pete Bowers

Nothing motivates learning like understanding!
Join educators from the Bay Area and beyond for engaging, practical, and active workshops that enable you to teach students how to read and spell through a structured inquiry approach. For the 2018 SWI Institute we are taking advantage of the expertise of Nueva teachers, who will share their own experiences in classrooms with the full group. Pick one of three options that best works for you:

Three Institute Options

  • 2-day Introductory Workshop: Mon. - Tues., June 18 - 19 ($500)
  • 3-day Advanced Workshop*: Wed. - Fri., June 20 - 22 ($750)
  • Full 5-day Workshop**: Mon, - Fri., June 18 - 22 ($1150)  For both novice or experienced participants.

*The 3-Day advanced workshop assumes knowledge from Part 1, or substantial experience with SWI. It is not recommended for novices to jump into Part 2 with little background.
**Full 5-day workshop is for novice or experienced participants.

Click to see a video of Nueva preschool teacher Carolee Fucigna investigating a morphological word family of the base <rain>

Part 2 includes presentations from several Nueva teachers. Carolee Fucigna (Pre-K) and Laraine Ray (Kindergarten) present a break-out session while Pete delves into activities for teachers of older students. Full group presentations will be led by Sam Modest, Erin Metcalf (Grades 2 and 3), and Karen Tiegel (Middle School). Also, current Nueva SWI Coach, Rebecca Loveless, will present a session on Real Script and offer expertise and guidance throughout the 5 days.

The feedback on last year’s sessions confirmed that this was a particularly rich aspect of the workshop. We will be sharing even more illustrations of student investigations this year.


Scenes from the 2016 SWI Summer Institute. Below, left: Nueva Grade 2 teacher Sam Modest presents on learning in his classroom. Below, right: teachers work together on orthographic investigations.

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Experience the same joy of understanding spelling that students around the world gain from scientific investigation of how the written word works to link families of words related in meaning. Click here to download the flyer.

Emily Kolatch, Nueva Head of Lower School on SWI

“I believe that work we’ve begun doing with Structured Word Inquiry is profound and revolutionary. I believe that it is relevant to educators who work in every discipline and with all age groups. I believe that it represents most accurately what we know about teaching and learning and enacts the core values held in our community.”

The above is taken from Emily’s short article on SWI at Nueva in the Nueva Journal. See her full article. Links to further SWI articles in that journal are below.

Forget memorization — focus on the joy of understanding
When we understand how to read and spell words like <does>, <know>, <sign>, <business>, <rough>, <scientific>, or <consciousness>  by exploring the conventions that drive these spellings and how spelling structures link words of related meaning, there is no need to memorize them. Systemic understanding is never about one thing at at time. In SWI we study words to make sense of the system — and thus we gain the knowledge to make sense of words we have not yet encountered.

Consider these statements from three different Grade 1 parents at Nueva:

“Thanks you all for fueling the curiosity and fun! you are making such a difference for us. I would never have dreamed that my kids would come home excited about spelling and investigating words. Seeing all their torn post-it notes making words they want to know more about makes me melt!”

“…[m]y son had a playdate after school… according to the nanny, the kids spent much of the time teaching her about Structured Word Inquiry.”

“Working on SWI can take you to infinity.”

These are responses to studying spelling.

Click HERE to see a reflection from a teacher whose first introduction to Real Spelling was at the 2016 Nueva Institute


See a classroom video of Peter teaching with these tools at the WordWorks YouTube page.

Jonathan Twigg, Primary School Assistant Principal – PYP Coordinator at International School of Lausanne says 

What I love about Pete's workshops is that he takes a room full of teachers and turns them into learners.

For more on the learning inspired by Pete's workshops see THIS LINK for a WordWorks newsletter. That same link brings you to a video of an excellent newsletter on Structured Word Inquiry. 

Background on the Nueva SWI Summer Institutes

journalCoverThe Nueva SWI Summer Institutes have become an annual part of Nueva’s summer institutes, along with their well known Design Thinking and Social Emotional Learning Institutes. These workshops have become central not only to the learning of Nueva teachers, but to the learning of the wider community.

Read an article on these SWI Summer Institutes from the latest Nueva Journal.

Click the links below for more articles on SWI in this Nueva Journal.

Structured Word Inquiry: Moving from Spelling to Critical Thinking
Investigating Calendar Roots
SWI in First Grade -- Hypothesizing <cardiovascular>

Peter Bowers, PhD, and founder of WordWorks Literacy Centre, is currently a visiting scholar at Nueva, supporting structured word inquiry from pre-school to high school. This Nueva Institute marks the culmination of his year working with teachers and students from pre-school to high school at Nueva. Take advantage of the studying about the learning going on at Nueva this year before Pete returns to his work as an independent consultant -- with his next workshops already booked in Melbourne, Bangkok and the UK in the fall!

Peter taught elementary school for 10 years. His research on the effects of morphological instruction has been published in top journals and he has worked with schools around the world. Pete shares this engaging approach by using inquiry-led classroom activities to clearly demonstrate how English spelling is actually a well-ordered system that does make sense.

Pete’s About WordWorks page has a lot of links for getting started and links to his published research including THIS accessible 4-page paper in the International Dyslexia Association journal.

To see the kind of learning currently going on at Nueva from the early years to Grade 11, visit THIS new Investigations forum on Real Spellers.