Research based. Results proven.

Improve K–12 student literacy and education outcomes by introducing a new paradigm of effective structured literacy instruction that produces effective writers and fluent readers with strong comprehension and rich vocabularies. 

The Science Behind the System

Building the Brain for Literacy

SPELL-Links uniquely applies clinical and neurobiological brain research, using speech-to-print word study instruction. Speech-to-print structured literacy instruction leverages the biological organization and wiring of the brain for oral language as the gateway to achieve reading, writing, and spelling success for all K–12 students.

Bringing the Research to You

Receive abstracts of new word study research when you connect with educators and researchers across multiple disciplines via SPELLTalk. This FREE online professional discussion group is dedicated to advancing educators’ understanding of current research and best practices in word study and structured literacy instruction.

Wired for Oral Language

Re-Wired for Written Language

Research & Results

​​​​SPELL-Links Outcome Data: The Impact of Transcription Writing Interventions for First-Grade Students (Reading & Writing Quarterly, 2017)​  In this study conducted by the Florida Center on Reading Research (FCRR), low-performing first grade students who received SPELL-Links intervention in small groups outperformed the control group with moderate effect sizes across different measures of spelling and curriculum-based writing.

Morphological Awareness Intervention with Kindergartners and 1st and 2nd Grade Students from Low Socioeconomic Status Homes: A Feasibility Study (Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in the Schools, 2013) This 9-week study examined the effect of morphological awareness intervention on the morphological awareness and literacy skills of students from low socio-economic status homes using a variety of intervention tasks including meta-linguistic analysis word relatives and manipulation of morphemes, methods featured in SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing. Results showed medium to very large clinically significant gains in morphological awareness and literacy abilities across all participants.

Morphological Awareness Intervention with Kindergartners and 1st and 2nd Grade Students from Low Socioeconomic Status Homes: A Small Efficacy Study (Journal of Learning Disabilities, 2013) This 8-week study examined the effect of morphological awareness intervention on the morphological awareness and reading skills of students from low socioeconomic status homes using a variety of intervention tasks including meta-linguistic analysis word relatives and manipulation of morphemes, methods featured in SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing. Students receiving intervention showed statistically significant gains in morphological awareness with large effect sizes on most measures.

Teaching Literacy Using a Multiple-Linguistic Word-Study Spelling Approach: A Systematic Review (EBP Briefs, 2009) A systematic review of the peer-reviewed quantitative research related to language and literacy outcomes in school-age children using a multiple-linguistic spelling instructional approach. Studies that used SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing activities are included in this review.

The Spelling Sensitivity Score: Representing Increases in Accuracy and Complexity (ASHA, 2009) The Spelling Sensitivity Score (SSS), based on the SPELL & SPELL-Links prescriptive and multi-linguistic word study model, represents what children’s spellings reveal about their word study knowledge and captures developmental changes in children’s literacy performance. 

​​Classroom Implementation of the Multi-linguistic Model for Literacy Instruction (ASHA, 2008) This three-year project examined the effects of the SPELL & SPELL-Links prescriptive and multi-linguistic word study model for grades 3–5. The project found that SPELL-Links improves nonsense and real word decoding, as well as spelling accuracy in writing samples. 

Criterion Validity of the Spelling Performance Evaluation for Language and Literacy – SPELL (ASHA, 2006) The criterion validity of SPELL spelling assessment software is established by its significant correlation with the Test of Written Spelling-4 and the Woodcock Diagnostic Reading Battery.

Outcomes Report: SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing (Language and Literacy Learning in Schools, 2004) Third and fourth grade students who received nine weeks of SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing word study and structured literacy instruction demonstrated large, statistically significant gains in spelling skills in comparison to students who received traditional spelling instruction.​

Outcomes Report: SPELL & SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing (Communication Disorders Quarterly, 2004) A fourth grade student showed significant gains in spelling and decoding skills after receiving the SPELL assessment and nine weeks of word study intervention using the structured literacy instruction methods of the SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing word study curriculum.​

Second Chances: Improving Decoding Skills in the Older Student (Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in the Schools, 1999) The assessment and intervention procedures used in SPELL-Links are examined in this 33-hour intervention case study with an adult college student. Post-intervention measures revealed significant improvement in word attack and word identification reading scores with percentile gains of 10 to 14 points and grade equivalent increases of 3 to 5 years across measures. Reading rate increased and error rate decreased, advancing the student from a difficult text to instructional text reading level.

For more research and publications about SPELL-Links, check Google Scholar.

Successes & Testimonials

SPELL-Links Assessment

SPELL-Links assessment will direct teachers toward…aspects of language and encourage the use of more enlightened instruction practices that truly educate students in word study. I am pleased to be among the first to appreciate the excellent work that has gone into this product, and I applaud the authors’ achievement.

SPELL-3...what an amazing assessment for students with dyslexia! The assessment creates an individualized intervention plan to improve a student's spelling and basic reading skills that many teachers would not have the time or necessary level of specialized training to develop on their own.

I administered the SPELL-3 for the first time recently. I had never administered the SPELL-2 because I was waiting for the MAC version. It was amazing to get the results so quickly. I used the information from the report to write my IEP goals and to "wow" the IEP team with my presentation! I can see how this will be a game changer and time saver, while adding value to my intervention.

I truly love the SPELL-3 because of all the reports it gives for easy lesson planning and valuable information to share with parents. Thank you for the organization that SPELL-3 gives us to teach our students at the level they’re at, so we can be efficient with the time we have, to build success.

The SPELL-Links assessment is critical to discovering the student’s exact needs, so you don’t waste time working on spelling patterns that the student doesn’t need. The curriculum is explicit and systematic and there are a lot of fun activities that the students enjoy.

SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing

In the NICHD-funded research on specific learning disabilities (SLDs) involving language that I directed as principal investigator for over 25 years (cross-sectional, longitudinal, genetic, brain imaging, and school- based and clinic- based interventions) our interdisciplinary team published evidence showing that not all reading disabilities are the same and not all writing disabilities are the same. Findings showed that dysgraphia (impaired letter production), dyslexia (impaired word decoding/reading and word encoding/spelling), and oral and written language learning disability (OWL LD; impaired syntactic skills for language by ear, mouth, eye, and/or hand) differed… yet all three SLDs benefit from spelling instruction as in SPELL-Links.

The curriculum is…amazing. I love that it has pattern-loaded writing and reading materials to go along with the lesson plans. I’m really blown away by the detail of these lessons. I’m trained in Orton Gillingham and I’ve dabbled in Words Their Way. Your SPELL-Links program is better than the two of these combined with a shot of steroids. It’s fabulous.

The best aspect of the SPELL-Links curriculum, in my opinion, was the incorporation of the 14 strategies for success. I appreciated having those repetitive phrases to use to remind the students what to do when faced with a challenging word (either to decode or encode). I even had some students who would remind their peers of the strategies if they were struggling. I also appreciated the relative flexibility of the SPELL-Links curriculum. It was easy to turn many of the lessons into games, which was essential in that final week when focus was scattered.

The activity that I feel had the most impact on student growth was the students being able to read stories that contained the targeted sounds.

The best aspect of the SPELL-Links curriculum was the number of activities and sections each lesson provided. This approach allowed students to build on from the day before and utilize the words in a different context such as the short stories/sentences and the writing activities.

I chose to use SPELL-Links because the strategic way in which it's laid out provides a framework for children to learn and work…It’s real, and it’s relevant, and it’s practical.

We are finding great success with the SPELL-Links program.

The greatest reward of choosing to include SPELL-Links in my intervention is how I see it impacting my students. There is an “a-ha” moment that I have noticed with many of my students when they realize they can read and write words without arduously memorizing them first. They become more engaged in the process and intervention comes alive.

It’s as if I see education through different lenses now. I can’t NOT see ineffective ways to teach reading and spelling anymore. Thank you for opening my eyes and making me a better SLP.

I have experienced great success using the SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing curriculum over the past few years. My experience with SPELL-Links began several years ago when my district was looking for a way to help a dyslexic middle schooler who was still struggling despite receiving years of Wilson reading interventions. I proposed the SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing curriculum as an intervention to help this student. My supervisor tasked me with piloting the SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing program with several students in the district. I saw the results of the SPELL-Links program almost immediately. The progress that students made through the program was evident to teachers, case managers, parents, and the students themselves. The students remarked that the program was unlike anything they had ever experienced in school before. At IEP meetings, every parent requested a continuation and an increase of SPELL-Links services. As word spread of these students’ successes, parents and case managers began reaching out to have more students receive interventions through SPELL-Links. SPELL-Links’ speech-to-print approach has been truly transformative for so many of my students.

My son enjoyed the sessions and remained engaged throughout each session. The instruction made a lot of sense to him, and it was fun to get answers correct, especially being able to spell words he didn’t previously know how to spell. He even said it was fun and looked forward to the next session. Priceless!

I got an update from my son's SLP tonight about their progress using SPELL-Links. They've been at it for nearly three years now. My son is 16 and profoundly dyslexic, OCD and has auditory processing disorder. When he started with his SLP, he was working around a 2nd grade level. Thank you, Jan, for your work. I am deeply appreciative. My son's saving grace has been SPELL-Links.

SPELL-Links Wordtivities

It’s very difficult to find evidence-based group instruction curriculum, and Wordtivities certainly fits the bill. It doesn’t simply focus on isolated areas pertaining to reading or spelling, but rather teaches the students to integrate all areas of language including phonology, morphology, semantics, and syntax to become better readers, spellers, and writers.

The Interactive Sound Wall is an amazing addition to my SPELL-Links products! I use it daily now.

SPELL-Links eStickers

One thing SPELL-Links eStickers magnified amazingly for us is that we could see so clearly, for example, if a child needs work on Strategy 6, that tells us they need more time to learn the allowable spellings for a certain sound. BUT if a child needs work on Strategy 13, that tells us that this child may be a more sophisticated speller; they know all the allowable spellings. Now they need practice figuring out which one to use for a specific word.

What I liked about the SPELL-Links eStickers report was that it put my observations into a quantifiable number.

SPELL-Links Strategies by the Numbers

I love the fact that SPELL-Links Strategies by the Numbers is based on the connectionist research model, which views spelling and reading as a ‘dynamic interplay of phonological, orthographic, and semantic knowledge.’ Consequently, the strategies in this book focus on simultaneously developing and strengthening phonological, orthographic, semantic, and morphological knowledge during reading and writing tasks.

The SPELL-Links strategies are so universal and applicable to both reading and writing. I love seeing that moment when my second graders realize, “Oh, wait—this strategy works for writing, too!” There is such a sense of relief when my students realize that the process CAN get easier, and they CAN do it. The fact that the strategies are helpful beyond a specific vowel sound or word is just what my students need.

SPELL-Links WordUP!

This app has been a wonderful, quick start to my early literacy-based sessions. My first-grade students are quickly engaged with the simplicity of the app (they learned the buttons/options quickly), and they cheer each other when they get an answer right. My older students are even willing to give it a try. I have noticed progress with their auditory perception of sounds and their ability to link sounds and letters. Great app!

I wanted a game for the iPad to boost my son's spelling skills. This app is different than other apps we've tried because it makes my son hear a sound and then pick what letter(s) spell that sound. We have fun with this app and love the sound effects.

This is a great tool for my students to practice their word level reading and apply what they know about allowable spellings. It’s a fun way for them to really think about how words are spelled. I use this at the end of our tutoring sessions and like that I can customize the words for all the different ages and levels of kids who come to our center for tutoring.

SPELL-Links Professional Development

The Language Literacy Network is SO powerful and resonates with my study and observation over decades. I am observing classroom practice becoming more and more disintegrated, and writing has been cast aside. My pre-service teachers and graduate in-service teachers will be learning this model!

The best part of training was definitely that it was ongoing. I had a wonderful time teaching and learned a lot about literacy instruction.

The best part of the training process was the ample amount of support I had. I felt very comfortable asking questions. It was a great experience and I learned a lot!

Shout out to the workshop presenters for creating an amazing learning experience! The supportive learning environment helped me develop a stronger understanding of the logistics of using SPELL-Links and I can’t wait to put my learning into practice with my clients! Watching the student demonstrate how to put the strategies into action in a lesson was the “glue” that helped me pull it all together! If you are feeling FOMO reading this…go.next.year! I decided at the very last possible second to attend and it was one of the best decisions of my 25 year career!

The supportive learning environment at the workshop deepened my understanding of SPELL-Links and its implementation! I am excited to see all the growth my students make. This truly was one of my best educational experiences in years.

I love everything about SPELL-Links and feel propelled, refreshed and excited to implement methods with increased ease and flexibility after attending the workshop. I feel empowered!

Attending the workshop is not “working” over the summer. It is reigniting your passion to do better!

This workshop was jam-packed with information on how to implement SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing. I learned so much. Thank you.

For anyone who is waffling about whether the workshop will really, truly change how you can implement effective therapy, I urge you to take this step!

The best part of the online workshop was seeing the methods and materials implemented with an actual student by a master clinician.

SPELL-Link'd is the best community of incredible people that I have ever worked with. I consider it a gift to belong to SPELL-Link'd.

After taking your course, I was inspired and purchased SPELL-Links for my most dyslexic clients. It has been a slow process for them, but we are tenacious and after using if for the last 6 months, we are getting improvement in their phonological awareness, reading fluency and spelling. The most interesting development has been in the speech production of a severely apraxic 4th grader. After doing the visualization lesson where she searches for patterns and words inside a word, we have seen improvement in her awareness of her most difficult sound group—the various r-colored vowels. Having that knowledge has dramatically improved her speech production. My team of SLPs and literacy specialists are all excited about using SPELL-Links for a variety of challenges!

I love the webinars I’ve attended and utilization of SPELL-Links/the Connectionist Model has changed my approach and thought-process as a therapist (for the better!). It feels very holistic and is effective. Aside from reading needs, I’ve even found significant benefit in setting the foundation for the reading in my late-preschool/early-elementary articulation therapy utilizing the foundations of SPELL-Links. I highly recommend clinicians sign up for the webinars—very useful information to have!

Join the Discussion

SPELLTalk is a free, online discussion group for literacy professionals who want to advance their skills and knowledge of current research.