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Word Revelation: Activities to Maximize Reading and Spelling Skills

The heart of our instructional approach is a set of 35 activities called Word Revelation, designed for teachers to use with any students, from about age 8 to adult.  These activities can be used to teach students to read initially, or to help struggling readers establish new habits that will contribute to skilled word recognition, fluency, comprehension, spelling, and writing.  Word Revelation instructional materials are distributed during Word Revelation workshops.



Word Revelation Instructional Materials

Revealing the Structure of Words

Just as literacy development depends on Phoneme Awareness and understanding of the Alphabetic Principle, maximal literacy development depends also on Syllable Awareness and understanding of the Syllabic Principle: written English patterns depend both on letter-sound relationships and on syllable-level patterns.  These patterns in the writing system of English are the Syllable Types.  They often go unrecognized.  Learning to recognize this structure in the words being read helps a person to read with greater accuracy and automaticity, which aids in fluency and comprehension. Recognizing this structure is also the basis for accuracy (and automaticity) in spelling.

The Word Revelation activities are designed to help students learn to recognize the syllable structure in words, and to use that recognition while reading and ultimately while spelling, also.  While students are never asked to divide words into syllables, the activities gradually give them the ability to read new multisyllabic words.  Doing the activities helps students develop accurate – and then automatic – decoding and word recognition skills, and then to apply those skills while reading texts.  The Word Revelation activities were originally designed for use with middle-schoolers in a whole-class setting.  They are use-able with whole classes, small groups, or individuals, and with some adaptation have ended up working very well with 2nd- to 8th-graders, high-schoolers, and adults.

Some keys to the efficacy of the Word Revelation activities are that they require the students to both sound out (decode) and engage meaning, or think about the meaning of what they just read, right from the beginning.  That way, when it comes time to apply their skills in a text, they have already begun to develop the habit of monitoring their own comprehension as they read.  In addition, students learn to do so with one-syllable words at first, and then 2-, 3-, and even some 4-syllable words, on the way to doing so in texts.  Both of those aspects of this approach help students to make the transition from decoding single words in isolation to fluently reading regular texts while monitoring their own comprehension.

Word Revelation Training Workshops

What to Expect During a Workshop

During this 2-day training workshop, participants will complete or begin most of the Word Revelation activities (about 35).  
The workshop has 2 main components, which alternate throughout the day (on both days):

(1)  Participants will do or begin the same activities that their students will do, in order to have experienced them personally before helping students do them, and
(2)  Participants will also learn a framework to help them make instructional decisions such as when it’s time go on to the next step with a student, and what direction to take in general for each session with students, so that the students are never frustrated and never bored.
The Word Revelation activities help students become accurate and then automatic readers, learning to monitor their own comprehension as they go.  The activities cover 8 main concepts about the patterns of written English.  In the first half of the workshop, participants do activities that allow the students to become accurate and then automatic in applying the first 3 concepts.  Then in the second half, participants do activities that allow the students to become accurate (and begin to be automatic) on the last 5 concepts.

Lastly, participants will do activities in which students apply what they have learned to read an actual text (a book, an article, etc.).  We will do a couple short sample texts that are already planned, and participants will also learn how to prepare any book/text that they would like to use with their students.  Further strategies and activities for application of these skills are optionally covered in a later Dive to Rise workshop.

Our intention is that much of the workshop is activities, so that you are not listening to the instructor talk too much of the time.

Audience: Just About Anyone

Classroom Teachers (of 2nd-Graders through Adults)

Are you a classroom teacher who would like clarity about how to reach struggling readers?  Have you been struggling to help your students?  Are you mystified by how to make spelling skills stick?  Are you in awe that your high-schoolers have made it this far without sufficient reading skills?  Do you wonder where to start with your elementary or middle school students who arrived in your class without the skills you expected or desired?  Word Revelation has worked well for others in your situation.

Homeschool Teachers

Are you a homeschool parent who has tried 'every' reading program out there, but always gets stuck after a certain point?  Would you like a way to help struggling readers of different ages at the same time?  Word Revelation has worked well for others in your situation.


Are you a principal who would like a reasonable solution for how to improve Tier I instruction in your teachers' classrooms?  Are you a reading specialist who would like a way to coordinate easily with the classroom teachers?  Although you may not desire or need to attend an entire training, you are welcome to do so or to stop by for the first hour or two to get a sense of the Word Revelationapproach.  Word Revelation has worked well for others in your situation.


Are you a parent or grandparent who is tired of watching your child suffer due to difficulty with reading, spelling, or writing?  Is your child melting down when it comes to completing homework?  Does school seem harder than it's meant to be for your child?  Word Revelation has worked well for others in your situation.

Teacher's Aides, Speech-Language Therapists, Tutors and Potential Tutors

Do you assist with reading instruction in some way, or desire to do so?  Are you a teacher's aide, a professional or volunteer tutor, a speech-language therapist, or just a person interested in helping maximize the literacy skills of some students in your local area?  Word Revelation has worked well for others in your situation.



Workshops are scheduled when you or someone else asks for them.  They have been held in school classrooms and staff lounges, church common rooms, living rooms, dining rooms, homeschool-work areas, community center conference rooms, and libraries.  The only need is for each participant to have a place to sit and a workspace about the size of a classroom desk -- but that space can vary from a spot at a dining room table to a classroom desk to a card table or tray table.

Online workshops have been given with small groups using Google Hangouts.


Word Revelation workshops take about 2 days but can be given in time slots that work well for your group.

A 45- to 60-minute introductory presentation can be given in order for you or your group to decide whether you'd like to continue.

The workshops have been given as 2 full days, 3 to 4 half-days, and, to my surprise, we are now also willing to give 2- to 3-hour after-school sessions with teachers because we have received good feedback and requests for additional after-school meetings from participants.

The workshop sessions can be back-to-back or spread out over time:  for example, on a Friday and Saturday, or 2 Fridays in a row, or 1 afternoon a month for 3 or 4 months, or other arrangements that fit your group's schedule.


It is often easiest to talk through scheduling options together.  Please feel free to call or email with workshop questions or requests.