LITHBTH Educational Services
Frequently Asked Questions about SWR Seminars

On this page we'll answer common questions people have about the Spell to Write and Read Seminars. Topics include what materials are necessary for the class, scholarship rates, how to register, how to find a seminar in your area, and more!

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What would I get out of the SWR Seminar?

The Basic SWR Seminar is a 16-hour introduction to the Spell to Write and Read program and includes:
  • Using Spelling and Phonics as the foundation for teaching Writing and Reading

  • Clarifying the Why, the When, and the How of the program

  • Hands-on practicum exercises

  • A trained instructor modeling and guiding you in the role of both a student and a teacher in training

  • A visual presentation and modeling of how to teach sample Reference Pages

  • Addressing the needs of home educators as well as tutors and classroom teachers

  • Lesson planning and organizing of materials

  • Using the Diagnostic assessments

  • Ideas for adapting to individual students? abilities

  • Tips for reversing or deterring dyslexic tendencies

  • Video demonstration of the program in use with two students (LITHBTH Seminars)

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Would someone who has taken another course in The Writing Road to Reading learn anything new?

A number of adults have taken the Spell to Write and Read Seminar after previous training from qualified instructors. They give enthusiastic evaluations of SWR. One classroom teacher who has taught using the method for years and received training twice previously said, "You lifted three years of fog in two days!" Another trained, experienced teacher called SWR and the class "user friendly".

How much does it cost for a seminar?

The Basic SWR Seminar registration fee is $135 for a new attendee and $68 for special guests (spouse or child over 12, full-time missionaries, senior pastors and/or their wives, single parents, and SWR Basic Seminar Alumni). Some Trainers offer the Basic class over three days, in which case the cost for the class can vary. Please check with your Trainer for the specific details of her class.

The Advanced SWR Seminar registration fee is $195 for a new attendee and $98 for special guests (spouse or child over 12, full-time missionaries, senior pastors and/or their wives, single parents, and SWR Advanced Seminar Alumni).

How do I find a seminar?

For information about Northern California Seminars with Elizabeth FitzGerald, please see the LITHBTH Seminars page on this site.

If you are interested in attending a seminar with author Wanda Sanseri or another Endorsed SWR Trainer, go to the SWR Basic Classes page or the Advanced SWR Classes page for a list of currently scheduled SWR Seminars. To find a Trainer in your area and information on how to contact her, click here.

If you want to be notified of upcoming seminars in your area, sign up here for our email mailing list.

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How do I register for a seminar?

You can register for a Basic Seminar in Northern California through this web site.

To register for a seminar with Mary Tanksley (Southern CA Trainer), please see Mary's web site for information.

To register for a seminar with Carolyn Gibbens and/or Rhonda Bedee (TX Trainers), please see The Texas Trainers' web site for information.

To register for a seminar with Lee Bradford (OH Trainer), please see Lee's Seminar Page on this web site for information.

To register for a seminar with Sarah Moser (WA Trainer), please see Sarah's web site for information.

To register for a seminar with SWR Author Wanda Sanseri or another Endorsed SWR Trainer, use the BHI Registration Form and mail it to the Trainer of your choice for one of her classes.

Be sure to check with the Trainer about her registration deadline and preordering requirements if you are in need of items from the Core Kit of Teacher Materials.

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There are no seminars scheduled in my area. How can I attend one?

The number of Endorsed SWR Trainers has grown over the years, and we are now available in more areas of the United States and Canada than ever before. Check the List of Trainers for one who conducts seminars in your state. Contact that Trainer for any updates in her itinerary. You might also consider hosting a seminar to bring SWR to your neighborhood.

Please keep in mind that some SWR Trainers have greater flexibility in their availability than others. In some cases their schedules are restricted to a certain vicinity or a specified number of seminars per year. In these cases, you might want to consider the possiblity of traveling to where a seminar is being held in order to receive this valuable training.

Some trainers are available to travel internationally. If you are interested in having a trainer come to your country, email Back Home Industries.

Plans are also in the works to provide training through online classes. To be notified when these are scheduled, sign up here for our email mailing list.

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When do I need to register?

Most trainers have a registration deadline which is two weeks prior to the class. This is the date when they need to have received your registration, not merely the date on which you have to mail it. Space is typically limited, and your trainer and hostess need time to prepare. Sometimes pre-enollment numbers help determine whether there is sufficient interest in holding a class, and the event could be cancelled or rescheduled (rare, but possible) if not enough people are registered ahead of time. Materials must be ordered and in some cases shipped to the seminar location. This takes time which makes sticking to the registration deadline essential. A $25 non-refundable deposit will secure a slot for you with the balance due at the class. If you need to register after the deadline because of some condition outside of your control, please contact your local hostess or the Trainer to confirm space availability. Be aware, however, that there is no guarantee the materials you need will be on site if you register after the deadline. Check early on with your Trainer for her registration deadline for the particular class you are interested in attending.

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What materials do I need for the class?

In order to teach the program, we recommend that you have each of the items in the Core Kit of Teacher's Materials which includes Spell to Write and Read, The WISE Guide, The 70 Basic Phonogram cards, Spelling Rule cards, and a Phonogram CD. You can see a review of these items on the Materials page. We'll be using everything in the class except for the rule cards and CD. If you already have one or all of these materials, bring them to the class and preorder what you are lacking from your Trainer or purchase them ahead of time.

For the class, you'll want to bring paper and pencils for notetaking and a bag lunch or money to buy your lunch. If you're an alumnus of a TRHS or SWR class, you'll also want to bring the Master Teacher's Log you made at the last class. Some people have found having a clipboard handy for when they're not seated at a table for part of the class.

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Can I just figure out which materials I want when I get to the class?

If you don't already have the Core Kit of Teacher Materials, they must be preordered. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that there will be enough materials on hand for everyone. (Please see "When do I need to register?" above.) There are other products that teachers may find helpful or useful in teaching the program but which are not required for participation in the class. These will be available for purchase or for ordering at the seminar.

I already have TRHS. Do I need to buy SWR to take the class?

Spell to Write and Read is an updated version of TRHS. It is still possible to teach this program using TRHS. However, the class is designed around the new book. Examples and instructions for where to look in the book will all reflect the updates that have been made, and people using TRHS will find themselves confused and frustrated. Having everyone working from the same text helps the flow of the seminar. Believe me, when you see the SWR book, you'll want a copy of your own!

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Is there a discount for upgrading from TRHS to SWR?

You will have to ask each Trainer individually if she offers an upgrade discount; most do.

If you're registering for a LITHBTH seminar, then you are entitled to a $5 upgrade discount when you purchase the SWR book. To get this discount, preorder your materials on the Registration Form and make a note in the Comments section that you will be upgrading. You will be given instructions during the registration process on how to receive your discount.

What must I do ahead to prepare for the class?

While many people come with no prior knowledge or preparation, it just makes sense: the more you can prepare, the more you will get out of your training! At the same time, we realize there are time restraints on all of us, and some people will not have their materials until they come to the class. Just do the best you can, and come joyfully, prepared to learn a lot about our wonderful language!

For prestudy, we highly recommend you do the following before coming to this seminar.

  1. Study the 70 phonograms with the CD and cards; try to learn as many as you can. If you have registered for a seminar and plan to pick up your Core Kit at the seminar, there are a few options for you.
    • Contact your Trainer for her to email or snail mail you a list of phonograms for study. She might even be able to ship the cards and SWR ahead of time. Each Trainer has her own way of doing this, so check ahead to know how she can help you.
    • Sometimes the Seminar Hostess has the phonogram cards available so that people can pick them up and start studying. You must confirm with your Trainer or Hostess if they have worked this out for each class.

  2. If you have your materials already, it would be wonderful if you could read through SWR pages 1-19.

  3. For those with beginning students (Preschool-1st grade), read SWR pages 20-23.

  4. For those with students already spelling and/or reading:
    • Give the diagnostic test to each child if possible (SWR pp 196-199) and bring the results to the class.
    • Read SWR pages 23-32.

  5. Finally, you'll also want to be well rested and ready for the eight hours of instruction both days of the class. If you'll have far to drive to attend the class, you might want to consider staying in a local motel or with a friend who lives nearby on Thursday and Friday nights so that you can be well rested and alert both mornings. Sharing a room and attending the class with a friend always makes it more enjoyable and economical!

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Do you provide child care during the class?

We are concerned for your children. That is why we work to train you how to teach them. As much as we may like to be able to help you with child care, we do not feel it is in the child's best interest to be closed in one room with a large group of strangers for two long days. We will pray that you will find a more positive alternative for them while you receive your training undistracted.

May nursing moms bring baby to class?

A mom may bring a nursing infant provided that certain conditions are met:
(1) The parent is responsible to see that her infant is not left unattended. Often moms bring an older sibling along to act as a nanny so the infant can be separated in another room for blocks of time. In this way the mom can concentrate on the class and nurse at regular scheduled breaks. Sometimes a friend will watch a baby who is eating some solids at home and bring the baby to the class location for the mom to nurse at the lunch break. The SWR trainer or the hosting facility cannot be liable for the welfare and protection of the child.
(2) Mom needs to sit as close to the exit door as possible so that she can take her child out of the seminar area as soon as the baby begins to make a disturbance.

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How old does my child need to be to attend?

The class is geared toward teachers. Although mature teenagers and even some twelve-year-olds have attended and gained much toward their own studies, it is a long two days for most young people. The student must be attentive and on-task, ready to be an active participant and not a distraction. The parent must keep this in mind when considering the appropriateness of the student attending. A discounted registration fee is offered to families with mature students who desire to gain an introduction to the program, who want to perfect their skills, or who are in training to tutor others.

May my married daughter and I register as a family?

Family rates are available only to Father and/or Mother and one or more children living together. Two women, regardless of their relationship, cannot register as a family. Only those couples that are officially married are couples by BHI's definition and may register as such.

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I am a homeschooler. Does this qualify me as a School Administrator?

The discounted registration fee for a School Administrator is offered as an incentive to encourage school district personnel to attend and review the program for use in their schools. Such personnel would include a Principal, Superintendent, Curriculum Advisor or Master Teachers who counsel with homeschoolers about curriculum choices. The only homeschoolers who qualify as School Administrators are those who operate Private Satellite Programs in which children other than their own are enrolled AND who counsel other homeschoolers about curriculum choices.

My husband has a ministry at our church. Does that qualify me a Pastor's wife?

The Scholarship registration fee is specifically for families who are in full-time ministry for the church.

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My homeschool family is on a single income. Do I qualify for a special discount?

Most homeschool families are operating on single or limited incomes. The cost of the seminar in significantly lower than typical business or educational training classes. While we understand that the cost of the seminar can be a stretch for some families, we believe that the benefits to improving your teaching abilities are well worth the investment.

Should my husband attend with me?

It is wonderful for the husbands to attend with their wives, and we encourage this by offering a discount for the spouse's registration. It is advantageous for the father to understand what, why and how the children will be taught so that he can help in ways that complement instruction. There is much to learn during the seminar, and having "an extra set of ears" only aids learning that much more. Also, the men really enjoy the logic of our system.

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I am a school teacher. Is it possible to get Extended Education units for taking this class?

This will depend entirely upon your School District. In the past teachers have received credit when: (1) the District has preapproved the class, (2) the teacher has attended the class for all 16 hours, and (3) the teacher has completed the Take Home Test and received a Certificate of Completion to submit to the District. Some Districts require the teacher to pay for the class in order to receive the credit. Some Districts apply the class toward Inservice Training requirements rather than Extended Education units. Some districts will only offer credit if the instructor of the class has a Master's Degree or higher; I hold an M.S. and therefore my seminars would satisfy this requirement. The only college credit available is for taking the Advanced. Only Wanda Sanseri and certain Endorsed SWR Trainers offer these Extended 3-day classes. In addition, the college credit is only offered on a class-by-class basis depending on the arrangements made for that class with a local College or University. The best course of action for you is to notify your District's Personnel office and inquire as to its requirements for classes such as ours. Regardless of their decision, you will be hard pressed to find a more practical and valuable teacher training class in Language Arts anywhere!

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What is the difference between the Basic SWR Class and the Advanced Class?

The Basic SWR Seminar is a two-day introduction to the program. The only requirement to taking the class is that you are familiar with the 70 Basic Phonograms. We take you through the key preliminary steps at an introductory level to familiarize you with the methods, the core content, and the process for teaching with SWR. We model the teaching with participants taking on the role of a beginning, non-reading student. The Primary Learning Log is started with Section A of the Wise List, and the Reference Pages are completed at the beginning level. The training received in this class prepares the teacher for implementing the program with any level student (beginning or advanced) and continuing to build the Master Teacher's Log on their own. A Certificate of Completion is available to those participants who complete the Take Home Test and return it to the seminar trainer. Some trainers offer a three-day Basic Seminar which allows for more time to explore basic principles of the program.

The Advanced SWR Seminar is offered over three full days and delves much deeper into the program. The prerequesite for attending this class includes having attended the Basic Seminar. It is assumed that the participants are familiar with all teacher materials, the phonograms and rules, and have had some experience using the program in a teaching situation. The entire program is again presented, but this time it is modeled with participants taking on the role of an advanced student. The Black Learning Log is used and spelling words from Sections P or T and above are entered as well as constructing Reference Pages at the advanced level. The training received in this class prepares the teacher for implementing the program with their advanced students and provides them with a richer and deeper understanding of the SWR methodology. The class includes special sessions not available in the basic class such as an invaluable segment on teaching composition. Participants will have a great start on their Master Teacher's Logs by the end of this class, and a Certificate of Completion is available upon completion of the Take Home Test. Author Wanda Sanseri and several Endorsed SWR Trainers are currently available to teach this class. Check out the Advanced SWR Classes page for a schedule of their upcoming Advanced Seminars.

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Will I qualify for a discount if I retake the Basic SWR class or if I now attend the Advanced class?

We want to encourage teachers to continue their training and further develop their teaching skills. Hence, we offer a Scholarship rate for alumni of the SWR Basic seminar who are able to take it again. Each of the Endorsed SWR Trainers honors the alumni of the other Trainers, so your almunus status is transferable from Trainer to Trainer.

Having taken the SWR Basic Seminar is a preprequisite for taking the Advanced class. However, the scholarship rate for this class is only offered to alumni of the Advanced class.

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Would I still be able to attend if I can only come for one day?

If you were only able to come one day of the Seminar, you would want it to be the first day. There is too much foundational information covered on Day One for someone to jump right in to the class on Day Two, especially someone new to SWR. You would be lost, and we could not take up valuable class time to catch you up on what you missed the previous day. It would be unfortunate if you had to miss the second day as that is where much of the information comes together for the participants. On the second day we also use role-playing opportunities to practice putting the program to use. However, at times there are conflicting situations that cannot be avoided, and we understand this. There is no discount provided for someone who only attends one day.

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