March 31, 2020 / by LiteracyUntangled

Structured Word Inquiry: Give Me the Basics!

Structured Word Inquiry (SWI): Give Me the Basics!

What is Structured Word Inquiry, or, as it is more commonly known – SWI? In a nutshell, SWI is an approach that uses a problem-solving strategy for learning and understanding word meanings and spelling patterns. Through SWI, we learn that words have a depth, belong to families and have a rich history.

How does SWI work?

At its core, SWI asks the learner to approach a word with a scientific mind set. It asks the learner to propose a theory and then test that theory. The learner uses four key questions to guide them through their word discoveries.

What are the Four Questions?*

  • What does the word mean?
  • How is it built?
    (prefix + base + suffix)
  • What other related words can you think of? [morphological – (shares spelling) and etymological (shares history)]
  • What are the sounds that matter?
    [grapheme (letter) / phoneme (sound) correspondences]

    *From “Teaching How the Written Word Works by Peter Bowers.

What tools and resources are used?

Research Tools
  • Word Sums: prefix + base + suffix
    book + ing –> booking
  • Build a word matrix to delve deeper into how words are built/spelled using the Mini Matrix-Maker.
  • Poster Presentation
  • Slide Presentation

Where can I get more information?