The Program is a very carefully selected sequence of building blocks. Each language unit and each skill is used to create a solid foundation for learning subsequent material. A mastery approach is built in. Thus, each student’s reading and spelling vocabulary grows at a geometric rate without the halting progress or gaping holes that often occur when skills are taught in isolation.
The materials are divided into three levels: Beginning, Basic Blue and Intermediate. In the Beginning Level books, reading, spelling and vocabulary building are emphasized. Very simple comprehension exercises are included, but only the most basic grammar concepts are introduced. When pupils resolve their discrimination and blending problems, they apply their decoding and encoding mastery to more extensive comprehension work in the Basic Blue Level. The comprehension exercises continue through the entire Basic Blue Level as numerous new letter patterns are introduced. These patterns cover most of the common linguistic structures of English and lead to a dramatic increase in vocabulary. The Intermediate Level uses the fundamental structures mastered in the Beginning Level to introduce multisyllable words, prefixes and suffixes. It also develops more grammar skill. When the Intermediate Level books are accompanied by Stevenson’s Essential Grammar (see the catalogue for a description of these books), students not only learn all of the parts of speech but develop the foundation for expository writing as well.
Many aspects of the Stevenson sequence are unusual. You will note in the Beginning Level that we teach lower case letter before capitals. This minimizes sound-symbol confusion since a symbol like g (Integral 4) bears little resemblance to one like G (Integral 26). We also teach only one sound at a time for each symbol, so that the soft /g/ sound (Integral 60) is not presented until after the hard /g/ (Integral 4) is mastered. Also, our students learn to read and spell after having learned only five letters. With each new letter, pupils read and spell new words and thus learn to manipulate all the letters without having to memorize 26 symbols in isolation before applying them. (For students who have already learned their alphabet sounds with complete accuracy, the adaptation to our material is simple.)
In the early stages we use mnemonic association clues that are very concrete and within the student’s realm of experience. As pupils progress they encounter clues drawn from imagination, which give them opportunities to develop creativity. Some association clues build on previous clues, such as the addition of a doily below the layer cake to represent a prefix-like de being added to the cake pattern vote. But, at all times, we engage the right hemisphere to teach new material.
One of the best ways to understand the Stevenson sequence of skills and language units (Integrals) is to review a multi-level set of our books. These may be purchased or acquired on a trial basis. Just call to make arrangements.