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The Spel-Lang Tree Program Review

The Spel-Lang Tree program is a free phonics program created by Grace Vyduna-Haskins, in the early 1980’s. She developed her program in response to basal reading programs, as she did not believe they worked. The program is explicit, scripted, multi-sensory, and is based on speech to print principles. The program includes phonics, phonemic awareness, spelling, grammar, hand writing, vocabulary, and some very limited morphology instruction. The program explicitly aims to link phonics to spelling, as she believes this is the key to developing reading skills. Personally, I really like that this program is comprehensive and free. The free resources for this program includes 469 pages, plus multiple supplementary activities on her website. The Seeds and Roots manuals were developed based on direct classroom experience. The Trunks program was born in a third grade Navajo classroom when a teacher asked how she could best teach ‘ea’ words. 


Grace conducted a case study on her program in 1983. Her study included 22 grade 1 students. Pre-test scores were measured using the Wide Range Achievement Test, in January. Post-test scores were measured in May. The assessment measures comprehension, spelling, math computation, and word reading, and sentence reading. The score found, is based on a composite finding of these skills.

Spel-langtree results.png

I was especially impressed by Grace, not only because she offers such a comprehensive program for free, but because she is 94 and she still actively promotes the SOR on social media, on a daily basis. I reached out to Grace and interviewed her over the phone on two occasions, so as to better help me write this review and must say that her passion for helping kids learn how to read is infectious. I think her program is especially useful to teachers new to the science of reading, as its scripted nature makes it very easy to implement.

Disclaimer: Please note that this review is not peer reviewed content. These reviews are independently conducted. Pedagogy Non Grata, does not take profit from conducting any program review found on this website.  

Written by Nathaniel Hansford: teacher and lead writer for Pedagogy Non Grata

Last Edited 2022-09-03


The Spell Lang Tree program:

Note: The referenced study is not published or publicly available. Please contact Grace Vyduna-Haskins if you wish to read it.  

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