Who We Are

Eileen Mattmann and Rosanne Cowan consult with teachers at the elementary level who are looking for a more effective way to teach spelling. Through graduate level classes, on-site in-services, and presentations at conferences and conventions in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the midwest, Eileen and Rosanne offer real alternatives to the “test the list” model for spelling instruction. 

After years of piecing together materials and feeling frustration when students misspelled the same words they had just spelled on the Friday test, they felt it was time to bring together research and best practice in a new approach that is The Spelling Scholar. The discovery lessons give the students ownership in learning the patterns and rules. Guided and independent practice, word sorts and games reinforce the new learning. Review of past skills in lessons and tests holds students accountable for learning throughout the year. Lessons and tests are application-based so students apply their knowledge to a broader base of words than a finite list. 

They have collected data over several years and found that spelling scores increased dramatically each year. The Spelling Scholar data is consistent with the research which indicates that the lowest students’ scores increase the most. Research states that even good spellers benefit from this type of word study. In The Spelling Scholar, good spellers delve deeper into the patterns under study with more difficult words from the multi-level word sorts, thus increasing their vocabulary. All students work with word structure using Greek and Latin roots.

Teachers who use The Spelling Scholar notice that young readers are more able to flip vowels as they read and recognize word families in their reading material. They also find that students have fewer and fewer misspelled words in writing across all curricular areas as the year progresses. Students are more comfortable using the dictionary and find it an interesting and valuable resource. Teachers report that their students enjoy spelling and word study and find that working with words is more fun than just memorizing lists.

Rosanne and Eileen have more than 50 years combined experience teaching children in grades one through sixth and both hold Master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Eileen’s is in curriculum, Rosanne’s is in Library and Information Science. Eileen has 24 additional literacy based credits beyond her master's degree. Rosanne has 37 additional credits, including work in brain research, leadership, and best teaching practices.

Working closely with classroom teachers as they tested the materials, Eileen and Rosanne refined The Spelling Scholar to offer the best possible word study materials. 

Conferences at which we presented: 
WEA Convention, 2009, 2010
Minnesota Reading Teachers Convention 2010
Wisconsin Reading Teachers Convention 2010
Education Minnesota 2011, 2012
National Reading Recovery Convention 2013
Education Minnesota 2014
Education Minnesota 2015

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What Teachers Are Saying
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"I believe the program has helped our children grow as spellers and better readers. Thank you." Dr. Cametra Edwards (Principal)

"After years of using Words Their Way, both teacher and students have been delighted with the ease and focus of the program. You have managed to take the best of the WTW program while incorporating a powerful history and differentiation piece. The fact that one key concept is covered as a class has been especially helpful." (Utah Curriculum Support)

"I am excited that the 7-8 grade teachers are going to be able to use the program. It should really help our students. Your presentation was excellent. I am so pleased that we took the time to have training. It's so critical." (Wisconsin Principal)

"We've just started working with Greek and Latin roots and already we've seen an improvement in test scores." (Minnesota fourth grade teacher)

"I'm learning so much as I teach this program." (Columbus fifth grade teacher)

“The clear explanation of the phonetic rules is wonderful and what I have been searching for all these years.” Jan (Second Grade Teacher)

“Coming from a background in both special education and regular education, I find this program to be applicable for all students. I would recommend this program to others.” Laura (Fourth Grade Teacher)

  “The games reinforce students’ written spelling in more words than we could practice other ways. The variety of activities available helps students of all learning styles. The students really like the predictable format of the activities. They get right down to business. This is a time saver when there is so much in our curriculum to teach.” Bonnie (Second Grade Teacher)

“Students are having great success, but more importantly they are transferring their new knowledge over to all of their daily writing tasks.”
Sandy (Second Grade Teacher)

“I have to say, I love so much about this program! It addresses concepts that are sorely lacking in our spelling curriculum and reinforces ideas over time to help students master them.” Julie (Fourth Grade Teacher)

"I'll share my small victory with you. I've noticed my kids picking up on word chunks much better with using this program. It also helps me know why we chunk things the way we do. I had one of my lowest readers tell me, "Hey! That word has -ot in it!" We haven't even covered that word family and he is seeing and applying these things." (Michelle, First Grade)

"Word sorts are well done. Rules help students to be better spellers. The cyclical nature of the program helps to ensure long-term retention." (Field Test Teachers)

 "All the programs we previewed had a lot of glitz, but the real learning happened in your program. It is head and shoulders above anything else out there.” (Maryjane Burge, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction)

"This program matches the current research about teaching spelling better than any other program out there. This is the first time I've had a Reading Recovery student who was able to flip vowel sounds in a word." (Sandy, Reading Specialist)

"This is an in-depth program." (Al Pauli, Assistant Superintendent of Statistics and Testing)

"We just started and already students are more aware of spelling in their daily writing." (Mary Jo, Reading Specialist)

"My Ukrainian student who moved here at the beginning of the year has become a very good speller by learning the patterns and rules." (Jill, Fourth Grade)

"I'm marking fewer misspelled words in daily writing because of the personal words part of the program." (Sue, Fourth Grade)

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The Spelling Scholar:
A Thinking Approach to Learning Spelling
Who We Are                                 What Teachers Are Saying