Structured word inquiry is a revolutionary, linguistically-sound approach to language instruction that Nueva has begun integrating into its PreK-–12 English curriculum. Linguists know that English is a highly ordered and elegantly consistent system filled with clues about history and meaning, not the irregular language full of exceptions to be memorized that is taught in most schools. The Structured Word Inquiry Institute was created to offer educators and parents a way to understand the English writing system as it really is, and offer guidance on how to use these new techniques in their own classrooms and homes.
Structured word inquiry (Bowers & Kirby, 2010) is instruction about orthography: the study of how written English works through scientific inquiry in any educational context, from the beginning of formal literacy instruction through high school, college, and on into adulthood. Investigating words with linguistic tools, such as the matrix and word sum, helps teachers and students develop an ever-deeper understanding of how orthography shows the interrelation of morphology (meaning) phonology (sound) and etymology (history).This type of investigation reveals foundational facts about English that make sense of how our writing system works, and that are rarely addressed by typical instruction. Delving into the construction of words using linguistic tools helps us understand new and complex words, as well as dig deeper into the meaning and history of familiar ones. Through structured word inquiry, learners come to understand their writing system. Research has shown that this instruction brings benefits to students of all ages.
Nueva hosts an annual Structured Word Inquiry Institute to educate attendees at both the beginner and intermediate levels, on structured qord inquiry basics, curiculum implementation, and advanced project development.