Beneath the Surface of Words: What English Spelling Reveals and Why It Matters

By Sue Scibetta Hegland Last updated 2024/05/27
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In Beneath the Surface of Words, author Sue Scibetta Hegland aims to convince readers that English spelling isn’t as unreliable or quirky as they may have believed…and argues an excellent case. For example: there’s actually a reason for the L in talk! Written in an engaging voice, this is an excellent title for building educator knowledge to support instruction in spelling, particularly related to morphology and etymology, with connections to vocabulary as well. Helpful appendices, for example, “Applying Suffixing Conventions” and “Working With Word Sums and Evidence Banks” are also included. Reading Beneath the Surface of Words is like taking a crash course in the complexities and rationale of the English writing system and is recommended for all literacy educators.

Curriculum Connection

B2. Language Foundations for Reading and Writing
Beneath the Surface of Words is a thorough resource to help increase educator knowledge at all grades in order to implement the B2 Word-Level Reading and Spelling expectations, as well as Vocabulary expectations, under Strand B: Foundations of Language in the 2023 curriculum document.
Grade(s): K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Topic(s): Applying MorphologyApplying OrthographyApplying PhonicsVocabularyWord-Level Reading and Spelling


  1. Incredible book! Sue Scibetta Hegland also gave a wonderful webinar with IDA NorCal that can be found on YouTube. I can include the link if that’s allowed?

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