In Canada and the US, literacy rates are declining:

Using current methods, it would take 1000's of hours of literacy teaching to turn things around.


(and my Complete 20 Hour 60-Day Plan)



  • A unique, new solution for adults and students of all ages
  • Uses off-screen learning proven to be more effective
  • Provides a means to implement recommended solutions*

Have you ever struggled to find a solution for something? Maybe it's taken days, weeks, even months?

And then suddenly out of the blue an answer pops into your head when you're not even thinking about the problem!

For 10 years the problem I struggled with was finding the best way to help people fill gaps in their word skills.

I wanted to know the best, quickest way

to help people learn to read and write

the words they hear and say

As a parent, I had struggled to help my boys.

As a teacher, I'd been appalled by the inequality in learning outcomes.

And as a tutor for adults, who desperately needed better skills for better jobs, I struggled to find ways to help that hadn't already failed those learners in the past!

The people I wanted to help had potential. They weren't able to learn because of the way they were being taught.

I knew there had to be a better way! Remember, literacy rates aren't just bad, they are declining. Obviously, same-old isn't working and something needs to change! But what?

It turns out, one idea is key ...

Reading doesn't improve spelling, the opposite is true.

Spelling improves reading and reading improves writing.

Spelling = Literacy

However, when it comes to spelling, we fail struggling learners in two ways:

  1. We don't help them learn, we tell and test. Most classroom learning and computer programs tell and test. This benefits review, but not learning.
  2. We give learners ways to learn that don't work: dozens of spelling rules and all their exceptions, word roots and origins, phonemes and graphemes, and rules of syllabication, as well as worksheets and games that don't relate to real language experiences. [Go on-line > that's what you'll find.]

I didn't want to fail learners who had already been failed, and I wanted young learners to avoid failure down the road. I was struggling to find a real solution. So I began to develop one of my own.

And that's when I had my epiphany ...

Out of the blue, these words popped into my head, 'word walk'.

At first, I didn’t get it ...

... but I knew struggling learners need to experience success right from the get-go. They've lost faith in their ability to learn, and in people's ability to teach them.

So I thought of the word walk like this... Why don't we take all the words learners need to learn and sequence them from most common to least common and easiest to hardest. Then learners can take small doable steps. Sounds good doesn't it?

It sounds good until you realize ...

This already happens in classrooms and computer apps! There are 10,000 to 20,000 words in the average vocabulary, and current spelling programs offer learners endless lists of these words.

Now I suppose with a little gamification and lot of time and effort, some progress is bound to occur? But the learning process will take years, not weeks, and the learning methods are not the best.

We need a fool-proof way to learn words

and a short list of words to learn!

So I started by gathering together activities that work like magic to make spelling words impossible to forget.

This list of the best accepted learning techniques is my first gift for you >>>

Every learner should have this PDF! Every parent should have this PDF!

(I wish I'd had it when my kids were in school)

These activities are easy to implement and easy to learn!

Once I had created the activities, I set out to shorten the word walk ...

  • Struggling learners have fallen behind and need quick results
  • Parents of young learners don't have hours, they have minutes to help

I wondered ...

What if there were 'key' words, words once learned that would lead to mastery of dozens of other words? Could we speed up the learning process? What would those 'key' words be?

I tied this 'key' word idea to another idea I'd had for boosting learner's confidence while they're learning ...

You see, when you're helping someone with a confidence deficit, the last thing you want to do is to focus on their mistakes. I wanted to point out everything my learners were doing right! That way I could put their problems in perspective and focus their efforts more effectively. That's when it occurred to me ...

They never actually spell a word wrong!

No one ever does. We usually only misspell one sound in a word, maybe two.

So for example, the word speech is often spelled like 'speak', but the whole word isn't spelled wrong, just one sound out of four!

I could easily show learners what was wrong and what was right by underlining the spellings for sounds.

So I wondered, 'How many different ways can learners misspell sounds?'

How many words would emerging and struggling spellers need to practice to avoid future mistakes and fix current mistakes? Maybe the 'key' words I was looking for could represent each of those sound-spellings.

Do you know how many different ways

you can spell the 42 sounds in the English language?

Would you like to take a guess?

The answer may surprise you!

Just 201!

(And 80 of those 201 sound-spellings only exist in uncommon words!)

There are only 121 ways to misspell sounds

in the common words we use 95% of the time!

These numbers got me really excited about the word walk idea ...

Instead of practicing the 10,000 or 20,000 words of an average vocabulary, the right kind of practice with 121 words would make a massive difference. Learners would get a strong foundation of knowledge, skills and confidence.

This list of 201 'key' words is the second gift I have for you.

In the list, similar sound-spellings are grouped together and the 'key' words are divided into 3 groups: very common, common, and uncommon.

I soon realized something else just as exciting ...

If I chose the simplest most common words to represent each possible sound-spelling, learners would already know most of those words!

Sure they would need to learn critical words, ones that were blocking their progress like broken rungs on a ladder.

They would also need to learn how to use the words they already knew to learn more words. However ...

Practice with just 30 'key' words would be enough to change old habits and build life-changing skills!

The 'Word-Walk' had now become

the Wordskillz™ 30-Word Quest©!

And the learning process couldn't be simpler ...

Learners print the free tools, and number 30 pages of the Wordskillz™ SMiLe Activities© PDF from 1 to 30. Then, working solo or with help, they choose a word from the Wordskillz™ 201 'Sound-Spellings'© PDF.

Beginning with the simplest most common words in column one:

  1. They check off words they've already mastered and discover the first word they hear and say (and can use in a sentence), but can't read and/or write
  2. Then they use Wordskillz™ SMiLe Activities© to practice that word 3 ways over 3 days

They stay organized throughout the Quest by keeping the stack of numbered SMiLe Activities sheets in numerical order. On each subsequent day of the Quest, they warm up with words being practiced on their 2nd or 3rd day, and then repeat 1. above.

Words needing more practice will stay on the top of the stack and words practiced 3 times will be removed. So it will be easy to keep track of progress being made, and what needs to happen on each day.

Each Quest session takes about 10 minutes.

Learners practice 30 words over 30 days and can complete the Quest in 5 hours!

Sufficient practice and review is built into the Quest, and learners gain habits as well as skills.

This ensures their reading and writing vocabularies continue to grow once the Quest has ended! 

The Wordskillz™ 30-Word Quest© can have such a profound impact because ...

Learners aren't just learning, they are learning to learn! 

What's more, each Quest is completely personalized! Learners only practice 'key' words that challenge them, and use activities that work best for them.

In addition, their practice with 'key' words automatically makes all other words easier to learn ...

For example, a learner could use Wordskillz™ Sensory and Memory Activities to learn the common word three. Then they'd use linking activities to connect that word to other words like: see, bee, free and tree.

At that point, they could use what they'd learned to avoid spelling speech like speak by linking speech to free as in 'free speech'.

With the right Sensory, Memory and Linking Activities, Wordskillz™ SMiLe Practice© ensures that even words that have been misspelled for years can finally be written correctly without hesitation!

2 Simple Wordskillz™ 30-Word Quest© tools are all that's needed ...

These tools empower learners. Right from the start they are aware of the limited extent of what they need to learn, and the simple, do-able steps they need to take.

They can believe in the process, and soon come to believe in their ability. They achieve immediate, dramatic improvements, and their success inspires and motivates them to continue learning until they have all the skills they need.


Each Quest includes all 4 language skills: Handwriting, Spelling, Reading and Writing!

That's right! Handwriting, reading and writing can all be improved just as quickly and easily as spelling. Throughout the quest, during everyday language experiences, you'll apply simple hacks that improve all other key skills.

The Wordskillz™ 30-Word Quest© was the solution I was looking for,

and I believe it's the solution you're looking for

Please let me know how I can best help you …

I would like to use the Wordskillz™ 30-Word Quest© to help ...

Click on a button, and you'll also learn about the Wordskillz™ 60-Word Quest for Spelling, Reading and Writing©

If you are a parent, caregiver, tutor, teacher, trainer or adult learner,

or you know someone who is ...

Please tell them about the Wordskillz™ 30-Word Quest© and share this web page. 

Let's ensure every learner can read and write the words they hear and say.

Together we can solve the literacy crisis!