Last year I did not use our district's spelling program. At year-end I gave the program's final assessment and found no difference in scores over the years I did use the program. What I did do: Every week I would have a "ticket out the door" whereby my third grade students needed to write a 30 word essay with no spelling errors. We also had major writing projects every two weeks that were "published" (Put up on the wall.) which had to be error free. Stopping the spelling program gave me an extra 20 minutes a day for Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) and writing projects. I'm never going back. Here are some research finding by Stephen D. Krashen: • Students who read more become better spellers • SSR just as effective or more effective than teaching spelling by direct instruction • Uninstructed students learn to spell just as well as instructed students when given time for SSR • Children can spell a substantial number of words they haven’t been directly taught • Each word taught through direct instruction requires 20 minutes of time.