Hello! I am Mary Kravchuk, creator of the Language Works Spelling Program and I’m happy to share with you the Language Works story. For the past 30 years, I have been introducing this program to teachers from all over the country and have seen it grow from something I created for my own students into what is now a well known favorite in schools throughout the United States.
The idea for Language Works evolved when I was teaching in a 1st-3rd grade Montessori classroom. In 1987, after completing my Montessori elementary teacher training course in Bergamo, Italy, I realized that the area of spelling had some gaps. Because the Italian language is completely phonetic, Maria Montessori did not need to develop extensive teaching material in this area as she had in other areas of the classroom. English, however, being an interesting mix of languages, does not follow simple phonetic patterns and learning it requires more practice with spelling.
As a teacher, I was constantly being asked by the children in my class to check their spelling! I began to imagine creating a comprehensive spelling program that would allow children to work independently and check their own work as they do with other Montessori materials. As this idea took shape in the form of word lists and picture booklets, I shared it with other teachers and eventually had it printed. Language Works made its debut in 1988 at the American Montessori Society (AMS) conference in Dallas, TX where I sold almost 100 sets!
For 30 years Language Works has continued to grow and is now as popular for the kindergarten level as it is for the elementary classroom. I always look forward to exhibiting at the AMS conferences where I meet hundreds of teachers who love to tell me how long they have been using Language Works and how much their children are learning. It is very exciting to hear of their success and how much the children love using the program!
Mary holds elementary teaching certification from both AMS (American Montessori Society) and AMI (Association of Montessori International). Her career in education spans the past 35 years throughout which time she has taught at several exemplary Montessori schools in the Chicago area including Crystal Lake Montessori, Near North Montessori and Chiaravalle Montessori. Mary also holds a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies and continues to work full time in the education field. She lives in Wheaton, Illinois, with her husband Mark and has two college age children, Nate and Maggie.