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 35 years, I have been introducing this program to teachers all over the country and have seen it grow from something I created for my own classroom 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!
Since that time, Language Works has made its way into thousands of classrooms. The program is also now as popular for kindergarten level as it is for elementary classrooms. And its application has grown to include English language learners and students with dyslexia. Reading resource teachers are experiencing great success using Language Works.
Mary holds elementary teaching certification from both AMS (American Montessori Society) and AMI (Association of Montessori International). Her career in education spans the past 40 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 Lake Geneva, Wisconsin with her husband Mark. They have a son Nate, and a daughter Maggie, both in their 20's, who as pre-schoolers learned to read and spell with Language Works.