Nancy decided to write her own program — at first for her students alone, and later, opened it up to the public — and it would be exactly what she had been looking for. No longer would students memorize a group of words in isolation week after week, she would integrate spelling, writing, grammar, and editing. She started with 160 specially-selected words for the school year, and created lessons that focused on clear spelling rules and patterns. Each lesson also reinforced good writing practices — like proper punctuation and grammar — while allowing students to be creative. And, her students loved it! After several years of continued interest and momentum, Nancy became a vendor for her program, now called Building Better Spellers, and thousands of students across the country befitted from her work.
At one point, Nancy Beattie who taught middle school for over 25 years, started referring to the middle school experience as the “forgotten years.” Every spelling-curriculum search resulted in a dead end. This frustration brought up a slew of questions: Why were there so few spelling curricula out there– were some accepting a dependency on technology (i.e. spell check) and abandoning the acquisition of language? Why wasn’t there more available for middle schoolers during these three formative, inquisitive years? Nancy knew that time during the Language Arts period was tight. The budget was tight too. But, the need was there and it was glaring.