The core spelling list is an updated version of the renowned Ayres List completed in 1915. Leonard Ayers, a successful teacher, school administrator, statistician, and researcher compiled a list of the most frequently used words. He then contacted school superintendents in 84 different cities across the country requesting that the words be given as spelling test their students. He used the collected data to organize high frequency words into sections according to spelling difficulty. Computerized studies include other words in the top one-thousand. The Wise List includes these recent additions as well as a number of frequently misspelled words.
This foundational vocabulary of 2000 spelling words is divided in WISE Guide into manageable lessons with two pages of ideas for each set of 20 words. Each lesson has preliminary warm up drills, motivational comments for introducing the lesson, and reminders to teach specific Reference Pages (following instructions in SWR). Sample sentences are given to illustrate each word. Selections come from the Bible, literature, quotes of famous people, or instructive comments. Each word is divided into syllables and marked for spelling rules. Suggested teacher dialogue is provided. Creative spelling reinforcements replace boring, passive activities like copying a word five times. Optional enrichment activities involve a wide variety of subjects: art, literature, composition, grammar (including all parts of speech), antonyms, synonyms, derivatives, etymology, contractions, compound words, alphabetizing, punctuation, alliteration, homonyms, analogies, words of comparison, oxymorons, figures of speech, poetry, plurals, possession, and appositives.