Brandy is Our Wand's Parent Expert!

Brandy and Kids cropped.jpg

One of our Rooted Community members, Brandy Brandt, recently shared her weekly schedule for using the (Remodeled) Wand.  Brandy has used the original Wand for years, which was written by Rita Cevasco and sold by Brave Writer from 2012-2020. Brandy has also been using Rooted in Language strategies for 3 years! She is a parent coach in our Roots Entwined class and is a moderator of the Rooted Community. Brandy created this blog to support all Wand users.

Hello fellow Wand users!   I fell in love with this program years ago, after stumbling into it for my struggling learner. The Wand is centered around Intentional Copywork with an aim to learn and use many language skills together in reading and writing.  Many other programs target one skill at a time. This program is different! At first, it may feel a little overwhelming as you learn how to help kids consolidate all their different skills.  

Rooted in Language is planning to create a more comprehensive version of the Wand in the future, in order to create a better flow from Pinwheels. They currently added updates and user-friendly support, but I thought I might offer additional help from a user's perspective. The content you find in the Wand is top notch.  I hope that my descriptions of how we use the program can help you enjoy the complex world of language.

Sending encouragement,


How the Wand is Organized

The (Remodeled) Wand is an excellent way to teach reading and writing skills using a practice called Intentional Copywork and Dictation. RIL calls this type of copywork "intentional" because it weaves phonics, spelling, word study, and grammar into each lesson's passage. The Wand employs specific pre-teaching and editing techniques to further advance student's reading, writing, and spelling skills. Educators use structured literacy strategies and multisensory approaches to ensure their students' deep learning within the context of typical children's literature.

To begin:

PLEASE DO NOT MISS THE "READ ME FIRST" FILE!  Read it first to find the password for video examples and activity explanations, as well as other helpful information about the Wand's philosophy and design.

Be sure to read through the sections called "How the Wand is Organized" and "How to Use the Wand."

The Wand is broken into Sections, with each Section containing mini-lessons that weave key ideas throughout the unit. Information is not just presented. Teaching concepts are practiced, revisited, and reviewed throughout the program.

A Section begins with an introduction to a book or poem, including a selected passage from the text that will be studied and used as an exemplar.  The student should read the entire book (or poem) over the course of the Section (some books are spread over two Sections), and re-read the passage before each mini-lesson. Mini-lessons are mini learning times that introduce and practice skills (phonics, word study, grammar, comprehension, and writing), and then those skills are coordinated in the piece de resistance: copywork and dictation.

There is no student workbook, so all of the Wand's lessons are hands-on interactions between the educator and the student.  Engaged teaching includes bits & pieces of writing and sound practice throughout each lesson, purposefully intertwined. Students begin and end each lesson by either reading or writing within the context of literature.  

Teaching LA lessons using meaningful context, with the student engaging in pre-teaching and careful editing is what Rooted in Language calls "Intentional Copywork."

Overview page: If you look at the Section's overview page, each box on the page can be a lesson (or can be split into several lessons, if needed).  The last box on the page titled "Rules" is usually full of concepts that are discussed and taught throughout the week. These can be modified and recorded on either the student's Vowel Chart or in an LA Binder.  I find it easy to slip in the Word Lists throughout the week, within either the phonics lesson (for Common Words) or in Word Study lessons (for Caution Words).

The LA Binder: This is OPTIONAL (but encouraged) for Wand.  If you chose to forgo this extra tool, feel free to simply discuss the rules or make wall hanging posters for each.  Some rules can be added to the outside of the Vowel Chart as the program progresses.  You will see pictures and find instructions on how to manage rules throughout the Wand.

Front outside of Vowel Chart can display rules or these rules can be in a LA Binder

(Front outside of Vowel Chart can display rules or these rules can be in a LA Binder)






(Vowel Chart - inside view (this took many many months to make and it is not complete yet)Vowel Chart - inside view; this took many many months to make and it is not complete yet)




Note on Unit 1: Unit 1 is very short, because it reviews what students likely know.  The reading may be simple for your student, but we are transitioning to uncontrolled text which increases the reading challenge. Many children move quickly through the first unit and those lessons may be combined within a week. This is a chance for the educator to learn the rhythms of the Wand and to be sure kids are using good skills successfully. The difficulty level increases as you continue through the Wand, when you will likely need to slow down. Again, be sure to work at the student's pace.

What is for educators and what is for the student?  

In the Wand, the only thing the child reads in the guide is the actual literature and copywork passage.  (Most of us make a separate copy of the passage for the child to read and mark up as they learn.) 

Text in lavender-colored, rounded boxes are "lessons" meant to be given by the educator in working with the child.  Inside these lavender lesson boxes are explanations of what to say, activities to do, images of things to create (like the Vowel Chart), and videos to help you see how the Wand works.  Anything written outside the lavender lesson boxes is meant for the parent's own education.  If you find something in those sections that you think your child might like to learn about, go ahead!

How I organize our "stuff" for Wand 

This is so different for each family—and each student.

I follow RIL's ideal to "work to a level of success," so be sure to base lessons on the amount of time a student can attend and be successful. The Wand Guidelines suggest 20-30 minutes a day on lessons, plus a second session to do some reading practice. My first kiddo could not do that much at once. We had to do 10-15 minute chunks, so I usually split the lessons in half and stretched a lesson over two or more weeks. You have the freedom to choose what works best!

Vowel Chart in the original Wand.(Vowel Chart in the original Wand.)




Folders and Charts are added a piece at a time throughout Wand so that the educator and child are not overwhelmed. These include:

1) Vowel Chart
2) Sticky Sound Chart
3) Sticky Spelling Folder (This is one I added for myself to protect our weekly Post-it Notes for Sticky Spelling)
4) Affix Chart

The Vowel Chart: This is a reference tool made by and used by your student.  Each student should have his/her own.  It takes months and years to complete, and there are images throughout Wand to show how it slowly grows.  DO NOT build it for your child, but WITH your child.   And be sure to ONLY add the vowels you have covered in lessons.  Our Vowel Charts are always in reach and my kids are always allowed to reference them if they need help, even during copywork and dictation. The Vowel Chart is like a "second brain" and used often for review as well.  The Vowel Chart starts in Level 1, Unit One, Lesson 4 of the (Remodeled) Wand.


Sticky Sound Chart layered sounds example for /k/ sound.Sticky Sound Chart: This is a file folder full of sticky notes for each sound, separated by consonants, consonant digraphs, and vowels. Sticky notes are manipulatives that are rearranged often for review and lessons.  Eventually, I had to add a flap for the vowels because we ran out of room.  You can see an example of this in the recording of the Live QA session that was hosted by Rita and Claire on September 17, 2020. This folder begins being built in Level 1, Unit 2, Lesson 3 in the Remodeled Wand.

(Sticky Sound Chart layered sounds example for /k/ sound.)

Sticky Sound Chart: vowels. (Sticky Sound Chart: vowels.)





Sticky Spelling Chart - sticky notes for the week stores inside the folder.Sticky Spelling Chart: I created a folder that I use for the week's sticky notes in the Sticky Spelling practice. (The words for the lesson are found in boxes on the overview page of each week, titled Caution & Common Words).  I laminated the outside of a file folder so that we could write on it, making sentences with spelling words and such, then wipe it clean for the next lesson.  I house the sticky notes inside the file to protect them since we reuse sticky notes often throughout the week.

(Sticky Spelling Chart - sticky notes for the week stores inside the folder.)


My Weekly Wand Schedule

***This is based on RIL suggested weekly schedule.***  You can read about it by clicking here.

This schedule is assuming use of the (Remodeled) Wand - Level One. I follow RIL's ideal to "work to a level of success," so be sure to base lessons on the amount of time a student can attend and be successful. 

Every day: Read through the copywork passage for the lesson we are on.  This is the centerpiece for all the language work of the week!

Monday: Read the book and discuss literary elements. Review Vowel Chart and do phonics lessons with Common Words (if time).

Tuesday: Complete phonics lessons and Common Words. Review Vowel Chart. 

Wednesday: Complete any grammar and Word Study lessons and Caution Words. Review Vowel Chart. 

Thursday: Review overall mini-lessons, Pre-teach and mark passage to prepare for Copywork, then engage in Intentional Copywork and Intentional Editing.

Friday: Review any of the lessons as needed, Pre-teach and mark passage for dictation, then engage in Intentional Dictation and Intentional Editing.

I usually have my kiddos practice handwriting M-W also, but I do not require handwriting practice on Copywork and Dictation days because it might zap their writing power.

Note: My son who struggled would have done single lessons more than once and/or spread over 2-3 days, so his schedule looked VERY different. 

Weekly schedule

Weekly schedule


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