About the Authors

Jean Tucker is a licensed Speech and Language Pathologist. She earned a Master's degree in Language and Literacy at Harvard University Graduate School of Education and completed the Certification Track at Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions. She is also certified in the cognitive skills curricula known as Feuerstein's Instrumental Enrichment and its corollary assessment program. She trained in the Orton-Gillingham program at the Carroll School and the Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing (LiPS) program.

Jean became involved in written-language research, instruction, and training after having observed the language skills: of low-income students when she worked in the Office of Economic Opportunity program, Job Corps; of juvenile delinquents as a State of Rhode Island probation officer; of emotionally handicapped and autistic students in a residential setting; and then of two of three of her own children. The similarities of the language difficulties among all of these children were stunning.

In 1992, Jean founded the New Hampshire Phonology and Imagery Network (NHPIN), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, which developed and conducted pertinent and affordable teacher trainings for 20 years. She served on the Board of Education in Exeter, New Hampshire for 30 years.

In her private practice, Jean worked successfully with students aged five to adult. She co-authored, with Elizabeth Haughton, Essential Word-Knowledge Skills. This work was expanded with Chris Culver and Lisa Zack-Swasey with the creation of The Spell of Language (TSOL), available at TheSpellofLanguage.com, a website with a tightly-sequenced curriculum that incorporates the necessary basic skills for reading and writing.

Chris Culver is a veteran teacher with 35 years of experience and is certified to be an elementary principal. She is certified in and has taught general special education and regular education, grades two through eight, in public schools and private settings. She is trained in and uses Orton-Gillingham, the Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing (LiPS) program, and Precision Teaching. With Jean Tucker and Lisa Zack-Swasey, she authored The Spell of Language. Currently, she teaches a general-education, third-grade class of heterogeneously grouped regular-education and special-education students.

Chris has used The Spell of Language – whole class with adaptations as needed – for more than five years, and before that, Chris helped with beta testing of lessons to teach phonological structure using the technique of phonetic analysis – in which words are coded for number, identity and order – as well as spelling, grammar, and morphology. The success she experienced in single-classroom instruction led the authors to initiate the multi-classroom pilot project in a K-8 school to determine the program's efficacy in a whole-school setting and to determine ways of introducing the program's features to teachers.

Lisa Zack-Swasey has been a special educator for over 30 years and a Specialist in the Assessment of Intellectual Functioning (SAIF) for 17 years. She has worked at the elementary and high-school levels in special schools, alternative school settings, and inclusion model programs. She has studied math instruction and assessment under Mahesh C. Sharma and incorporates hands-on math lessons into instruction. She has presented math workshops for the NH Association of Special Education Administrators, (NHASEA), for the NH Phonological & Imagery Network (NHPIN), as well as for the Association of Specialists in the Assessment of Intellectual Functioning (ASAIF) and school districts around the state of New Hampshire. Lisa offers workshops on topics including Essential Word Skills (EWKS) and Assessment of Mathematics: What Most Evaluators Don't Know. With Jean Tucker and Chris Culver, she authored a website with a tightly-sequenced and very successful curriculum that incorporates the necessary basic skills for reading and writing entitled The Spell of Language.

  • Jean C. Tucker, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
  • Chris Culver, M.Ed., CAGS
  • Lisa Zack-Swasey, M.Ed., SAIF, CAGS