It all started with a desire to be able to teach ALL children how to read and write successfully.


Mrs. Romalda B. Spalding was well educated and an exceptional educator; however, she discovered that her preparation was not adequate for teaching ALL children to read and write successfully. She searched for a reading method that empowered children to become fluent, thoughtful readers and writers. She received guidance and training from the distinguished neurologist, Dr. Samuel T. Orton, a leader and specialist in helping dyslexic and other learning-disabled children.

Birthplace and Date

Santa Rosa, Honduras on February 1, 1899

Place and Date of Death

Honolulu, Hawaii on January 29, 1994


  • Bachelor of Arts Degree, University of Illinois, 1921

  • Master of Arts and diploma, Supervisor of Elementary Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1932

Additional studies

  • Studied under Dr. Samuel T. Orton, distinguished neurologist, who specialized in helping dyslexic and other learning-disabled children

  • Mrs. Spalding tutored children under Dr. Orton’s supervision

  • Mrs. Spalding taught older children with Dr. Orton’s guidance and realized that the techniques that worked so well with the child having the most difficulty it also prevented problems from developing in other children in her classes.

  • At Dr. Orton’s invitation, she attended a course he gave to pediatricians where she learned that the method of teaching determines which pathways develop in the brain.


  • The Writing Road to Reading, with a recording of the sounds of seventy phonograms commonly used in English, William Morrow and Company, 1957, 1962, 1969, 1986, 1990, 2003

Special Honors and Awards

  • Men and Women of Hawaii, 1954, 1966, 1977

  • Two Thousand Women of Achievement, Melrose Press, London, England, 1972

  • Who’s Who of American Women, Marquis, 1975, Ninth Edition

  • Chaminade University inaugurated the Spalding Institute to carry on The Writing Road to Reading method, 1980

  • 1986 Washburn Award from Reading Reform Foundation

  • 1989 Teachers Medal from Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge

Professional and Honorary Societies

  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Chaminade University of Honolulu, 1975

  • Member, National League of American Pen Women

  • Advisor to International Montessori Society

  • Council of Advisors, Orton Dyslexia Society, 1985 until death

  • Founder and Chairman of Spalding Education Foundation, 1986 until death

Then in 1986, the Spalding Education Foundation was established in order to perpetuate the METHOD of teaching language arts.


Romalda established the foundation (now Spalding Education International) as a resource for Spalding materials, to perpetuate her method of teaching language arts, and to maintain the principles and procedures which have made The Spalding Method so effective. Spalding Education International (SEI) is a non-profit corporation. It offers courses that certify tutors, teachers, and instructors in The Spalding Method. Courses were held through contracts with schools, districts, and universities where on-site staff development was provided for schools that adopted the method as their total language arts program. Schools could also apply for SEI Accreditation.


1921-1924: Classroom teacher, Community School, St. Louis, Missouri

1924-1927: Classroom teacher, Katherine Branson School, Ross, California

1927-1931: Classroom teacher, Birch Walthen School, New York City

1932: M.A. Columbia University

1931-1941: Classroom teacher, Bronxville Public Elementary Schools, Bronxville, New York

1938-1941: Taught a boy from the middle of his kindergarten year through second grade, directly under the meticulous supervision of Dr. Samuel T. Orten. Later taught several older students under his direction.

1941-1945: Shady Hill School, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Teacher of Students with language problems from third through ninth grade. Taught each year groups of graduates from Smith, Vassar, Radcliffe, Bryn Mawr and other girls’ schools. These girls spent a year at Shady Hill School in order to learn to teach. Worked with physicians of Children’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School.

1945: Marriage to Commander Walter T. Spalding

1945-1951: Tutoring at two private schools and consulting in Hawaii

1951-1983: Member of Summer School Staff at Chaminade University of Honolulu

1956-1960: Consultant in reading to the Superintendent of Catholic Schools for state of Hawaii

1960-1981: Taught hundreds of individual students of all ages

1965-1971: Summer Instructor at Assumption College, Worcester, Massachusetts

1952-1986: Instructor of approximately 120 college credit Spalding classes of teachers and parents in mainland states, Hawaii, Alaska, and Canada.

1985-1992: Spalding consultant to more than 50 schools in mainland states and Hawaii; certified first 16 Spalding Teacher Instructors.

1994: Deceased

Now, in an effort to advance the method even further and help even more teachers learn The Spalding Method, training courses are offered online.