Words Their Way
Word Study vs. Traditional Spelling
Traditional spelling lists assess one thing—memory!
Students often do not transfer memorized spelling words into their writing.
Research indicates that memorization of lists of “spelling words” does not promote the development of spelling skills.
Traditional spelling programs are a “one-size fits all” model and do not allow for differentiation.
Overview of Word Study
Our phonics, spelling, and vocabulary program.
Teaches students to notice regularities, patterns, and conventions of the English language.
Increases specific knowledge of words– the spelling and meaning of individual words
Instruction is individualized and teaches students at their stage of development.
Helps students become better readers and writers and allows what they learn in Word Study to transfer over into other content areas.
Three Layers of Word Study
Alphabet : relationship between letters and sounds
Pattern : groupings of letters
Meaning : spelling based on meaning
Word Study Developmental Stages
Within Word Pattern
Syllables and Affixes
Derivational Relations Characteristics
Work in the Classroom
Small group instruction differentiated by spelling stages.
Each group works with words and patterns that are developmentally appropriate for their spelling stage.
Students are taught to sort, or categorize, words to analyze how they are spelled (based on sound, pattern, or meaning).
Students conduct different activities with each sort.
What is Sorting?
A word sort is a word study activity where children compare, contrast and sort words according to specific features.
It allows children to form hypotheses, explore concepts and make generalizations about the properties of written words.
Word sort activities help students link new words to the familiar ones they can already spell. They allow students to practice and reinforce their word work in a very fun and different way.
How are Students Assessed?
Developmental Spelling Inventory (2x a year)
Assessments when needed
Spelling Group “check-ins”
Writing across the curriculum
Reinforces skills and patterns from class
3-4 activities per week
Varies by class and grade level
How You Can Help at Home
If your child makes a mistake, try to use prompts, or clues to help them make the correction Examples:
“I see a word in this column that does not look right.”
“Does that word look right?”
“Think about the word pattern.”
“Let’s look at all the sounds in this word.”
Practice letter and pattern sounds
Assist your child with sorting activities
Encourage your child to read their words before beginning their homework
Communicate problems or concerns with your child’s teacher