Word Study Activities from Words Their Way

Word Study Activities from Words Their Way

The following activities come from what many consider to be the bible of word study, Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction by Donald Bear, Marcia Invernizzi, Shane Templeton, and Francine Johnston.

If you like these exercises, you might consider purchasing this book–it”s packed with even more great ideas. We thank Prentice-Hall, Inc. for their permission to link to the following lessons from the Words Their Way web site.

Lesson for the Letter Name-Alphabetic Stage

(Pre-Kindergarten to the middle of first grade)

Alphabet Sort for Different Fonts of “A” and “B”

As students identify letters in differing cases and fonts, they become better able to recognize letters in new contexts. Should you decide to continue this exercise with other letters in the alphabet, it”s quite easy to print similar pages using different fonts in your word processing program.

Lessons for the Letter Name-Alphabetic Stage

(Reading Level of Kindergarten to the middle of Grade Two)

Picture Sort for Initial F and T
Picture Sort for ch, sh, and th Digraphs

I”ve seen for myself how well “picture sort” activities help students make connections between spoken sounds and their corresponding letters or letter groups. The student will pick up a card picturing an object such as a shoe, and try to determine if it begins with “ch”, “sh”, or “th.” This simple game may supply the missing link that your student needs to “crack the code” of written language!

Word Sort for the it, ip and ill Families

Word sorts are highly effective in teaching students to find patterns that make decoding easier. Word sorts are used extensively to teach concepts from elementary word families to more sophisticated language concepts. Exercises such as this word sort enable students to more easily recognize word families, which helps in decoding new words with similar patterns.

Lessons for the Within-Word Pattern Stage

(First Grade to the middle of Fourth Grade Reading Levels)

Word Sort for Long-a Patterns, Compared to the Short Vowel Pattern
Diphthongs and Other Vowels

Lessons for the Syllables and Affixes Stage

(Reading levels of grades three through eight.)

Word Sort for Doubling Before -ed
Word Sort for Prefixes

Lessons for the Derivational Relations Stage

(Reading levels of grades five through twelve.)

Prefix Sort for astro-, photo-, bio-, chlor-, eco-, hydro-, and hypo-
Millennium Word Study and Sort
Supplementary Sort: -um, -ium

I”ve included these exercises to demonstrate how word study may be used to teach even more advanced concepts in spelling and vocabulary. But if your student is in a literacy program, he or she is likely to need practice in the earlier reading levels, above.

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