The Magic of Word Study with Sassy, Savvy, Simple Teaching

Word Study can look and sound different in every teacher's room. Sad to say, but sometimes it is non-existent! Manipulating words through direct instruction and various practice opportunities has huge payoffs when students independently transfer that knowledge and meaning of new words in independent reading. 

Some people are confused of what word study can be or is. This is how I infer it:

Term: Word Study
Definition: Alternative to spelling lists and traditional spelling instruction. Using multiple resources to teach students word patterns. According to multiple research, word study teaches children regularities, patterns and conventions of orthography needed to read and spell. Students transition from the alphabetic stage, to the pattern stage and lastly to the meaning stage.

As a 5th Grade ELA teacher I focus on the layer in this process of meaning! Students that are struggling in the pattern stage, I use a small group time for them to remediate.

My main focuses currently are roots, prefixes and suffixes.

I do a Root of the Week with my focus board.

Throughout the week, students work with their neighbors and independently to apply the root to known and unknown words in context. We practice writing with the words and spend time sharing new learnings. (To read more about how I incorporate my Focus Board, click HERE or on the photo above.)

Why are Roots so important to learn? Well, it's definitely an important part of building better readers. Misunderstanding words in text changes the meaning of the text. This is no good for comprehension. Plus, studying roots helps to prepare students for the meaning of specific vocabulary words in careers years after you have taught them. As educators, we all care about the people are students become. Well, adults come to a career path and having the background knowledge of roots will help them in their line of work.

I also go over prefixes and suffixes throughout the year. We learn the meanings and chart these together. Same as with the root, we spend time working with neighbors and independently to apply the new words in context. 

The biggest take-away I have learned, is NEVER to teach ONLY in isolation. When teaching any sort of Word Study, you always want to take it a step further and apply it to context. Either using it in writing or documenting it when read. When doing so in writing allow students to use a colored pencil, crayon or pen. Using colors helps leave a visual imprint in a student's memory. Therefore, repeated practices and occurrences help retain the meaning.

The Magic of Word Study with The McGrew Crew

Each week my second and third grader have a 10 word spelling list to work on through the week. Because we have home school COOP on Fridays we only have 3 days to do word work before we test on Thursdays! While the workbook has some great activities, I find that adding in some extra things throughout the week is helpful...and sometimes fun! :)

Monday:  Read and copy the words, practice using them in sentences (verbally and/or written) and complete a practice page from the book.
Tuesday: A practice page from the workbook and use Bananagrams or letter tiles to spell out words. I like a day for some type of hands-on activity with the words. Another idea is making the words from play-dough or using alphabet stamps.
Wednesday: A practice page from the spelling book, sometimes we do a practice test on the whiteboard, and a word search created at
Thursday: We play a game called Spelling Bee on the iPad. I love this app for word work because you can record the words you want and make your own lists for different profiles. It's $1.99 on the iPad but I've found it to be well worth the money!
After the games, I give my kids their spelling test! I love using the FREE ones on TPT by 1st Grade is WienerFUL. Click HERE to see the December edition Spelling Tests!

Happy Holiday's from our Crew to yours!  

The Magic of Word Study with The Learning Chambers

Word Study is super important in the elementary classroom.  This year, I am at a new school and I  have started to teach word study using Greek and Latin Roots.  Let me begin by saying that the teachers at my new school are amazing at teaching word study.  This idea is not my own but an idea from one of the amazing teachers at my new school.  It is very simple to implement and it really helps my GT students understand words and their meanings.  Here is the Greek and Latin Roots routine that I follow.

In the morning as my students arrive, I have the new roots posted on the activboard.  I pick the roots to use based on my unit of study for the day.  This example was from the day that we created and programmed our ozobot mazes.

I want to make sure that my students will use the words of study during our lesson and activity.  It really helps them visualize the meaning and apply our words of study.  My students fill out their roots sheet and add an example with the root.  Then we go over the words together and I have students write their examples on the activboard in the blank column.

During our lesson and activities, we refer back to our roots often.  I love using them as part of my content vocabulary.  It really makes the words that we study more relevant!  Do you use Greek and Latin Roots in your classroom?  I would love to hear how you implement into your word study.

The Magic of World Study {with Stephany from Primary Possibilities}

These are some of my favorite ways to practice words in the classroom.  They would work with anything from sight words to vocabulary words!

I make these flip folders for my students at the beginning of the year.  You glue a sheet with lines (the line size and number depends on how many words you assign your students to learn each week) in a file folder.  Laminate the entire file folder and then cut two slits to make 3 flaps.  Students write the words under the first flap and then practice under each flap without looking.  

Another great way to practice words is hands on.  Kiddos love play-doh and my friend Stephanie over at Primary Possibilities has these great sight word mats.  You can pick them up HERE.

If you are looking for a fun way to get students to practice throughout the week at home, you can grab up these STAR spelling freebie.  Students choose from several options throughout the week to practice their words.    You can grab it up for FREE HERE.

Wiki Sticks are always an easy standby for word work.  Keep them in a container with a list of words and your students will always have something easy to grab up when they are finished early with another activity.

I love keeping these Word Wall cards on hand in my classroom.  There are tons of fun ways to practice sight words with different motions and voices.  You can grab them up by clicking HERE

What are your favorite ways to practice words in the classroom?

The Magic of Word Study & a FREEBIE {Tickled Pink in Primary}

At the beginning of the year, when we are working on letter sounds, we use these building word cards. Students fill in missing beginning, middle, or ending sounds and record the answer on the worksheet. You can find this activity here
Another way to work on filling in missing sounds is at our stamping center. Students LOVE using stamps! I use this center all year and just simply switch out the worksheets for the alphabet, letter sounds, CVC words, etc. You can grab a few of these stamping worksheets FREE in my TPT store here
I made these sound spinners so students can easily see that by substituting just 1 sound, they can make new words! I created spinner for beginning, middle, and ending sounds.  Students simply spin the wheel to show a new sound, read the word, then lift the flap to see if the picture matches the word they read. Then students will spin a new sound to make a new word! Each set of sound spinners comes with a worksheet for students to provide their answers. You can grab these sound spinners in my TPT store here
These CVC word cards are an easy way to help students practice building simple words. You can use magnetic letters, playdoh, dry-erase markers, etc. for added fun! You can find them in my TPT store here.
 During my small group, we use these mini cups to work on word families. I gave students a cup with a red word family on it. They then had a stack of blue letters, and put one letter in front of the word family to make a new word. Next, they could stack another blue letter on top of the other cup to make a new word. The word family cup (red) doesn't move until they've built 5 words. They can then get a new word family and start making new words. Eventually, I'll add harder word families and blend/digraphs instead of just 1 letter on the cups. 
Another way to work on word families is with these word families mats I got years ago from Lakeshore. I love that they are dry-erase and give the students a picture clue for the word family. My students really enjoy using these mats, and they seem to catch on to the idea of word families quickly. My students love to show me when they use a blend or digraph to make a bigger word. Word families are an easy way to help build student confidence in reading!
One of my students FAVORITE activities is Fluency & Fitness! I have created over 50 different sets so we can work on these for any and every skills possible. I love doing these because students can work on academics, get in some exercise for a brain break, and I don't lose any instructional time. You can find all of my Fluency & Fitness bundles here


The Magic of Word Study

Happy December friends! This month we're discussing how we make word study work in our rooms. For me, it changes ALL the time. In kindergarten, word study is mostly a letter study. Who doesn't love focusing and studying a particular letter? Here's a few things that I do when focusing on the letters.

I love using these letter riddles. I read the riddle to them and we figure out which letter it is. They are super easy for the kids to guess and it helps them think about the way each of the letters are formed or the sound the letter makes. We usually add this little letter/picture flipper to it as well. They have to sort between pictures that do/do not begin with that sound and glue the correct ones down.

Another favorite is our bucket of words that we add to our reading notebook as well. They use these later when we are writing or thinking back for certain words that begin with a certain letter. We add a sticky note on top to keep the letters from falling out when they're handling their notebooks. Super simple word sort makes our "letter study" so much fun.

Just another example of our letter sort. We say each picture and make the beginning sound. This is one of the easiest ways to help students distinguish the all words don't make the same sounds. These activities above are all from my Alphabet Interactive Notebook.

In first grade, we do actual word studies as we study word families, vowel patterns, and so on. One of my newest favorite things to do is to use these interactive powerpoints. Earlier in the year, we reviewed our short vowels. These were EXTREMELY easy to use in centers, whole group and I even used them a few times during small group.

Here's a quick video into what one looks like.

We use our iPads the most, but we've also used our lined whiteboards to practice writing the letters correctly on the lines. I found some lined whiteboards at Lakeshore a few years ago. They were not the full sized white boards, but a long rectangle with only one line on them. These are PERFECT for writing just one or two words. We use these all the time for word study and in small group. (I forgot to snap a picture of these!)

When we focus on word families, I love to put up our Word Family anchor charts. This was a HUGE hit in kindergarten. We practiced word families using word searches, word family booklets, a search and find and through reading/writing/stamping. For a word study to be effective, you have to completely allow your students to word solely on that skill.

Word study really isn't that hard to implement. Find something simple that the kids will enjoy and use that! My kids also love things like this! When we worked on plural nouns, this was a quick way to allow them to practice adding s, seeing it visually and reading each of the words. We used these in small group and practiced that skill within two minutes.

What's your favorite way to work on words?

Word Work Checklists {...with Mrs.Plemons' Kindergarten}

Do you have a love hate relationship with word study in your classroom? I know I've tried a million different routines but I always struggle with figuring out how to differentiate for student needs. But then in a magically moment of wisdom I came up with a simple one page printable that saves me loads of sanity!
Truth be told I hate figuring out what to have my students do right away in the morning when they come in. I struggle with not wanting to give them busy work but still wanting to get them engaged in learning right away.  That's why I decided to create a simple word work checklist that students can do first thing in the morning when they arrive.

To differentiate these checklists, I first decide which words my students need to work on. Depending on the students' abilities and the time of year the word lists may include their name, sight words, color words, word families, spelling patterns, etc. I do hand write all of my students words on their lists each week but often I have groups of kids with the same words, so I am able to write it once then copy it for each kid to save some time.
Then when students come in for the day they grab their list and pick from 8 (or more) choices to practice their words.  They pick one choice for that morning and color it on their paper. I ask them to choose a different activity each day.  Here are 8 of the "all the time" options I have. 

Play Dough




Rainbow Write




I also add up to 3 additional choices each week to keep things interesting and I usually just draw/write those on the bottom quickly before copying.  Some of the other options I add include:

Alphabet Beads, Stamps, Tiles, Magic Words (write with white crayon then water color paint over), Clothespins, Squishy Bags (ziplok bags filled with hair gel, write with Q-tip), and Dot Stampers.

You can grab the FREE printable word work checklist here:

I hope you can use this idea in your classroom to help simplify your work work and cut down on the prep work you need to do!