Instructional Practices: Word Study for Elementary/Intermediate Students
The aim of the Jenks Public Schools first-sixth grade word study program is to provide students with a variety of opportunities and strategies to become effective spellers in all aspects of written communication.
Gentry and Wallace (Teaching Kids to Spell, Heinemann, 1993) state, “Spelling is a tool for writing. The purpose of learning to spell is so that writing may become easier, more fluent, more expressive, and more easily read and understood by others. Without writing, there would be little purpose in learning to spell.”
- Spelling for Writers from Mary Jo Fresch and Aileen Wheaton (1st-6th Grade)
- Phonics Lessons from Gay Su Pinnell and Irene Fountas (Kindergarten-3rd Grade)
- Students make the most progress if word study instruction and activities are based on their individual stages of spelling.
- Each week students will focus on groups of words that have similar patterns and structures. Depending upon their stages of spelling, they make be learning basic letter to sound connections, patterns found in long and short vowel sounds, structures within words like syllables, prefixes, and affixes or finally, Greek and Latin roots and stems that appear in some families of words.
- Students’ word study will also include practice and work with the instant words, those high frequency words that are used over and over again in non-fiction and fiction literature.
- Diagnostic Assessment: Teachers use formal assessment inventories i.e., Words Their Way (Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, Johnston), Fountas and Pinnell Word Study, and reviews of students' writing pieces to determine their stages of spelling.
- Ongoing Assessment: Teachers gather information about students' spelling proficiencies in a variety of ways:
- Review of students' published writing pieces and journal entries to see carryover into writing
- Analysis of students' word study activities completed during independent work time in the classroom
- Evidence gathered during guided reading small group working with words activities
- At 3rd-6th grades, weekly assessments of the words and patterns that are studied
Word Study Practice Activities
- Daily Practice: Teachers focus on helping students see patterns in words and learn rules for spelling through the word sorts and prove it!
- Primary grade teachers also use word walls, word wall activities, and making words activities to help students see patterns in words and learn sight words.
- Proofread for Spelling Errors: Teachers model strategies/tools for proofreading and give students practice in proofreading their writing pieces and correcting for spelling errors.