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Word Study 101

A "crash course" in using Words Their Way by Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, and Johnston

Kadie Wilson

on 10 April 2014

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Transcript of Word Study 101

Word Study 101
Participants will...
Gain an understanding of word study and its benefits
Develop the skills to assess word knowledge level of students
Learn the different types of sorts
Create a weekly plan
Become famliar with resources to support word study
What is
Word Study?
Literacy is comprised of intertwining threads of oral language, orthography, reading, stories, and writing.

Word Study is exploration that mimics basic cognitive learning processes; comparing and contrasting categories of word features and discovering similarities and differences. It encourages critical thinking.
Layers of Orthography
Letter Name-Alphabetic
K to mid Gr2
Within a Word
Syllables & Affixes
Gr 3-8
Derivational Relations
Study of features must match word knowledge of learners
Within each stage...
What students can do correctly, independently, and easily
What students use but confuse - instructional
What is absent from spelling - frustration
Spelling Inventories
If a child can spell a word, he or she can read it...this does not often work in the other direction.

Step 1: Select an inventory, give assessment just like a traditional spelling test, but do NOT allow children to study words first.

Step 2: Analyze using feature guide.

Step 3: Organize groups using classroom composite form.

Step 4: Monitor progress weekly to look at features taught, then at least 3 times per year with inventory.
Scoring the Inventory
Mark each word right or wrong...power score...using feature guide

Look to the right of each word and check off each feature represented correctly.

After scoring each word, add the checks in each column and record total score at bottom as ratio of correct features. Add total features score across bottom to words spelled correctly. This gives overall score that can be used to look at growth over time.

Common Confusions
Letter reversals (i.e. b/d/p) should be noted but seen a letter intended to be represented

Kinetic reversals (letters out of order) should be credited for sounds represented but not spelling word correctly

Instruction should begin where student makes two or more errors on a feature. (Consider the totals across the bottom of the form.)
Classroom Composite
Staple individual tests to feature guide. Sort papers by total power score or total feature score. Record names on classroom composite form in rank order.

Record individual student score from bottom row of his/her feature guide in row next to name on composite chart.

Highlight cells in whic studnets make more than one error on a particular feature. These show need for instruction. Do NOT highlight cells with score of zero. Look for instructional groups.
Organizing Sorts
Avoid giving rules...allow students to discover. Rather than memorizing 20 words for a test, students construct knowledge that can be applied to reading and writing.

Different from phonics...
Hands-on manipulation
Students work with words/pictures they know, sorting from known to unknown requires concentrating on analysis of patterns and sounds
Analytic - builds on known words
Does not rely on rote memorization
Efficient - doubles or triples examples studied
Easier to differentiate
Types of Sorts
Sound Sorts
Use pictures or words

Pictures - sort by initial sounds, final sounds, blends, digraphs, rhyming, vowel sounds; Develop phonological awareness and vocabulary

Words - can draw attention to sounds or spelling patterns
Blind sorts - students asked to sort by sounds heard in words based on a key word or picture, without seeing word; Can place or write word in correct column
Pattern Sorts
Using the printed form of words, sort by visual patterns made by groups of letters or sequences

Letter-name spellers often sort into word families or rime

Within a word spellers sort into groups by vowel patterns

Syllable and affixes spellers sort into groups by patterns of consonant/vowels at syllable juncture

Pictures not typically appropriate, but can be mixed in to remind students to listen to sounds or as column heads
Meaning Sorts
Students learn how meaning can influence spelling

Spelling meaning sorts -
Grammatical categories by parts of speech
Derivational - root words
Concepts sorts -
links vocabulary into instruction
Good to use in content areas to build background knowledge
Good for looking at vocabulary in reading
Beneficial for students who are English language learners
Approaches to Sorting
Teacher-directed closed
Teacher-directed open
Student-directed closed
student-directed open
Closed Sort
Commonly used to introduce sort
Teacher defines categories - explicit
Demonstrate - Sort & Check - Reflect - Extend
Look at words/pictures, name them
Establish categories - "What do you notice?"
Introduce letter cards/pics/key words as column headers and start sorting; After modeling turn it over to students, correct errors immediately
Model how to check, reveal any oddballs, have students sort a second time, on own or with partner, and do not address errors until end
Reflect on what words in columns had in common
Extend - sort, draw and label, notebooks, games

Teacher-Directed Open Sort
"Guess My Category"
Set up key words/pictures but don't explain
Sort 2 or 3 examples into each group, then pick and example and have student place it into a group, continuing until all examples are sorted
Ask students to guess the categories and describe them
Check and reflect, then have students practice on their own

Student-Centered Closed Sort
As students become more proficient at sorting
Students receive their own words with key words/headers
Sort independently, setting aside any unfamiliar words
Call students together after to check, describe features, and discuss any unfamiliar words
Remind students to watch for oddballs
Student-Centered Open Sorts
Demands highest level of independent effort
Students receive words with no key words or headers
Students read through words, setting aside any unfamiliar to them
Determine categories and sort
Explain categories to you, then establish key words so everyone in group in sorting in the same way based upon skill being taught
Extensions and Follow-Ups
Repeated Sorts
Buddy Sorts
Blind Sorts
Writing Sorts
Blind Writing Sorts
Word Hunts
Speed Sorts
Draw & Label/Cut & Paste
Preparing Word Sorts
Choose feature based on what was confusing in inventory
Contrast between at least two features
Copy word sheet - have students color back before cutting so they can identify any lost words...use baggie/envelope to save words
Possibly prepare sets for younger students with challenges cutting
Make sorts easier or harder by changing the number of words or contrasts, looking at the level of similarity of the contrasts, adding/omitting words with digraphs or belnds
Including oddballs (one to three per sort if included)
Scheduling the
Word Study Block
Determine daily routine...see examples of weekly schedules, homework schedules and parent letters (p. 74-83)

When assessing you don't need to call every word, you can add bonus or transfer words that are new but have studied features

Give credit for category and for spelling correctly

After assessments, decide if students need to revisit features, look at new features, move on to new group
Take the time to teach sorts and establish routines!!!
Ten Principles
of Word Study
1. Look for what students use but confuse
2. A step backward is a step forward - begin where they are successful
3. Use words students can read
4. Compare words that "do" with those that "don't"...contrasts are essential
5. Sort by sight and sound
6. Begin with obvious contrasts
7. Don't hide exceptions
8. Avoid rules (i.e. when two vowels go walking...)
9. Work for automotacity...speed and accuracy
10. Return to meaningful contexts...word hunts
* Words Their Way, 5th edition, p. 87-90
Remember...teaching is not telling!
Words their Way...pd tool kit online


Word sort companion volumes

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