Last week we dedicated time during each day to learn the new routines and activities that the children will use as “Word Work” to practice their spelling & phonics skills. These activities will be completed independently, with a buddy or in a small group.
“Word Sorts” Phonics-Based Technique
“Word sorts” are a phonics-based activity where students sort words according to their sounds and/or spelling patterns to discover sound and symbol relationships for themselves
1. Closed sorts: The teacher explains the categories (ex: short “a” as in cat and long “a” as in bake) and model the sorting process before the students sort.
2. Discovery Log Entry: After completing a sort, students reflect on what they have learned about the words and their patterns by writing their discoveries in their word study notebooks.
3. Blind sorts: This sort involves a teacher or classmate calling out a word, and student pointing to the category to which it belongs. Blind sorts help students become less focused on visual patterns (they way the word looks) and focus on the sounds of words as well.
4. Writing sorts: A combination of both closed and blind sorts, this sort involves the teacher or a buddy calling out a word, followed by the student writing the word in the proper category.
5. Speed sorts: These sorts are the same as ordinary word sorting, except that the student is timed while he/she tries to complete the task accurately and quickly. The child then completes the sort again and tries to beat his/her own best time. Speed sorts should be used only after the children have an understanding of the spelling patterns and have had guided practice using those patterns.
6. Word hunts: Students hunt through their reading and writing for words that are further examples of the patterns they are studying.
These activities will help strengthen each student’s understanding of spelling patterns and will improve their spelling overall!