Did you know that I’m creating a giant resource for teaching spelling in a hands-on, meaningful way? It follows the principles of Word Study — an approach to teaching that allows each child to work at his or her own developmental level. Word Study involves sorting words by pattern, studying the relationships between words, and using hands-on activities like word sorts and games to internalize the spellings.
Because my Six is learning long vowel pattern words, that’s the stage of spelling that I’m starting with. Word Study calls it the Within Word Pattern stage. Here are the lessons we’ve shared so far:
- Lesson #1: Short a, a-consonant-e
- Lesson #2: Short a, a-consonant-e, ai
- Lesson #3: Long a: a-e, ai, ay
- Lesson #4: Short e, ee, -e
- Lesson #5: Long e: ee, ea
This week’s sort was a little tricky — it involved spelling ea words. But not just the ones that follow that old spelling rule, “When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking.” Word Study moves beyond those unreliable rules and teaches kids to sort words by pattern. You’d be surprised how many words break that rule!
Here was our word sort (get it in the pack at the end of the post). You’ll notice we have some plain old short e words (like vest and shell) mixed in. Why? Kids sort the words based on pattern. They see that some short e words spell the vowel sound with just an e. But others are tricky and add in that a (as in bread and dread).
Often my daughter can figure out the sort without me telling it to her – but this one was tricky. We sorted the words into three columns:
1) words that spell short e with “e”
2) words that spell short e with “ea”
3) words that spell long e with “ea”
When teaching Word Study, it’s important to give your child plenty of practice sorting the words. Visit a post from This Reading Mama for many different ways to sort words.
Every week, we include at least one spelling game in our Word Study lessons. Since we did this lesson during a cold Midwest winter, I created a winter-themed spelling game (learn more about it here). My daughter loved Snowball Spelling because it gave her the extra challenge of spelling some winter words alongside her spelling words.
Looking for a game you can use with this word list that’s not winter-themed? Check out one of these (yup, they’re all free!):
Besides sorting the words and playing games, I often add a pencil and paper component to our lessons. This time I created a crossword puzzle. My daughter, who loves word searches, wasn’t too excited about this one. But I wanted her to think about the words’ meanings as well as give her practice writing them (get it in the printable pack below).
Another activity we did was a new one – I found the idea over at Teach Mama’s fabulous post, 20+ Ways to Learn Spelling Words. I created a document that allowed my daughter to spell the words on staircases — you can see what I mean in the image above. (I corrected the errors and included this in your pack as well.)
After about a week of sorting and spelling activities, I gave my daughter a test. She did great! We’ll soon be moving on to our next lesson: short and long i words.
Here’s what’s included in the pack:
pages 2….word list
pages 3-8…large word list for pocket chart
page 9… crossword puzzle
page 10….Spelling on Stairs
pages 11-18…Snowball Spelling game
And if you’re looking for printable games that you can use with any word list, we highly recommend this ebook. Many of the games are editable!
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