Today I'm going to share some tips and tricks for a flawless Word Study implementation. So off we go!
Assessment and Grouping: First things first, you'll need to figure out how to group your kiddos. You'll need to give the spelling test in the back of the Words Their Way book, and use the feature guide to determine the level each child will start at. Word study is great because it's not a right or wrong situation. The feature guide will help you see which phonics principles the children have mastered and not. My friend Carla has a great You Tube video on her blog that will touch on this assessment. See what it looks like by clicking here.
As far as grouping - I recommend no more than three different groups within your classroom. As their teacher, you'll need to provide each group with instruction and materials to enhance their knowledge of phonetic principles, so if you create more than three groups, it's going to make your life really complicated. Keep it simple: Three groups or less!
Forget days of the week: Because you're going to be guiding three groups of kids through the word sorts, you're going to have to stagger the days that you meet with them so you're able to introduce the words to the kids when they begin their new sorts. (This, and many weeks have holidays which will throw everything off!) Perhaps the following chart might be what your plans would look like:
Remember, kids sort their words first thing every day (to build automaticity) and then go on to their other task. So if you notice June 22nd - the teacher is responsible for giving group 1 and introduction to their new words and possibly giving an assessment to group 2. Teacher would begin with group one and then meet with group 2.
Also: It would be a good idea to post some kind of chart with each day and the description of activities. Then, groups numbers can be on a clothespin (or something similar) and kids have a visual of what they will do for the day. I've been looking online for a picture and just can't seem to find one!
Teach routines: Kids have to be taught the routines and procedures for each of the days. So, give your whole class the same sort for a few cycles and focus on teaching kids what the routines look like. Teach them what each day in the cycle is all about - how you meet with the teacher on day 1, how to do the vocabulary activities on day 2 and the word hunting in their Just Right books on day 3. Once you do the routines two or three times, then you'll be ready to complicate things further (for the teacher!) with three different word sorts going on!
Don't assume: As the sorts and the rules become more difficult, your students will most certainly need instruction to understand the phonetic principles, highest group included. You want to make sure all kids in the group can say each word correctly for sorting purposes. It's imperative that the teacher meets with each group on Day 1 - in addition to word pronunciation, you also need to talk about word meanings. This doesn't have to be any big deal - the kids can attempt to sort first if you need to see another group first, and then when you meet with them, they can tell you what they have trouble with. But please, see each group when they are on Day 1 of the cycle!
I hope this was helpful! If you have ideas how I can enhance something here, I'd love to hear them! Also, feel free to leave a question if something is confusing. Just because it makes sense in my head doesn't mean it does in everyone else's!
I'm also discounting my Word Study Implementation Guide by 50%! Check that out here!
Do you have some great tips and tricks for phonemic awareness or phonics? Be sure to link up with us and share them!