Managing word work for 22 (or more!) students can be a handful. Add in accounting for differentiation and it can make your head spin! I found a program I loved to use with my kindergarten students that helped me meet each learner where they were and organize their progress. Let’s explore word work in kindergarten!
The book Words Their Way breaks this down and was my all-time FAVORITE resource that I found for this. I used a lot of the ideas from this book to help create and manage a word work system that worked well for my classroom and my little learners.
What is Words Their Way?
Words Their Way (WTW) is a developmental spelling, vocabulary, and phonics program that’s designed to fit into a balanced literacy program. This type of word study helps students learn to look at words and identify commonalities and differences to gain word knowledge. This program is based on sorting words, finding them in books and around the classroom, recording their sorts, and playing games with their words.
How can I differentiate word work for my students?
This is probably the most important part! We need to meet each child where he/she is, and push them forward to make progress. Word work is such a great way to meet kids on their level and build upon the skills they have. WTW provides assessments for you to give your students and how to interpret them. I love that I can create different groups of words depending on the levels of my students. Did I have every student in the perfect group? Not necessarily, but they were in a group with a similar range of abilities. We have to keep things practical, too. Early childhood literacy is tough because students range from non-readers to chapter book readers!
What does this look like in the classroom?
The book has detailed instructions on how to implement this program into your classroom. I’ll share what it looked like for me.
- On Monday, students would cut and sort their words, and then store them in their baggies. For kindergarten, I would give my kiddos the categories they would be using to sort their words into (i.e. ‘sh’ words and ‘ch’ words).
- On Tuesday, they would sort their words and glue them into their journals.
- On Wednesday, they would do a blind sort with a partner. This is when one partner spells/calls out a word and the other partner must put that word into the correct category.
- On Thursday, my students would go on word hunts for their words in their book tubs.
- Finally, on Friday, my students would take their spelling tests.
Yes, it does take some prep-work ahead of time, but it’s totally worth it. Once students learn the routine and the different games, they can eventually do it with little to no help.
CLICK HERE to grab this FREE print out to help you set-up a routine!
Remember that you know your students best! Keeping them engaged while progressing in word work is such an important part of any literacy program. Even if your district requires a certain program that you must use, you might be able to mix and match a little of something else in to make it better for your classroom.
How do you manage and differentiate word work in your classroom? I’d love to hear your ideas!
If you missed my previous post on how to get started with word work, you can find it HERE.
I have a ? concerning using the WORDS THEIR WAY program. Which book do you start with in kindergarten? I am not sure with the different editions. One person said the “red” book but I think that edition may have been updated. Any recommendation for the beginning of kindergarten. Some of my students know all their letters and mostly sounds and there are those who are struggling.
Any suggestions would be helpful.
Hi Maryann! You will first need to do the spelling inventory with your kids. You can find more info here! http://pdtoolkit.pearsoncmg.com/course_assets/wtw5e/Primary%20Spelling%20Inventory%20Directions.pdf Then, the inventory will tell you where to start with your kids. Some will be in the red book and others will be in the yellow book. 🙂 I never had a whole class in the same book.
Hi! Do you send home the words to the families or just the sound-spelling pattern? Also, about how long does your morning work time last? Thanks!!
With 1st grade, I would send home their words and they would repeat what we did at school–sort them, write them, etc. Morning work time was never longer than 15 minutes! I shot for 10 most days.