Word Study

Spelling Practice Unleashed: Strategies for Success

Spelling practice is an important component of any literacy program.  I use word work as part of my middle school intervention classroom. Sorting words, speed sorts, writing fluency, and deeper analysis of a new word are all part of spelling practice activities.

Word Sorts help recognize Spelling Patterns

Students need opportunities to analyze patterns in words. Looking at the spellings of words and how they can be grouped together help students connect words that are alike.  For example, students may sort words by digraphs, vowels, prefixes, suffixes, and syllables. With repetition and practice, students can sort the words more fluently. I also use speed sorts in my classes around the third day of studying a word list. Students use an online stop watch and time themselves for baseline data. Then, they record that time. Students face the challenge of beating their own time. They sort the words again and record their new time. The students see improvement in their speed sort right before their very eyes!

Spelling Pyramids Provide More Practice

Students use spelling pyramids to practice spelling their words.

Spelling pyramids give students the opportunity to chant the word in their head as they write the word in the pyramid. For example, “storm.” (s-st-sto-stor-storm) Students become fluent spellers with practice. This gives students an opportunity to practice writing their spelling words as well as paying close attention to the patterns in the words. Typing or writing word lists is a great way to become a better speller. Also, students enjoy picking different colors to type or write their spelling words. Anytime students are given choices within an assignment, they seem to take more ownership.  That makes it a win/win.

Word Map Analysis Improves Vocabulary

Students expand their vocabulary knowledge with a word map.

Students select a word from their spelling list that is new to them.  I have them use a four square word map organizer. Students write their spelling word in the middle of the map.  One of the squares could be for the meaning of the word, another square is for using the word in a sentence, the third square is for synonyms, and the fourth square is for antonyms. The four square organizer is editable so you can customize it how you like.

Vocabulary is an important component to understanding text. The more students read, the more vocabulary they are exposed to. Vocabulary activities are important to comprehension.

You may be interested in reading Prefix Worksheets can Strengthen Vocabulary.

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