Thursday, October 28, 2010

Word Study

Word Study is work that we do to support both our writing and our reading. One focus in word study is finding the patterns in words. We can identify "chunks" or rimes that a group of words have in common. For example, the chunk -an is in many simple consonant-vowel-consonant words. The word "can" is on our Word Wall and knowing it can help students recognize others words, such as man and van.

We have been adding 5 words a week to our Word Wall. These are all frequently used words or popcorn words, as some call them, because they pop up a lot. The goal is that these words become part of the children's reading and writing vocabularies, part of the words that the children can read and write without having to break them down.

For practicing our Word Wall words I use an activity from About the Author: Writing Workshop with our Youngest Writers by Katie Ray Wood with Lisa B. Cleaveland. Every Monday I give each student a sheet that has five of our word wall words plus a checklist of ways to practice those words. Students get to choose which 5 ways to practice the assigned words. Choosing how to practice the words adds to the students' investment. The list includes everything from rainbow words (writing the words using different colors) to making the words with manipulatives such as letter stamps, Wikki Sticks, or Unifix letter cubes to using a pointer to find the words on the Word Wall. The students enjoy exploring the different ways, and each is developing favorites. They are becoming more comfortable with the 5 Ways routine, so that we are using this time more efficiently.

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