Tuesday, August 10, 2010

word study

Word study is a key component of reading instruction - and according to a four blocks approach - should be about one fourth of your literacy instruction.

One way to incorporate word study is through the activity making words. The idea behind making words is to get students actively involved in creating words. Using this kinesthetic, constructivist activity keeps students attention and engaged in word study. (Nice use of edu buzz words, eh?)

Letters (either on cards, written on paper, I like to use magnets)
Surface (paper, table, or I sometimes use a cookie sheet with the letter magnets)

Come up with a "magic word" and from that word, derive smaller words, typically centered around a rime or word family. (ie, I've used the term wheelbarrow and used the rimes are, ole, ow, etc. to come up with words such as howl, owl, bowl, bow, row, etc.)

Determine the order you will have students construct the words, and think of cues. Either state the word you want them to make, or provide a clue to suggest what the words is. As you move through the words, you can say something like rearrange the letters in "bowl" to make the word "blow".

Walk the students through the activity. Let them know that all the letters can be used to make a mystery word. Students like to try and guess what the word is. End the activity with the mystery word.

Make sure the words you are asking students to make are age and reading level appropriate or you'll end up with bored/frustrated kids! Also, make sure that you gauge the attentiveness of the students to keep the activity from running too long.