Our spelling approach is referred to as “Word Study," which is based on 30 years of research that has explored the developmental stages of word knowledge in children and adults (Henderson, 1990). This research has identified certain spelling errors that tend to occur in clusters and show students’ common confusions when learning new spelling patterns.
This is a hands-on method, in which children sort specific words based upon similar spelling principles and learn to make spelling generalizations. Students get many opportunities to manipulate and practice their words in a variety of ways. For this reason, this approach seems to work better than the traditional “drill, practice, test” method. Students seem to retain the spelling of these words in a more effective manner.
The purpose of Word Study is as follows:
- “To examine words in order to reveal consistencies within our written language system and to help students master recognition, spelling, and meanings of specific words.” (Words Their Way, 2008).
- This is not a one -size fits all program that starts and ends in the same place for all students. The critical piece of this program is that it differentiates instruction for different levels of word knowledge.
For weekly word lists, sorts and activities, you can access the .pdf file below.