Spelling is an integral part of word study. During word study, students will learn to spell words that will be useful to them in reading and writing text.
If you feel you need a spelling program that goes beyond what students are learning in the word study segment of guided reading lessons, we recommend the following:
- Reconsider using the same list of spelling words with all your students. If your students are reading at different levels of proficiency, they will be at different stages of spelling. You can differentiate your spelling by grouping students into small groups based on those high-frequency words that will be appropriate for learning and practice.
- Have students learn a few words that follow a phonics pattern used during word study. Here is an example of a spelling list for a group at Level D:
This list includes three high-frequency words that often occur in Level D guided reading books, including one with the -ed ending. There are also three words that start with the digraph sh, which you might be using in word study activities. At Level D, we recommend teaching students digraphs; learning to spell a few words with the sh digraph will help students learn some useful words that include the sounds they are working on.
- Provide students many opportunities to practice their spelling words. This can be done during an independent center time. Have students make the words with magnetic letters, write the words on dry-erase boards, do rainbow writing, write on fun surfaces like sand trays, and write with finger paint. Have students write sentences with their words and draw pictures. Create some spelling games, such as word bingo and roll and write.
- Review words long after the spelling week. If you want students to retain their spelling words in their long-term memory, it is not enough to have them learn them and then never work on them again. Have students practice by dictating sentences that include the new words AND old words they have learned. Review the words during sight word review at the beginning of each guided reading lesson.
Tic-tac-toe template, dry-erase boards and markers
Print out the tic-tac-toe template. Student 1 (o) reads a spelling word and Student 2 (x) writes it on a dry-erase board. If it is correct Student 2 can place an x on the board. First to get tic-tac-toe wins the game.
Spelling Word Race
Paper and pencils
Teacher or a student dictates the spelling words. Two players race to write each spelling word. The student who writes the word the fastest (and correctly!) gets a point. The student with the most points after writing all the words wins the race.
Roll and Write
dice, paper, pencils
Player take turns rolling the dice. Whichever player has the highest number gets to write one spelling word. Whoever writes all their words first wins the game.
Spelling Word Bingo
Bingo cards with spelling words written on them, bingo chips
Print out the bingo cards and write the spelling words on the board. Make sure the words are arranged in a different order on the bingo board. Someone calls out a spelling word or turns over a card with the spelling words. Players cover the word with a bingo chip. The first student to complete a diagonal line column or row cries out, “bingo,” and wins the game.