Literacy

The following are the District 123 English Language Arts trimester calendars by grade level:

Parent Roadmaps to the Common Core State Standards
(Resource from the Council of Great City Schools – www.cgcs.org)

Words Their Way – Word Study

Words Their Way is a word study approach designed to teach students phonics, spelling, and vocabulary through engaging, hands-on activities.  This sequential word study program challenges each individual student by having them focus on the spelling words appropriate for their own level and also allows students to progress through the spelling levels at their own speed.  Each week begins with a word sort focus in which students will learn to sort, compare and contrast word features in each category, make discoveries, become fluent readers, and increase their vocabulary through word meanings.

Why a “word study” instead of a “traditional” spelling program?

Research studies clearly indicate that memorization of lists of “spelling words” does not promote the development of spelling skills.  In the past when we’ve used this traditional approach of “everyone gets the same weekly list and test on Friday”, many students who received 100% on their weekly spelling test could not spell most of the words in their writing.  Memorizing a list of words and getting 100% on weekly tests does not necessarily mean a child is a good speller.  It may just mean they are good at memorizing words for a test.

What is word study?

Word study is just what it sounds like – a study of words.   Word study provides students with opportunities to investigate and understand the patterns in words.  Knowledge of these patterns means that students needn’t learn to spell one word at a time.  Student’s lists will be on a word study pattern (example – short a, short e, blends, suffixes).  The quiz will be on the pattern from that week with about 15 words being called aloud as students write them and an additional 3 words that fit the pattern but might not have been on the list.

What are the students doing in class?

The heart of word study is sorting or the process of grouping sounds and words into specific categories.  Word/picture sorting includes teacher-directed sorts as well as independent or partner sorts.  Students will sort their word cards or picture cards and make discoveries or generalizations about the conventions of the English language.  They will compare and contrast word features and discover similarities and differences within the categories.