Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Phases of Word Study

I did not begin tutoring my first grade students until January and was shocked by the difference between a first grader and a second grader at mid-year. I quickly realized that the pace of the two grades is vastly different and that I would have to use different techniques to engage my first graders. It took me a while to find a balance of work for them which was challenging but would not overwhelm my students and cause them to shut down. I found that word study was something that met this criteria. In this post, I am going to chronicle the stages I used to help my students master each set of word study words.  

Step 1: Introduce the students to the words. On the first day, I ask the students to cut the words out. Next, as a group, we read the words and identify the sounds we are practicing. For example, while using the word study list below, we practiced the short e,i,o, and u sounds.  

Step 2: Practice, Practice, Practice. For the next few tutoring sessions, I would have my students spend the last 10-15 minutes of our tutoring session practicing how to sort and read these words. With each word set, I would provide them with a sheet to sort on with separate columns for each of the word sounds. I have some perfectionists on my hands who become easily stressed when their lines aren't perfect. Providing a word sheet helped eliminate this problem.  

Step 3: Rainbow Write!! After I felt that my students could read the words in the sort easily, I challenge them to rainbow write the words. My students get really excited about this step but all it encompasses is them writing the sorts down in crayon. I use this step as my way of measuring how well my student's have mastered the word list before we move on to the next one.  

Step 4: Glue the words and move on!  
For the final step, I have my students glue their word sorts down onto the paper I provided them. As they are gluing down their words, I quiz them each individually on the words to ensure that they understand the sound pattern we are practicing.  

Overall, I have been really happy with this process and my student's reaction to it. It took a while to introduce the to the process but we are now at a point where they understand the routine and practice word study without question. We have moved through a number of lists and I am pleased with their progress. 

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