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Reader’s Workshop MiniSeries: Episode Six: Word Study *Freebie!

It’s Episode 6 of my Reader’s Workshop miniseries! Word study is an essential and often neglected component of our reading program.

Word study can be integrated into your daily reading program, but I find that having a special time for word study ensures that I will explicitly teach the kinds of things that need to be taught explicitly. I set up a notebook and try to teach word study skills in context. I usually use poems. Some poems I’ve written myself in order to address specific skills. Others came from these sources:
On Monday, kids glue the poem into their notebooks. We identify the pattern in the words used in the poem (for example, scr blend, /ou/ vowel team, re- prefix). Students mark up the poem to notate the word pattern. Throughout the week, we work with the words, creating lists using the pattern, manipulate the words, or work with other word patterns we find in the poem. On Friday, we write our own version using the poem as a model. Very fun.

Later, I put the poem on an easel, and students can mark it up with dry erase markers.
 These are the kinds of things I teach during a third or fourth grade word study. 

Phonics Skills
I know, the big kids should know them. But guess what: they don’t! We still have a lot of kids in the upper grades who are missing this basic key to reading. 
Several years ago, I was blessed to participate in a short training given by our dyslexia teacher and our Literacy Leader. They provided us with some tools that could help our kids be successful. They shared blends, vowel teams, and syllable types with us that are necessary for student success in decoding. By third grade, kids have had several years of these. However, a lot of mine had missed the boat and needed more reinforcement, so I spent some time at the beginning of the year reviewing these necessary pieces of English code.

Everything that I had on the wall, the students had a tiny version glued into their notebooks. As we learned a new component of decoding, the kids colored their little version, and I colored the big one on the wall. I stuck them on the wall behind my guided reading table so students could reference them during guided reading.
You can get the blends chart from Carl’s Corner.

Word Parts: Prefixes, Suffixes, and Root Words

For this kind of word study, I follow a similar structure as I do with phonics. We identify the prefix, determine meanings, and make lists of words. But then we do some dictionary work and identify how the word part changes the meaning of base words. 
We add the words to our anchor charts and kids can add more to this chart as the year goes on.

This word map freebie can help your kids explore the uses of word parts. Grab it free at TPT!

Context Clues

Understanding the meaning of unknown words is such a difficult task for kids. They don’t always know where to look for clues, and even if they’ve found them, they don’t always know what to do with them! So working on determining word meanings is a very important skill. 
In case you’re looking for some tools to help your kids with context clues, check out my Reading Skills Pack: Context Clues at TPT. 

To help you get your Reader’s Workshop ready & rolling, here’s a seven-page Reader’s Workshop Freebie Sampler from my Rolling Out Reader’s Workshop!

Check out the other “episodes” in the Reader’s Workshop MiniSeries:

For my complete Reader’s Workshop Pack, visit my TPT store!

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  1. Hello!
    I just came across this site and I love all the information you give! I look forward to spending more time reading and looking through your things!

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