Authors: Smart Speech Therapy LLC
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Today I am reviewing a newly released (2019) kit (instructional guide and cards) from the Learning By Design, Inc. entitled Wordtivities: Word Study Instruction for Spelling, Vocabulary, and Reading.
The 101-page instructional guide was created to address the students’ phonological awareness, spelling, reading, vocabulary, and syntax skills by having them engage with sounds, letters, and meanings of words. The lessons in the book can be used by a variety of instructional personnel (teachers, SLPs, reading specialists, etc.) and even parents as a stand-alone word study program or in conjunction with SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing Word Study Curriculum.
The activity book is divided into two sections. The first section offers K-12 student activities for large groups and classrooms. The second section has picture card activities and is intended for 1:1 and small group instruction. Both sections focus on reinforcing 14 SPELL-Links strategies for reading and spelling to stimulate the associations between sounds, letters, and meanings of words.
- Fabulous Phonemes
- Sound It Out
- Check the Order!
- Catch the Beat!
- Listen up!
- A Little Stress Will Help This Mess!
- No Fouls!
- Play by the Rules!
- Use Rhyme This Time!
- Spell What You Mean and Mean What You Spell!
- Be Smart about Word Parts!
- Build on the Base!
- Invite the Relatives!
- Fixed the Funny Stuff!
- Look it up!
Together the listed strategies focus on simultaneously developing and strengthening phonological, orthographic, semantic and morphological knowledge during reading and writing tasks.
The kit contains a number of evidence-based “key features” as part of its contents including a:
- Sound wall
- Desktop sound chart
- Keyword picture cards (color-coded)
- Keyword picture card activities
- Student assignment sheets
- Classroom instruction lessons
- Sound symbols and allowable spellings
Whole-Class and Small Group (includes modifications) Instruction Sections contain lesson plans with a focus on the following features:
- Identification of phonemes in isolation and in words
- Segmentation of spoken words into phonemes
- Using words in spoken sentences
- Mapping sounds in words to their corresponding letters
- Identification of consonant and vowel sounds in initial, medial and final word positions
- Segmentation of spoken words into syllables
- Using words in spoken sentences
- Mapping spoken syllables to their corresponding letters
- Identifying vowel sounds in syllables with primary stress
- Identifying word meanings
- Identifying spellings of target sounds
- Identifying common sound and letter patterns and spelling rules
- Identifying spellings of rhyming parts of words
- Identifying the meanings of homophones
- Associating word meanings with spellings of homophones
- Counting and identifying morphemes in written words
- Connecting the meaning of each morpheme (prefixes, roots/bases, and suffixes) to its letters
- Paraphrasing sentences using morpheme meanings
- Evaluating phonological and orthographic features of word roots and base words in multi-morphemic words
- Defining use of multi-morphemic words in complex spoken sentences
- Identifying word relatives (words that share common base)
- Writing words multiple times to strengthen storage in long-term lexical memory
- Creating questions using words in meaningful contexts to strengthen storage in long-term lexical memor
Materials Library includes:
- Keyword images for whole class instructions
- Reproducible desktop sound charts for individual student use
- Reproducible set of keyword picture cards for individual student use
- Reproducible student assignment sheets
The kit also includes Wordtivities Companion Cloud with additional digital materials for further instruction.
The appeal of the kit for me is that it offers numerous group-based opportunities for evidence-based phonemic, morphemic, spelling, as well as reading instruction. While it appears rather daunting at first, the book actually comes with very detailed implementation instructions. Small group instruction allows for modifications with a focus on turn-taking, collaboration, and response building.
A variety of extension activities allow students to further advance their abilities to manipulate sounds, letters, and meanings of words as well as to develop depth and breadth of their vocabulary knowledge and enhance their syntax skills. An added bonus is that after the students are done working on these activities in the classroom work in therapy sessions they can continue working on them at home with their parents.
The kit offers a list of key terms for students and educators (e.g., inflectional morphemes, stressed and unstressed syllables, word classes and word relatives, graphemes, etc.) to further expand their reading-related evidence-based repertoire of terms. To me, the appeal of this curriculum is rather multifaceted. It’s very difficult to find evidence-based group instruction curriculum, and Wordtivities certainly fits the bill. It doesn’t simply focus on isolated areas pertaining to reading or spelling, but rather teaches the students to integrate all areas of language including phonology, morphology, semantics, and syntax in order to become better readers, spellers and writers.
You can find this kit for purchase on the Learning By Design, Inc. Store HERE.