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Word Study. Grades 4-6 July 4, 2007. Ruth McQuirter Scott, Ed.D. Word Study - Definition. A student-centred approach to phonics, spelling, and vocabulary instruction that actively engages the learner in constructing concepts about the way words work. Kathy Ganske,

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word study

Word Study

Grades 4-6July 4, 2007

Ruth McQuirter Scott, Ed.D.

word study definition
Word Study - Definition
  • A student-centred approach to phonics, spelling, and vocabulary instruction that actively engages the learner in constructing concepts about the way words work.

Kathy Ganske,

Word Journeys, 2000






School Plan







children s word knowledge
Children’s Word Knowledge
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Begin with what teachers know.
  • Driving question:

“What do you want your students to know and be able to do in word study (spelling, vocabulary, grammar, word choice) by the end of Grade ___?”

what this writer
What this writer …

Knows about …

. Spelling

. Grammar

. Punctuation

. Vocabulary

Needs to learn about …

. Spelling

. Grammar

. Punctuation

. Vocabulary

cloze assessment
Cloze Assessment

*deduct point when an extra letter added

  • Ontario Curriculum: Language, 1-8
  • Support Resources: Ministry of Education

. Expert Panel Report

. Support materials

  • Board/District Literacy documents
continuum of language development
Continuum of Language Development

The specific expectations of the Ontario Curriculum: Language reflect progression in knowledge and skills from grade to grade through:

(1) the wording of the expectation;

(2) examples given in parentheses; and

(3) teacher prompts that may follow the expectation.

examples and teacher prompts
Examples and Teacher Prompts
  • Help to clarify the requirements specified in the expectation;
  • Suggest the intended depth and level of complexity of the expectations;
  • Model appropriate practice for the grade;
  • Meant to serve as illustrations for teachers.
“Teachers can choose to use the examples and teacher prompts that are appropriate for their classrooms or they may develop their own approaches that reflect a similar level of complexity.” p.8
writing vocabulary 3 3 grade 6
Writing: Vocabulary 3.3 -- Grade 6
  • Confirm spellings and word meanings or word choice using a variety of resources appropriate for the purpose.
(e.g. locate entry words, multiple meanings, pronunciation guides, charts of spellings of sounds, inflected forms, suffixes and prefixes, primary and secondary stresses, different pronunciations, idioms, and homographs in online and print dictionaries; use thematic dictionaries such as a word game dictionary or a homonym dictionary; use a thesaurus to explore alternative word choices)
  • What effective word study is NOT:
    • Word walls that become a crutch for students;
    • Spelling texts that are used in a rote fashion;
    • Wide reading and writing without explicit instruction.
keys to effective word study
Keys to Effective Word Study
  • Active engagement of students and teacher in exploring and talking about language;
  • Teacher models an excitement about language and generates excitement among students;
  • Wide variety of literature genres for reading; students explore many writing forms.
keys to effective word study continued
Keys to Effective Word Study - continued
  • Systematic attention to word study;
  • Explicit teaching of word study principles in reading, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, word choice;
  • Word study addressed throughout the content areas.
keys to effective word study continued17
Keys to Effective Word Study - continued
  • Word study addressed through a variety of instructional approaches:
    • Cooperative Learning
    • Modelled/shared/guided/independent reading and writing
    • Mini-lessons
    • Writing Process
    • Literature Circles, etc.
key spelling principles 4 6
Key Spelling Principles: 4-6
  • Pattern Recognition:
    • Sound:
      • e.g. r-controlled vowels, schwa vowels, vowel and consonant clusters
    • Structure:
      • e.g. plurals, possessives, adding affixes, contractions
    • Meaning:
      • e.g. compound words, adding prefixes and suffixes, word origins
key spelling principles 4 619
Key Spelling Principles: 4-6
  • Strategy Acquisition:
    • Auditory: e.g., sounding out
    • Visual: e.g., highlighting letters
    • Meaning: e.g., word webs/explosions
    • Mnemonics: e.g., memory tricks
    • Tactile: e.g., letter tiles
vocabulary development
Vocabulary Development
  • Biemiller (2004):
    • 4000 word difference in vocabulary between the lowest and highest quartiles of children by the end of Grade 2;
teaching new words
Teaching New Words

1. Connect with prior knowledge.

2. Define the concept.

3. Expand the definition.

4. Deepen understanding by comparing concepts.

5. Provide multiple exposures to new concept.

  • Curriculum Services Canada
    • Live Streaming Webcasts
      • Effective Instruction in Reading Comprehension
      • October 25, 2006
      • Segments: 17-22 (Word Study components)
a school wide focus
A School-wide Focus
  • Importance of a team approach;
  • Bringing the principal onboard;
  • Strategies currently in use;
  • Sharing time.