Let's Talk... Word Work!

Photo source from (Growing my Kindergarten)

Word Work...I use this term loosely, as we all have our own definitions of what work work is. Because I’ve studied Reading Recovery, Daily Five and many other wonderful literacy programs out there; I tend to define word work as a time to focus on using letter and sound knowledge to each  individuals advantage. I group these skills  in an order for my own sanity but I know I have to look for and be aware of where everyone is at. It will never be in a linear pattern.  


However, I’m going to list it in an order that makes sense to me so I can explain how I collect data and use that data to instruct. The big skills I group into “work work” are: phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, phonics, sight word, decoding strategies, and fluency. In the upper grades 3-6, kids can began a deeper study of: vocabulary, synonyms, antonyms, homophones, etc.


For this particular post I’m going to stick with early literacy learning. I’ll began with my data collection. First I ask, What do I want to see at the beginning of the year for an average 5 & 6 year old?



Photo source (Dance to Evolve)

The average five year old should: know the alphabet, know the letters in their name, know that letters make sounds, know that letters put together make words, know how to rhyme and to hear rhymes,  know some familiar nursery rhymes, sing and dance to familiar songs, etc.


The average six year old should: know a handful of simple sight words, know how to clap syllables, understand vowels and that all words have vowels, be able to manipulate CVC onsets and rimes,


I’ve used a variety of methods to collect data. You can see  some examples of my data collection that I’ve used in past (Which is in the process of a make-over. Not sure if it will be ready before the sale-but I will discount it for the first 48 hrs, regardless) right here and here.



Photo source (NC State University)

Now on to the best part- Instruction!


I use this data for a variety of reasons. As an intervention teacher this is one of our ways to provide evidence for intervention. As a team player, I share this information with the classroom teacher to plan for classroom instruction. As a teacher, this is how I create lesson plans and activities.


I teach both small group and individual students. I do use independent work stations in my room so that I can focus on individuals. Using “my list of skills”  I create (or find)  activities that each student can practice that would best benefit them.  How does it work you ask? Take a sneak peek…I digress...(I will write a separate post here if you’re interested)

I will finish this post up with some of my Work Work activities that I’ve bundled just in time for the BTS sale! Click here for your copy:



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