Overview

What is Words Their Way?
Words Their Way is a research based developmental approach to phonics, vocabulary, and spelling instruction.  It is a hands-on approach to practice hearing sounds in words, as well as spelling patterns in words.  It allows students to manipulate words and/or pictures into different categories.  This sorting process helps students analyze and examine, compare and contrast, and differentiate the patterns in words.  This hands-on approach not only motivates students to practice spelling words but it also helps students generate new words within this pattern.  In the beginning of the year, students were given a Spelling Inventory that helped determine at which spelling stage students were performing.

Helpful Tips for Picture Sorts

  • The sort name is written at the top of the word list; this correlates to the answer keys on the left.
  • Each spelling list has headers that show what the focus sounds are for the week.
  • Students have to HEAR what the words have in common and sort according to this.
  • Words are not meant to be written in rote fashion.  The objective is for students to learn and understand the sounds that are being focused on and what letter(s) represent those sounds.

Helpful Tips for Pattern Sorts

  • The sort name is written at the top of the word list; this correlates to the answer keys on the left.
  • Each spelling list has headers that show what the sorting pattern is for the week.
  • The key words are in bold and represent one of the most common words with that pattern.
  • Students have to HEAR what the words have in common and SEE what they have in common.
  • Words are not meant to be  written in rote fashion.  The objective is for students to learn and understand the spelling patterns and apply this understanding to words with similar patterns.

Words Their Way Language

Sorting - organizing words into groups based on similarities in their sounds, patterns or meaning.

Oddballs - words that cannot be grouped into any of the identified categories of a sort.  There are always words that "break the rules" and do not follow the general pattern.  Students should be able to explain how the words "break the rules" and why the oddballs don't fit into any of the categories.

Sound marks / / - Sound marks around a letter or pattern tell the student to focus only on the sound rather than the actual letters. For example, the word gem could be grouped into the /j/ category because it sounds like j at the beginning.

Vowel (represented by V) - one of 6 letters causing the mouth to open when vocalized (a, e, i, o, u, and usually y).  A single vowel sound is heard in every syllable.

Consonant (represented by C) - all letters other than the vowels.  Consonant sounds are blocked by the lips, tongue, or teeth during articulation.