And, when students are studying spelling words, they often study more than just correct spelling and definitions. Depending upon their complexity, word study lists can encompass different attributes such as phonics, spelling patterns, synonyms and antonyms and even pictorial support. Just as with all skills and strategies, students need to be taught how to study.
Primary students might start by studying spelling words in the same word family, color words, or words in their classroom environment. Soon, the need to study vocabulary from content areas, academic vocabulary and words with more complex spelling patterns becomes necessary.
How to teach: Studying words is a habit we want to develop in students from an early age. Word study is the study of word parts as well as word meaning: phonics, spelling, and vocabulary practice including synonyms, antonyms, affixes and root words. Word study needs to be intentionally and explicitly taught. Students need to spend time practicing how to study as well as which words to study.
Students select the elements they want to study. For example, they can choose their study session to include images, letter sounds, parts of speech, syllables, synonyms, antonyms and the words read in a contextual sentence with a student-friendly definition. The built-in audio support makes this learning activity especially effective for emergent readers and English Language Learners (ELLs).
Teaching Tip: Word Study is great for both early readers and experienced readers alike. It is an engaging way for ELLs to become familiar with English pronunciations and the images attached to the words helps build vocabulary. Word Study is a valuable tool for students to use in literacy centers or at home.