spelling MY way: WTW Week 1 routines

Beware. You are about to enter “my soapbox”…you were warned. I am going to do a little series of posts on WTW and word study in my classroom this week. I am pretty excited about because I actually enjoy it!

This post is a total spin from a comment I put on sweet Misty’s blog post yesterday. I hope she doesn’t mind. I am sure she will not because I think many teachers feel like she does when it comes to spelling.

Admit it. You know it is important to be able to spell. Thing is; it’s kind of hard to teach someone how. I have come to realize I cannot teach a child how to spell. I can expose them to new words and patterns, teach them common patterns and why they work the way they do. I am the first one to admit I knew zip-ola about phonics until I was a graduate student. That’s right. I grew up during the whole reading era! I never had any issues with reading, so I lucked out. A lot of me still thinks this way, too. Exposure and they’ll get it eventually! But that’s only going to work for those top notch students who frankly would get it without you too.

ok, enough of my ranting. I wanted to show you how I set up spelling and a typical day/week in my classroom with spelling instruction. I AM NOT AN EXPERT! By any means, but I am pleased with with small chunk of my day and want to share so you know dreams can come true!

Background info: I learned about Words Their Way from Grad school. We actually used the newest manual for our class book. Prior to this I used the basal lists. It is so easy to pull the basal lists and use them. They are right there. But guess what? about 1/3 to 1/4 of your students might be successful with them because I am guessing that is all that are right on grade level when it comes to spelling.

the Bible {source}

I want to run you though my first week of school. I will also post of setting up {how I PLAN to set up that is. Live and learn}, getting parents to buy in and sending home lists, types of sorts and word work activities my teammates and I use, and weekly assessment.

Day 2 in the year: Spelling Inventory

I love this thing because your WHOLE class does it together. They get all squirmy in their seats when you tell them we are going to have a spelling test…”but Mrs. Lamb, it’s only the second day of school” they whine.

There are 3 lists you can use. The Primary, Elementary, and Upper Elem. Don’t be fooled by the word Elementary. Many parents wouldn’t be successful with the last few! You can click PRIMARY and see a preview of the list and what happens next. In 2nd grade I use the Primary. I also give all 26 words. In some instances {EC or ELL students} I may give only the first few and if I see them struggling, I will ask them to stop. This would be best in small groups.

ok, If they get all the words correct, I give the Elementary inventory to that child later or have my assistant do this. {I only have one an hour per day-don’t get excited!}. I will repeat this same list in January and again in May. Comparing apples to apples!

throughout Week 1: Score the assessment
Now here’s the hardest part. Scoring. It’s not that is is hard per se, it’s just time consuming. You are not simply scoring correct of incorrect, you are looking for features the kiddos knows and does not. For instance. The word “camped” is nearing the bottom of the 26 word list. Many of my kids write “campt”. Now I see they have the mp, but not –ed endings. ANother strange thing would be that a student could get all the features of a word correct, but still spell the word wrong. It’s ok! We are only looking for these specific areas.

WTW provides a scoring features sheet for you to copy for each kiddo. I found an amazing blog where the teacher redid this form. SO I can share that! click source below for some freebies

Spelling features form {Source}

Do you see the 3 different ink colors. This is instant data! By recording each of the 3 assessments on one form, you can show growth to parents and admin. Not to mention, it is helpful for you too!

here’s an awesome Teacher Tube video, too. I’d do this for you, but…I don’t want to hear my voice!


What’s next for the first week?
This form will help you group your students. More on that tomorrow.
I don’t stress about getting the students their perfect list this week {or the next either}. I choose a list that I feel a first grader would be successful with. I copy the sort for each student in my class, no matter their ability. Then, using this common list, we learn routines and procedures for word study. Here is the one I typically use. Click here to go to my spelling city page. I choose this one because it is all the short vowels. A nice review for some! Too hard for some…

Until tomorrow! Go out and do some digging. You'll find some great stuff!


  1. I'm taking this class as a correspondence class--I really want to use it this next year but I'm not sure how to use it with the required spelling lists we are supposed to do. I agree that the required lists only work for a portion of my class. I haven't quite figured it out how I'm going to make it work. I'm excited to see how you do WTW so I can get ideas on implementing it, so thank you for your posts this week.

  2. Fantastic post! Thanks for all of the tidbits and links! :)

    Abby @ Third Grade Bookworm

  3. I am looking forward to your post on WTW! I have the book and have tried to implement it in my kindergarten, but I always get discouraged and it doesn't work the way I want it to. I need to take more time and study it before I try to implement it. Thanks.
    Mrs. Shelton’s Kindergarten

  4. I'm so glad you are posting about WTW! I used it last year for the first time and LOVED it! I'm trying to be even better organized with it for this coming year. Looking forward to reading how you do it in your classroom.

    Better Than a Milk Mustache

    1. Oh Angela! I just spent 30 minutes reading your blog. Y'all are so cute!! I'm in love with the great readers rad everywhere signage! Is it in your room or hallway?
      Thanks for reading!

  5. Rachel, I included links to your blog in my own post about Words their Way and my word study routines. Hope you have time to come over and check it out! I loved reading all about how you organize your word study!




notes to the teacher

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...