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Miss M.’s
Spelling Homework Guide
Please keep in a safe place for reference!
Words Their Way is a new approach to teaching spelling that allows students to learn words at
their individual level of instruction and teaches them how words work. Your child has taken a
diagnostic spelling assessment (for which they did not study for) to determine their spelling
level. After looking at what students know about spelling, I have put them into spelling groups at
their developmental levels. Each group will have a different spelling word sort.
By studying these word sorts, students will learn to sort, compare and contrast word features in
each category, make discoveries, become more fluent readers, and increase their vocabulary
through word meanings. Students move through weekly word study patterns by doing in class
activities, homework and ending the week with a word sort test on Fridays.
Word study is a study of words features. Students lists will be on a word study PATTERN
(example – the study of the long “u” sound in “u_e”, “ew”, or “ue” or how adding the suffix “-ful”
or “-less” changes a word’s meaning). The quiz on Fridays will be on the pattern from that week
using some of their words from each student’s sort and some additional words that were not on
their sort, but fit the pattern they were studying.
Research studies indicate that memorization of lists of "spelling words" does not promote the
development of spelling skills. In the past when we’ve used this traditional approach, many
students who received a 100% on their spelling test could not spell most of the words in their
writing! Memorizing a list of words and getting 100% on weekly tests does not necessarily mean a
child is a good speller. It may just mean they are good at memorizing words for a test. Using
the Words Their Way word study program also allows us to work at each student’s individual
level rather than using a “one size fits all” spelling list.
Your child will be bringing home a collection of spelling words on every Monday. They also have a
copy of the same words that they use in class. Each night of the week your child is expected to
do a different activity to ensure that these words and the spelling principles they represent are
mastered. These activities have been modeled and practiced in school.
On Friday your child will be tested on 10 words in the collection and 5 new words that follow the
same principles. By using new words in the test I can see if you child understands the phonetic
concept being taught and can apply the principles to words they have not practiced.
Please save this letter and refer to it during the year for spelling ideas.
Thank you for your support. Together we can help your child make valuable progress in spelling.
-Miss M.
Cut out the words.
Ask your child to sort the words into the ‘star’ categories, like we did at school. Your child should
read each word aloud during this activity. Ask your child to explain to you why the words are sorted
in a particular way – what does the sort reveal about spelling in general? Ask your child to sort them
a second time as fast as possible.
Do a “buddy sort” with your child. Lay down a word from each category as a header and then read the
rest of the words aloud. Your child must indicate where the word goes without seeing it. Lay it down
and let your child move it if he or she is wrong. Repeat if your child makes more than one error.
Assist your child in doing a word hunt, looking for words in a familiar book that have the same sound,
pattern, or both. Try to find two or three words for each sort category.
Do a writing sort to prepare for the Thursday test. As you call out the words in a random order your
child should write them down in categories. Call out any words your child misspells a second or even
third time.
Other Spelling Ideas:
ABC Order
Yellow Vowels
Boxed Sentence
Bubble Letters
Capitals vs
Chart Those Vowels
Circle Words
Choose 8 of your spelling words and write them in ABC order. If you
finish early, write all the spelling words in ABC order backwards.
Write each of your spelling words. Trace over the vowels in yellow
Print a sentence for 6 of your spelling words. Draw a box around each
word. Use a different colour for each box.
Write 6 of your spelling words in bubble letters. If time, colour them.
Write each of your words twice. The first time, write them normally.
The second time, use capital letter for vowels and lowercase letters
for consonants.
Example: open OpEn closed clOsEd
Make a chart like below. Fill in the chart by writing each spelling word
under the correct heading.
One Vowel Two Vowels Three Vowels
Four Vowels
Write each of your spelling words
two or three times around to
form circles of each spelling
Double Doodle
Hidden Words
Letter Box Words
Making Connections
Write each spelling word one time normally and then one time in
“double doodle” by holding two pencils or a pen and pencil together
while writing.
Draw a picture. Hide your spelling words inside your picture. If you
have time, colour the picture.
Write each of your spelling words once normally, then again in letter
1. Choose 4 of your spelling words. For each word, make a connection to
four NEW words (that are NOT your spelling words) based on sound,
spelling pattern, etc.
2. The connection can be about beginning sounds, ending sounds, how
many syllables, short vowels, long vowels, or words that rhyme with
your spelling word. See the next sheet in this packet for examples
of good connections you can make with spelling patterns
Pyramid write 9 of your spelling words. Be neat! Example: home:
Pyramid Writing
Rearranged letters
Write your spelling words once. Write other words that you can make
with some or all of the letters in that word.
Example: wagon – ago star – rats
Write each spelling word. Write a rhyming word next to the spelling
Spelling Rainbows
Write 8 of your spelling words in pencil. Then trace over each word
three times. Each time you trace, you must use a DIFFERENT colour.
Spelling Scramble
Vowel Circle
Write your letter scrambled up. Then write them again unscrambled.
Write each spelling word two times normally and one time in spots.
Example: fish
Write your words twice. The first time, circle the vowels. The second
time, underline the consonants.
Write all of your spelling words, then go back and circle all of the
vowels in the words.
Making Connections:
Spelling Patterns to Look for
Example in Words
Short a
Example Spelling
Short e
bed, then, check
Short i
bit, film, listen
Short o
hop, lost, moth
Short u
nut, lump, brush
Long a
a, ai, ay
cake, nail, stay
Long e
ee, ea
sheep, sneak, bleed
Long i
i, igh, y
lime, right, sky
Long o
o, oe, oa
hope, toe, coach
Long u
u, ue, ew
tune, knew, blue
Vowel Digraph
two vowels that make ONE
sound together
oa, ee, ea, ai
boat, feet, clean, rail
A vowel sound that is
influenced when followed by
“r” in a syllable
ar, air, er, ear,
ire, ier, or, oar,
ur, ure
hurt, card, cheer, tire,
Two vowels that “glide”
oi, oy, aw, ou
boil, toy, law, out
Silent “e”
the final “e” in a spelling
pattern that usually makes a
long vowel sound in the word;
the silent “e” does not
represent a sound itself
tile, came, rope
The sound of the middle vowel
in an unstressed syllable; the
vowel is NOT long or short
a, e, i, o, u, y
about, done, pencil
Double consonants
Two of the same consonant
ll, nn, bb, dd
tall, cannon, bubble, paddle
Short Vowels
Long Vowels
cat, glass, stand
Consonant Blend
Two or more consonants that br, dr, thr, squ, bl, brag, drive, throat, land
slide together to make a sound
tr, nd
Consonant Digraph
Two consonants that make
ONE new sound together
wh, ch, th, sh, ck
white, child, tooth, shell,
Silent Beginning
A consonant that does not
make its own sound
kn, gn, wr
knock, gnat, wrap
Soft c
“c” that makes the /s/ sound
nice, circle, ceiling
Soft g
“g” that makes the /j/ sound
huge, giant, gentle
Word Families
Group of words with a common
pattern; MUST start with a
The smallest unit of sound;
always has a vowel sound
2 syllables
bookcase, iron
(book-case, ir-on)
CVC Pattern
hat, can, tap
CVCe Pattern
Consonant-vowel-consonantsilent “e”
hate, cane, tape
CVVC Pattern
feel, rain, read
A part added to the beginning
of a base/root word to change
its meaning
pre-, dis-, mis-
preview, disagree, misspell
A part added to the end of a
base/root word to change its
-ful, -less, -er
hopeful, careless, player