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Word Study Program: Homework

By Beth Newingham on March 18, 2013
  • Grades: 3–5

I am not a teacher who uses many worksheets or assigns busywork in my classroom. That is why the phrase "word study packet" initially made me cringe. I do feel, however, that what we do in class needs to be reinforced at home.

Parents often find spelling to be one thing with which they can confidently provide assistance, so this homework packet is a direct link between our teaching and parent involvement at home. The packet goes home on Monday and is returned to class on Friday, the day of our weekly word study test. Our word study packet contains three parts:

Cover Letter: The cover letter explains the new patterns to the parents and often gives them specific examples of words that follow (and do not follow) the patterns. The cover letter also lists the 10 assigned words they will study at home (regular or challenge list). Students also copy down the five high frequency words that they are studying for the week from their word study notebook so that they can also study them at home. Download a sample parent letter.

Pattern Work: The first section of the homework packet is not specific to the assigned words that the student is studying for the week. Instead, this section often features an exploratory word-building activity or a word sort using words that follow the patterns we are studying in class for the week. Download the long a homework sample.

Tic-Tac-Toe: This section allows students to practice their assigned pattern words and their individualized high frequency words. We create many activities that encourage students to focus on the meaning of words so that we also promote vocabulary development. When creating our word study tic-tac-toe activity sheets, students are asked to do any three activities in a row. We try to have rows that include a wide variety of activities that require students to use multiple intelligences and to also use their assigned words in the context of writing. Download sample tic-tac-toe homework.

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