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Word Work   Tags: lezlie goudie-cloutier, literacy  

Primary Word Work
Last Updated: Jun 1, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Word Work Print Page

Effective Vocabulary Instruction


Word Work

"Creating and maintaining a time during each literacy block to focus on words is critical to developing readers, writers and communicators" (The Daily 5™, p.85).

The goal of Word Work is the kinesthetic and visual practice and the experimentation of words and the deepening of vocabulary. Teachers must offer a rich literate environment that allow for the practice time that is so often missing in the lives of our students.


Word Work

Once students are independent with the process of getting out the materials, using them correctly and putting them away, the focus turns to the words and away from the materials.

Essential Skills:

1. Phonics

  • Letter Recognition
  • Sound-Symbol relationships
  • Encoding and Decoding
  • High Frequency Words
  • Variant Correspondences
  • Syllable Patterns
  • Morpheme Structures

2. Phonological Awareness

  • Rhyme
  • Onset and Rime
  • Phoneme Matching
  • Phoneme Isolating
  • Phoneme Segmenting
  • Phoneme Manipulating

3. Vocabulary Development

  • Word Analysis/ Word Structure
  • Word Meaning
  • Words in Context
  • Word Knowledge/Word Categorization
  • Morphemic Elements



Vocabulary Definition

Vocabulary refers to the meanings and pronunciation of words necessary for communication. Vocabulary is often categorized as oral (listening and speaking) or reading (reading and writing) vocabulary.

The goal of vocabulary instruction is to provide students with an understanding of the meaning and use of words so that they can comprehend what they are reading and communicate effectively. (Source:

Essential Explicit Instruction:

  1. Word Identification/Words in Context
  2. Words That Describe/Word Meaning
  3. Word Categorization/Word Knowledge
  4. Word Structure/Word Analysis

Key Vocabulary Instruction

Word Work Phonics Sites


Work Work Apps and Web Tools

Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!

Word Work - Essential Materials and Labels

The cards can be downloaded below. The cards were created with assistance from Zeek's Zoo

There are many kinesthetic pathways which use tactile surfaces for spelling words. Excellent surfaces include sand in a shoebox lid, a sheet of very fine sandpaper, fabrics like burlap, velvet and corduroy, rice poured into a baking pan, a plush carpet square and even snow. Place squishy substances into a sealed plastic baggie. The student then uses her finger to “write” through the bag. Some of the best substances include shaving cream, pudding, liquid soap and glue.


Word Work


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