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Review of Wordtivities by SPELL-Links

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Image result for wordtivities"Today I am reviewing a newly released (2019) kit (instructional guide and cards) from the Learning By Design, Inc. entitled Wordtivities: Word Study Instruction for Spelling, Vocabulary, and Reading.

The 101-page instructional guide was created to address the students’ phonological awareness, spelling, reading, vocabulary, and syntax skills by having them engage with sounds, letters, and meanings of words. The lessons in the book can be used by a variety of instructional personnel (teachers, SLPs, reading specialists, etc.) and even parents as a stand-alone word study program or in conjunction with SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing Word Study Curriculum.

The activity book is divided into two sections. The first section offers K-12 student activities for large groups and classrooms. The second section has picture card activities and is intended for 1:1 and small group instruction. Both sections focus on reinforcing 14 SPELL-Links strategies for reading and spelling to stimulate the associations between sounds, letters, and meanings of words.

Instructional Strategies:

  1. Fabulous Phonemes
  2.   Sound It Out
  3. Check the Order!
  4. Catch the Beat!
  5. Listen up!
  6. A Little Stress Will Help This Mess!
  7. No Fouls!
  8. Play by the Rules!
  9. Use Rhyme This Time!
  10. Spell What You Mean and Mean What You Spell!
  11. Be Smart about Word Parts!
  12. Build on the Base!
  13. Invite the Relatives!
  14. Fixed the Funny Stuff!
  15. Look it up!

Together the listed strategies focus on simultaneously developing and strengthening phonological, orthographic, semantic and morphological knowledge during reading and writing tasks.

The kit contains a number of evidence-based “key features” as part of its contents including a:

  1. Sound wall
  2. Desktop sound chart
  3. Keyword picture cards (color-coded)
  4. Keyword picture card activities
  5. Student assignment sheets
  6. Classroom instruction lessons
  7. Sound symbols and allowable spellings

Whole-Class and Small Group (includes modifications) Instruction Sections contain lesson plans with a focus on the following features:

  1. Identification of phonemes in isolation and in words
  2. Segmentation of spoken words into phonemes
  3. Using words in spoken sentences
  4. Mapping sounds in words to their corresponding letters
  5. Identification of consonant and vowel sounds in initial, medial and final word positions
  6. Segmentation of spoken words into syllables
  7. Using words in spoken sentences
  8. Mapping spoken syllables to their corresponding letters
  9. Identifying vowel sounds in syllables with primary stress
  10. Identifying word meanings
  11. Identifying spellings of target sounds
  12. Identifying common sound and letter patterns and spelling rules
  13. Identifying spellings of rhyming parts of words
  14. Identifying the meanings of homophones
  15. Associating word meanings with spellings of homophones
  16. Counting and identifying morphemes in written words
  17. Connecting the meaning of each morpheme (prefixes, roots/bases, and suffixes) to its letters
  18. Paraphrasing sentences using morpheme meanings
  19. Evaluating phonological and orthographic features of word roots and base words in multi-morphemic words
  20. Defining use of multi-morphemic words in complex spoken sentences
  21. Identifying word relatives (words that share common base)
  22. Writing words multiple times to strengthen storage in long-term lexical memory
  23. Creating questions using words in meaningful contexts to strengthen storage in long-term lexical memor

Materials Library includes:

  1. Keyword images for whole class instructions
  2. Reproducible desktop sound charts for individual student use
  3. Reproducible set of keyword picture cards for individual student use
  4. Reproducible student assignment sheets

The kit also includes Wordtivities Companion Cloud with additional digital materials for further instruction.

The appeal of the kit for me is that it offers numerous group-based opportunities for evidence-based phonemic, morphemic, spelling, as well as reading instruction.  While it appears rather daunting at first, the book actually comes with very detailed implementation instructions. Small group instruction allows for modifications with a focus on turn-taking, collaboration, and response building.

A variety of extension activities allow students to further advance their abilities to manipulate sounds, letters, and meanings of words as well as to develop depth and breadth of their vocabulary knowledge and enhance their syntax skills. An added bonus is that after the students are done working on these activities in the classroom work in therapy sessions they can continue working on them at home with their parents.

The kit offers a list of key terms for students and educators (e.g., inflectional morphemes, stressed and unstressed syllables, word classes and word relatives, graphemes, etc.) to further expand their reading-related evidence-based repertoire of terms.  To me, the appeal of this curriculum is rather multifaceted. It’s very difficult to find evidence-based group instruction curriculum, and Wordtivities certainly fits the bill. It doesn’t simply focus on isolated areas pertaining to reading or spelling, but rather teaches the students to integrate all areas of language including phonology, morphology, semantics, and syntax in order to become better readers, spellers and writers.

You can find this kit for purchase on the Learning By Design, Inc. Store HERE.

4 thoughts on “Review of Wordtivities by SPELL-Links

  1. This sounds like an excellent program. I have several clients that may benefit from this!

  2. Wow what an amazing resource! It would be perfect for so many of my students. Thank you for such a thorough review as always!

  3. Even though own and use other SPELL-links to Reading and Writing products, your detailed review certainly whet my appetite for this one. I thought it was only for classroom teachers, but I see that it can be great for small groups too. I appreciate your thorough description and comments.

  4. This resource would be amazing for the students I am currently working with!

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