After reading the first chapter of Words Their Way, how do you feel about the developmental approach to spelling? Do you see it as beneficial and if so, in what ways do you think it could benefit students?

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I love it! I think the ideas are perfect my only concern is logistics for the class. I started with a group this past week and it is challenging to do developmental groups with just one additional group... I wonder how it would work with more than one? I also just ordered the Within Word book. It is helping me to focus instruction for that group and now I want to challenge my other groups. I am just unclear about how.
I am starting to like this spelling program more and more everyday. I love how it goes back to the basics by teaching students' the skills that are necessary for being a good speller. This program gives the students an opportunity for hands-on activities that may help them to retain more information. So far, it seems to be beneficial to the students in my Letter Name Stage and Within Word Pattern Stage who did not know some of these skills before. These students are talking about their spelling words while trying to decode words and are making sure I check that their spelling homework is complete. I feel as though it is building some confidence in their spelling abilities. I am just curious if the Syllable and Affixes Stage group is retaining this new information or if they think it is just an extra step since spelling comes easy to them. The only concern I have with the program right now is managing the spelling center, pulling for guided reading, and making sure everyone is on task at the same time during our Reading block/centers.
That is a valid concern Ginger. It is a balancing act, for sure! If we decide to go with this approach for spelling, we will have to take a serious look at our schedules for next year. I think you will notice the kids in the SJ stage using the strategies more when the words become harder for them. We started with their highest spelling feature strength, so they haven't gotten to a feature that they don't know yet.
As a special education teacher, it makes me very happy to see a spelling program that differentiates instruction. This program is based on the idea that not all students are at the same stage of development. Since there are chronologically ordered stages of word knowledge, all students can work at their instructional level rather than rotely memorize the same list of disconnected words. My beliefs exactly! The developmental approach supports reading and writing. It is very interesting to learn about the stages of spelling. It seems like common sense to use these to teach spelling. It can only benefit students if we go back to the stage in which they are making errors and begin instruction at that point, building on what they already know. Through word study, students can make connections.
I agree Betty, it just makes sense to teach spelling in a developmental way. In the past, when modifying spelling lists for special education students, I've sometimes felt as if I'm just making up what I think the students need. I like that I can feel confident that I'm following a pattern that builds upon skills and not worry that I'm leaving something out. In addition, sometimes I have felt that I might be modifying lists with words that are "too easy" for the grade level. I like that we have clear assessments to show why we're working on the patterns that we are. Also, although the reading can be dry at times, I like the way Words Their Way educates us, as well. When implementing something new, it is so much easier when the teacher understands all of the reasoning behind the program.
I think Ginger and Patty will agree that it helps to read the book for the background information of Developmental Spelling/Word Study while seeing the activities in action. I am enjoying working with the pilot teachers and classes to implement the program too!

I went to a workshop with Shane Templeton (One of the authors) this summer and he was a little dry, but very interesting. His understanding of the English language system is unbelievable. The thought that has gone into the simple activities and lists in this book is amazing.
I think it is amazing once we break down exactly what a kid knows and can see clearly what we can help them with. My only concern is making it work well. I can't wait until you get in my room in January Michelle!
After reading the first chapter of Words Their Way, it convinced of what I knew all along--our current Spelling progream is totally wrong. Many of our words in the Second Grade Book our from from a Stage IV--which is a level many of the students are not at. I completely agree when the authors state that "word study instruction must match the needs of the student, simply put we must teach where the child is at." Bravo! Although the book is not an easy read, I really agree with the idea of building on what students already know, learning what they need to know, and moving forward from there. Hence--one Spelling List does not fit the needs of all. The strategy of the program really lends itself to the developmental and differentiated ways that we teach reading and writing and I found it interesting the way the authors weave the three together and talk about how they are all integrally related. I, also, found it very interesting that one study found first graders' invented spellings to be a better predictor of end-of-grade reading than standardized reading readiness tests. I like the idea of hands on activities that help them to genralize beyond isolated patterns and apply critical thinking skills, I look forward to reading about this in future chapters. Our current program relies to much or memorization and rote drill.
My only concern is (as others have expressed) it seems very time-consuming to our already busy day. I am curious to hear from those who are piloting the program. Diane Ennis
I am having trouble finding where we post for Ch.2...?
Sorry Ginger, I didn't write the speaking point yet...Here it is:

I gave you a chapter from Word Journeys by Ganske to read in conjunction with chapter two from Words Their Way. Both chapters outline possible Developmental Spelling Assessments. Please compare and contrast the two assessments. Decide which one seems easier to administer to students.
Since nobody responded to this post in November or December, This will be our talking point for January as well. PLEASE read the chapters and respond.
Words Their Way fits the dynamics of my class this year. The differentiated instruction allows the students to manage their spelling and feel successful. I hope they are truly mastering the letters/patterns/words. Some parents feel that the words/program is too easy, but after explaining the assessment and learning process I think they understand the goals of the program better. I know it's a lot of work to set up initially, but like every program, it's a learning process and will take some time. I look forward to using it from the beginning of the year rather than starting later in the year.



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