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Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction / Edition 6

Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction / Edition 6

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Written for professional development facilitators and their program participants, literacy coaches, reading specialists, and classroom teachers, this text can also be used in the Reading Methods (Supplementary) or Phonological Awareness and Phonics course.

Words Their Way is a hands-on, developmentally-driven approach to word study that illustrates how to integrate and teach children phonics, vocabulary, and spelling skills.

Building on its best-selling approach, this edition of Words Their Way continues the phenomenon that has helped thousands of children improve their literacy skills. The keys to this successful, research-based approach are to know your students’ literacy progress, organize for instruction, and implement word study. This Sixth Edition lists the Common Core State Standards for each activity, and features enhanced discussions, activities, and content.

To offer teachers even more tools that will enhance their word study instruction, all new classroom videos and interactive PDFs are available on the PDToolkit site*. With its newly designed marginal icons that link readers to resources on the accompanying web site, Words Their Way, provides a complete word study package that will motivate and engage your students, and help them to succeed in literacy learning.

*The PDToolkit is available free for twelve months after you use the password that comes with the book. After twelve months, the subscription must be renewed. To learn more, please visit:

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780133996333
Publisher: Pearson
Publication date: 08/30/2015
Series: Words Their Way Series
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 50,530
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 10.80(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Donald R. Bear is director of the Duffelmeyer Reading Clinic in the School of Education, Iowa State University, where he and his students teach and assess students who experience difficulties learning to read and write. A former elementary teacher, Donald currently researches literacy development with a special interest in students who speak different languages and he partners with schools and districts to think about how to assess and conduct literacy instruction.

Marcia Invernizzi is executive director of the McGuffey Reading Center in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. She and her multilingual doctoral students enjoy exploring developmental universals in non-English orthographies. A former English and reading teacher, Marcia extends her experience working with children who experience difficulties learning to read and write in numerous intervention programs, such as Virginia’s Early Intervention Reading Initiative and Book Buddies.

Shane Templeton is Foundation Professor Emeritus of Literacy Studies in the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Reno. A former classroom teacher at the primary and secondary levels, he has focused his research on the development of orthographic and vocabulary knowledge. He has written several books on the teaching and learning of reading and language arts and is a member of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary.

Francine Johnston is retired from the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she coordinated the reading master’s program and directed a reading clinic for struggling readers. Francine is a former first grade teacher and reading specialist, and she continues to work with schools as a consultant.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1 Developmental Word Knowledge

Chapter 2 Getting Started: The Assessment of Orthographic Development

Chapter 3 Organizing for Word Study: Principles and Practices

Chapter 4 Word Study for Learners in the Emergent Stage

Chapter 5 Word Study for Beginners in the Letter Name–Alphabetic Stage

Chapter 6 Word Study for Transitional Learners in the Within Word Pattern Stage

Chapter 7 Word Study for Intermediate Readers and Writers: The Syllables and Affixes Stage

Chapter 8 Word Study for Advanced Readers and Writers: The Derivational Relations Stage


APPENDIX A Assessment Materials

APPENDIX B Sound Boards

APPENDIX C Pictures for Sorts and Games

APPENDIX D Sample Word Sorts by Spelling Stage


APPENDIX F Games and Templates for Sorts

APPENDIX G Other Resources




What People are Saying About This

"This book would be very useful for both university reading courses and classroom teachers. I use Words Their Way both in my first grade classroom and with college students as a way to implement word study."
—Kristi McNeal, California State University Fresno

"The theory behind and practice for word sorts allows even the novice teacher to understand how to use the assessments to organize instruction. The organization of the last five chapters creates a useful resource for teachers. Each begins with a research-based description and moves into sound instructional practices, giving the teacher a complete understanding of how to meet the needs of students."
—Cathy Blanchfield, California State University Fresno


Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction, Third Edition, provides a practical way to study words with students. Based on research on developmental spelling and word knowledge, the framework of this text is keyed to five stages and instructional levels. Ordered in this way, Words Their Way complements the use of any existing phonics, spelling, and vocabulary curricula.

The third edition of our text broadens and strengthens an already acute vision of today's classrooms. We provide more support for upper elementary, middle, and secondary students and their teachers, and add a new focus on English Language Learners. Issues of classroom management are also examined in every chapter, beginning with a deep focus in Chapter 3.


  • New! ELL Teaching Notes throughout chapters help you to adapt your word study lessons to better suit English Language Learners.
  • New! CD-ROM integration. Notes throughout each chapter point to ways to integrate the materials found on the free CD-ROM with chapter content.
  • New! Companion Website margin notes integrate this great online supplement with the text, leading you to additional related content to be found on our Companion Website, available at
  • An "Adaptable for Other Stages" symbol indicates activities that can be adapted to other developmental levels.


We have organized this text so that it can be easily used in 4 number of ways. To explore the nature of word study and the type of classroom organization and environment that enhances implementation of word study, wesuggest you begin reading this text at the beginning—with Chapter 1. If you want to jump right in and explore word study activities with your students, we recommend that you skim Chapters 3 through 8, look for activities related to the developmental levels of your students, and examine a few closely. Then try one or two out with a small group'of students. Remember that additional materials are available on the free CD-ROM enclosed in the text.

Chapter 1: The first chapter presents an overview of how words are learned, a discussion of reading, spelling, and writing development, and a rationale for word study phonics, spelling, and vocabulary instruction in the classroom.

Chapter 2: The second chapter presents the assessment process in a step-by-step manner to administer, score, and analyze students' spelling. There are now nine inventories, including a Spanish spelling inventory, and based on our recent research we made refinements in the word lists and scoring guides to make instructional planning easier. Guidelines for interpreting spelling errors by English language learners are presented.

Chapter 3: In this chapter we clearly present ways to organize word study in a classroom setting. The planning activities integrate word study into reading and language arts programs.

Chapters 4 through 8 focus on particular stages of literacy development. We hope you will be pleased to see a more explicit scope and sequence of word study instruction for each developmental stage. Sections of developmentally appropriate activities, tabbed in color for easy location, accompany each of these chapters. Often presented in a game-like format, these activities are actually minilessons that draw upon what students are learning concurrently in developmental reading and writing.

We have included activities that are especially interesting to students and can be easily integrated into the many contexts in which reading and writing activities occur. In each activity, students examine words and their sound and spelling patterns, and they reflect on how words are organized, how they are spelled, and what they mean.

Chapter 4: This chapter is dedicated to Word Study for Learners in the Emergent Stage. The accompanying activities address phonological awareness and vocabulary development as well as alphabet knowledge and concepts about print and the orthography.

Chapter 5: Chapter 5 examines Word Study for Beginners in the Letter Name-Alphabetic Stage. Here we present a systematic scope and sequence for phonics instruction appropriate for beginning readers, including explicit directions for teacher-directed word sorts and suggestions for more open-ended explorations.

Chapter 6: In this chapter we focus on Word Study for Transitional Learners in the Within Word Pattern Stage. The sequence of word study for this stage focuses on vowel patterns, and the accompanying activities support the development of automatic word recognition and fluency.

Chapter 7: This third edition includes an even stronger focus on intermediate and advanced readers and writers. In this chapter we look at Word Study for Intermediate Readers and Writers: The Syllables and Affixes Stage. We outline a systematic curriculum for vocabulary and spelling instruction of multisyllabic words. The activities begin with consonant doubling and end with the study of the basic prefixes and suffixes.

Chapter 8: Chapter 8 is strengthened to include even more on Word Study for Advanced Readers and Writers: The Derivational Relations Stage. Throughout this chapter, the spelling-meaning connection is the fundamental principle we use to teach students Greek and Latin bases and roots. The scope and sequence is clearly described, and the activities will advance students' vocabularies.

Appendix: In the Appendix you will find all of the reproducible materials in one place. It begins with the assessment materials that were discussed in Chapter 2. We have added more games, assessments, word lists, and sorts to this edition, all of which are available, along with game templates,-in the Appendix. These pages are perforated for your convenience.

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Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Using the graduated spelling feature assessments makes determinining what instructional level to use for special ed easy! Once the level is determined, just follow the program for that student.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to purchase this for a college course, and while the information contained is daunting, I am finding it more and more useful as I move along toward my teaching license. The accompanying cd is a great bonus, too.
CSchubart More than 1 year ago
Book provides information useful for teaching literacy in the classroom, contains activities and lesson ideas, and materials.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book does a great job of helping teachers to analyze student spelling so that they can more easily provide more prescriptive instruction. Many hands-on activities are suggested to use with groups of children.
mrsarey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book for identifying spelling challenges and levels. Although I don't follow all of the ideas given, this is a good basis for any spelling program.
sarahbeth109 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An excellent phonemic awareness and phonological awareness resource for elementery educators! I use ideas from this book every day in my classroom.
Avi More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Buying this book was a complete rip off, I would give the online version 0 stars if I could. I can not open this book on any of my devices and there was no warning that you could not open the book.
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