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Word Study

Description 

Skilled readers know a lot about the words they read. They fluently process the words’ meanings, form, and syntactic properties, and they apply this knowledge to interpret words in real time as they read texts.  Struggling readers are often hampered by their limited or rigid knowledge of words, which can prevent them from accurately and rapidly recognizing words and appropriately interpreting them in the context of a particular text.  Through word study, students develop a deeper, sophisticated understanding of the many facets of a word: multiple meanings, connotations and associations, spelling, sound, and morphological structure, which, in turn, helps them develop flexibility in word analysis and interpretation.

 

Benefits 

All students benefit from explicit word study, since the more a reader knows about a word, the more quickly and accurately she or he can read that word.  Approximately 20-30% of students require explicit instruction in sound-letter correspondence (phonics) and morphology in order to learn to decode novel words accurately, and all students become faster, more accurate, and more sophisticated readers when they can appreciate and analyze the many interrelated facets of word form and meaning. 

Content Area Adaptations 

All students benefit from explicit word study, since the more a reader knows about a word, the more quickly and accurately she or he can read that word.  Approximately 20-30% of students require explicit instruction in sound-letter correspondence (phonics) and morphology in order to learn to decode novel words accurately, and all students become faster, more accurate, and more sophisticated readers when they can appreciate and analyze the many interrelated facets of word form and meaning. 

Learning Strategies 

  • Connecting
  • Determining Importance
  • Inferring
  • Synthesizing
  • Visualizing

Content Areas 

  • ELA

Learning Strands 

  • Reading

Fake Medical Dictionary

This is a fun and creative activity through which students can gain facility with morphological analysis, and an appreciation for the generativity of morphemes.  Students combine morphemes to create their own “medical dictionary,” composed of invented terms that follow standard morphological conventions.

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation

Generative Syllables

This activity guides students to segment words into syllables, and then to identify additional words that contain each of the component syllables.  Students create a chart with a syllable at the top of each column, and then they fill each column with other words that contain that syllable.  Through this process, students gain an appreciation of...

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation

Giant Word Analysis

In this fun activity, students analyze the structure of a very long and complex word.   They identify both the syllable structure and the morphological structure, and they hypothesize about the word’s meaning and part of speech.  This activity helps students to gain facility and confidence in analyzing word structure, and to become more adept...

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation