The more I build a word conscious classroom, the more I am committed to word study. Scott, Skobel, and Wells (2008) argued that words are the lifeblood of literacy. Hence, word study should be central to all literacy instruction. Included in word study is spelling, decoding (word calling), and word meaning. In this episode, I am having students focus solely on word sounds. In this episode, I directed students to look inside of the word for the spelling pattern /au/ or /aw/. I then had them to sing the sound so that they can develop a consciousness for the /au/, /aw/ sound.
One of my favorite tools for looking inside of words is Explode the Code. I am not a seller for this company. I am just providing my testimonial. I have been using this series since 2005 and to this day, it has not failed to teach students how to look inside of words and to properly learn how to decode and encode words. Prior to using this resource, I’ve used phonetically controlled poems to help students to hear the distinct sounds that I am teaching. Afterwards, I ask the students to practice looking inside of words using the exercises from the Explode the Code series.
Below is a sample page taken from one of the Explode the Code books. As students are working on studying word patterns for encoding (spelling) and decoding (reading), they are guided to look inside of the word a chose the correct symbolic representation for the word.
In sum, I believe that students don’t get enough opportunities to “look inside of words”. I believe that we as teachers are so fixated on teaching reading skills, that we forget about the importance of vigorous and consistent word study. As I am building my word conscious classroom, I challenge you to join me. Let’s teach the babies vocabulary by having each of them to “look inside of words” for familiar letters, word families, and word patterns. This will certainly lay the foundation for advanced word study and vocabulary acquisition.