For many years, I have been following TheMeasuredMom.com website and received its newsletters. I like newsletters as they get the information to me without any effort from my side. However, I have relied too much on this and failed to make my own search on the website to identify what might have escaped my attention or might now fit my daughters’ specific current needs.
Fortunately, a bilingual mom in a Facebook group I belong to, recently shared so much material from TheMeasuredMom that it led me to browse the website again. Ain’t I glad she did, for I found a very interesting concept and wonderful free printables! 😀
Anna Gaiger, the teacher behind The Measured Mom, posted about Word Studies. Through a variety of activities led over 5 days in a row, the child observes and analyses the spelling of set words that share homophone sounds such as “ee” & “ea”. Geiger believes that through a couple of activities a day, the child learns their spelling more efficiently than through the tedious repetitive copying of the said words. She proves her point with her daughter’s perfect dictation after 5 days of Word Study. The concept struck a chord in me, further to my discovery of our Daily Spelling Table. My eldest daughter learns better through daily repetition than the dry copying of words 5 times in a row. So I thought I would give it a shot.
We began with the “a_e”/”ai”/”ay” Word Study, and followed its proposed schedule but for 2 tweaks:
- We spread the programme over 7 days instead of 5 in a row, as some days my work did not allow me time for it.
- We skipped the hands-on spelling activity for lack of time, though I had initially planned for my daughter to use hand-paint on craft paper.
Day 1: My daughter cut out, sorted out and glued the words in an exercise book, splitting them in 4 categories (“a_e”/”ai”/”ay”/oddballs).
Day 2: Sorting out the words, plus “The Train Game” (a board game) that involves observing and identifying the phonics. Even the little one joined in and learned about the three specific phonics and used a budding reading skills. A lovely family study time!
Day 3: Sorting out the words, plus a new game called “Spell it!” that involves spelling out a word to be able to move forward.
Day 4: The “Climb the Ladder” game where my eldest had to spell correctly to move up the ladder on her sheet of paper. The game already proved she had memorised their spelling as she only made one mistake (one of the two homophones in the word list).
Day 5: Final dictation. My daughter dragged her feet at the perspective of yet another dictation. Yet she was well pleased with herself when she got a whopping 20 out of 20!
The repetition over several successive days with fun activities really did work. She even picked up on two pairs of homophones and always asked me to specify which one she had to spell using their definition. Before this experiment, I had never heard of word studies. It seems to be more of a teacher concept/method. It has given me much food for thought. I have already downloaded the next one! There are 7 free Word Studies available on The Measured Mom website (Anna Geiger offers a wide range of resources, visit her website to discover them) and I will probably go through all of them!
Some of her games such as “Spell it!” and “Climb the Ladder” are versatile and can be adapted to other word lists, languages and phonics level. For instance, using CVC word cards for budding readers. My youngest does not like these cards but happily read them when playing “Spell it!” with us.
After this lovely experience of learning through games, I dug out my Peggy Kaye “Games for Writing” book for more games ideas and discovered I had a wordlist in the appendix! The Word Study concept has been a real discovery for me and will undoubtedly leave an imprint in my way of approaching spelling with the girls. I am currently looking up more about the topic to understand it more and be able to include it in our minority language homework routine. I am also planning to adapt some of the Peggy Kaye games to Spanish and see if Word Studies could be adapted to that language too.
If English is your minority language, I strongly encourage you to visit this wonderful ThemeasuredMom.com website and give Word Studies a go! 😉