Lesson 23:

Lucy teaches spelling through word sorts

To teach the ch (cherry) and sh (shoe) sounds, Lucy has her students color and cut out tiny pictures of various objects starting with ch or sh. Next, she has the children sort and glue the pictures into columns according to the beginning letter sound of each object. For example, the ch column contains pictures of a cheese, chair, and chip, while the sh column contains pictures of a ship, shop, and shirt.

The Alternative Lesson Plan

Many children have learned successfully with this lesson.  But for those continuing to struggle, the alternative lesson plan is as follows:

  • Select spelling words that are relevant to children, rather than using pre-determined spelling lists of words.

Some children do not learn well through pre-determined or arbitrary spelling lists of words, as the information can appear random.  Unless the words are the same words that the children encounter during their reading and writing activities, they may not understand the relevance of the sorting activity to the actual reading and writing context.

  • Leave the coloring, cutting, and pasting for arts and crafts.

Although the children appear busy at work, the coloring, cutting, and pasting may be distracting to learning the concept at hand (the sounds of the ch and sh) and is more appropriate for fine-motor or art activities.  These children need more direct instruction of literacy concepts.

  • Mirror the thought process exactly as used in the real-life context. 

Although the word sort is related to reading and spelling, completing the word sort does not require the same thought processes needed for reading and writing the ch and sh in actual contexts.  Some children need to learn skills in the exact same way that they are to be applied in the real-life context and thus need more thorough instruction than the word-sort activity.

Improve your instruction of young learners

To learn the specific methods for teaching this lesson, please see Programs and Get the Books.