Individual Spelling Program, Daily 5 Word Work

I have been experimenting with spelling programs for as long as I have been teaching.  I have been unsatisfied with packaged spelling programs because I really feel that it meets the needs of the teacher to have all the students working on the same words instead of all the students working on their own words.

Because I have so many people ask me about my program I thought I would blog about it.  This is the latest version of my individual spelling program.  I originally got the idea from a friend and colleague, Jocelyn Brugger who was my grade three partner teacher and have “tweaked it” to make it mine over the years.  This is a prime example of how sharing resources ultimately benefits learners!  Thanks Jocelyn!

The basic premise it that you make up spelling lists for each student based on the mistakes they make in their writing.  Each student has 10 words each week and they do a list of spelling jobs for each word to practice.  I have a book of different exercises that they can choose from so there is the element of choice.   for example:

Monday, words into planner, write a sentence for each word

Tuesday, “pyramid words” “bubble letters”

Wednesday, definitions

Thursday, test and corrections, take test home to be signed

Friday, return signed spelling test from Thursday

Any words that are spelled incorrectly go onto their list for the following week.

Students have a notebook for exercises and a notebook for tests.  The upside is that you don’t have a bunch of photocopies that ultimately end up in recycling=less trees lost!

Because I wanted a bit more of a systematic approach I start with a HUGE discovery test to see what the students know.  (There is no point having a student work on spelling words they already know.) I break it into smaller tests (500 words is a huge undertaking!)  The word list I use is from:

Fountas and Pinnell’s Five Hundred Plus High Frequency Words (appendix from Guiding Readers and Writers)

I can very quickly generate lists based on the pretesting while leaving 5 words each week to take from their writing.  I use a clip board to keep track of the words students are having difficulty spelling in their writing:

Insert words into the template for each week’s individual spelling list:

If you want, there is a “pretty” version of the Individual spelling program template, which can be found here. (This is the TPT store, I use it as a fundraiser for BC Children’s Hospital.  If you don’t do TPT, e-mail me or leave a comment and I will e-mail it to you.)

Hand out each individual list for the week on Monday and follow the routine for the week.  It seems like a lot of work, but it isn’t and each student is growing at his or her own pace.  Insert as word work as part of the Daily 5 program and voila!

I also teach predictable spelling patterns…but that is another blog post!

Happy Spelling!


Individual Spelling Program, Daily 5 Word Work — 4 Comments

  1. Hi,
    I would love a copy of the “pretty” version of the individual spelling program template.
    I also have some questions. First what is pyramid words and bubble letter their tuesday spelling homework. Also, how do you give each student a spelling test over their own words? Do they test each other, something I am not opposed to.

    Thanks so much for sharing this on line!

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