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Ideas for Working on Words

Word Work

Word work is the hands-on practice of working with words in some capacity. This can cover just about any word skill, from phonics patterns, to practicing prefixes and suffixes. It is one piece of a well-rounded phonics curriculum, and it’s an important one! 

It is critical for teachers to have a variety of activities to make word work engaging throughout the school year. Today, I am sharing a round-up of my favorite word work activities with you!

Clay and Play-Doh

Is there anything more engaging that giving students clay or play-doh to work with? It’s fun at any age, and it can be academically purposeful! Use stamps or magnetic letters to press letters into the clay. Students can build words on their spelling lists, or from their phonics lessons. 

Or, have students use the play-doh to roll and form into letters. Using these letters, they can build words! 

word work ideas

Dry Erase Boards

Dry erase boards are the ultimate tool in any classroom. No mess. No prep. And students love to use them. Grab a stack of markers and boards, and allow students to write their words. If you are working on specific phonics patterns, give them directions to notice the patterns on their boards. For example, they can write their words in black, but underline the vowel sound in red. Or, box the prefix in blue. 

working on words ideas

Stringing Beads

A less-common tool, but super fun to use in small groups or at a center, are letter beads! Students can string beads to create words that they are working on. This can be used and re-used throughout the school year, making it the perfect word work tool!

word work ideas

Fun Writing Utensils

It sounds simple, but never underestimate the power of a smelly marker or highlighter. Any writing tool that students typically can’t use on classwork instantly boosts the engagement level! Give students a word list to create, and allow them to write the words with fun supplies! 

working on words ideas

Build Words with Manipulatives

Using a variety of letter titles, magnetic letters, etc. you can have students build words! Give students sight word or high frequency word cards, and ask them to build the words. Or, give students the letters they need to build a word they are practicing, and let them unscramble the letters to build a word!

short vowel teaching ideas

Using these ideas, you will engage your students more in their word work. Extra levels of engagement promotes more growth, which is what we all want for our students! Connect with me on Instagram to see more ideas, and share what your favorite word work activities are! Happy teaching, everyone! 

word work ideas pin
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Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

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Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


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