Word Work Activities: Choosing the Right Ones

Imagine creating word work centers that allow students to practice making words independently while you are with a guided reading group without interruption! Keep reading to learn how to choose the right activities for word work centers.

A question I see frequently when it comes to guided reading rotations is “What do your students do during the word work center?”

If there’s one important thing to remember it’s this: Consistency.

Too many options and too many directions for students to remember is a recipe for disaster. We don’t want to have have students who don’t know how to complete the various activities we’ve given them!

Keep the routines and activities as similar as possible! I like to have no more than 5 word work activities to choose from at a time.

Most of the activities I use fall under one of the following categories:

  1. Word sorts
  2. Spelling activities
  3. Reading & writing

I’m going to break down each category for you. There are many options and ways to set this up in your classroom!

Word Work Activity #1: Word Sorts

I love using word sorts at the beginning of the week. They’re perfect when you’re working on new spelling or phonics patterns. You can use these in a couple of different ways.

Word Work Activity: Picture shows notebook with long A word sort

Pocket chart word sort: Grab a big pocket chart and each week you can use index cards or sentence strips to write down words for students to sort.

Interactive notebook word sorts: If you want students to have continual access to past word sorts, using a notebook is the way to go!

Digital word sorts: Whether you’re teaching in the classroom or not, sometimes it’s easiest to assign a digital word sort because the prep time for you takes just a few minutes!

Word Work Activity #2: Spelling & Writing Activities

I have a love/hate relationship with this area of word work. I mostly love it, but I think many teachers only include spelling activities in their word work center.

There are so many quick and easy ways your students can practice spelling at the word work center. My suggestion? Make an anchor chart of 3-4 different ways students can practice spelling at the word work center.

Here are a few easy spelling activities your students can choose from:

  • Letter tiles & magnets: spell words with old Scrabble tiles or letter magnets
  • Play dough: build the letters to spell the words with play dough
  • Stamps: grab a set of alphabet stamps and students can stamp the letters to spell the words

The beauty of these spelling activities is that you don’t have to change anything out each week!

Word Work Activity #3: Reading Activities

This final category of word work activities can vary tremendously, but it’s essential to include these types of activities in your word work centers.

Work Work Activity:Can you read these CH words cut and paste activity

I always want my students practicing the current phonics skill within various reading and writing activities. I include simple activities that are self-explanatory for students. Some of our favorites are puzzles (shown above) and dominoes (shown below) because students love them and immediately know how to use them!

Word Work Activity: Short vowel puzzles and activities

If you’re low on prep time or want to include digital word work activities, I love to use read and cover activities. Students simply look at pictures and drag the matching words on top. I also like to use digital reading activities where students are building sentences or finding the missing words to complete sentences. Read more about Digital Phonics here!

Digital Read & Cover Blends
Digital Pocket Chart

Free Word Sort Templates for Your Classroom

Want to try some of these types of activities in your classroom? I’ve created a free Word Work Starter Kit filled with resources for your word work center!

Share it:


You might also like