Words in the World: Transferring Word Study to Everyday Reading and Writing

Thursday, November 17, 2016  7-8pm EST


Word study is one of the most effective ways to teach children to read and spell words. All too often, however, teachers spend hours assessing children, designing sorts, cutting up words, and sorting them, only to find that children continue to misread and/or misspell these words or similar words in their other language arts work. This webinar is designed to help you and your students get more out of your classroom word work. We will review the step-by-step process of designing effective, individualized word study with an emphasis on this final step, embedding word study in meaningful classroom reading and writing activities. We will explore classroom activities to help children “make the jump” from word study lessons to real texts and writing assignments, including dictated writing, word hunts, word study reader’s theatre, and more. We will discuss strategies to help children extend their word study knowledge by approaching new words through analogy and morphological (spelling-meaning) connections. We will also discuss the most effective way to teach high frequency words in the context of word study. Finally we will discuss effectively pairing texts with word study lessons, and the right times to use decodable books, leveled books, children’s literature, and even basal readers in word study.

Tortorelli-LauraLaura Tortorelli received her Ph.D. in reading education from the University of Virginia in 2015 and is currently an assistant professor in the Teacher Education department at Michigan State University.  Her research examines the context in which children develop into proficient readers and writers in the early elementary grades, with a focus on how word recognition and writing skills develop from Prekindergarten to 3rd grade. She draws on developmental perspectives (Chall, 1986; Ehri, 2005; Sharp, Sinatra, & Reynolds, 2008) and the RAND model (RAND Reading Study Group, 2002) of reading comprehension to highlight how reader, text, and task factors interact in an iterative process that shapes reading development over time. She has recently been named the 2016-2017 Jeanne S. Chall Visiting Researcher by Harvard School of Education and an Emerging Scholars Fellow by the Hall of Reading Fame. Her current projects analyze writing in Prekindergarten, alphabet knowledge in kindergarten, and interactions between reading fluency and text complexity in second grade. In addition, Dr. Tortorelli is beginning a year-long collaboration with teachers in the Flint Community Schools to support their early literacy instruction.