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Words Their Way Blue Book

Words Their Way Blue Book: A Guide for Derivational Relations Spellers

Words Their Way is a popular and effective approach to teaching phonics, vocabulary, and spelling skills to students in Years F8. It is based on the idea that students learn best when they are actively engaged in word study activities that are tailored to their developmental stage and individual needs. Words Their Way helps teachers assess, group, and instruct students using a variety of word sorts, games, and activities that focus on sound, pattern, and meaning aspects of words.

The Words Their Way series consists of several books that cover different stages of spelling development, from emergent to derivational relations. The blue book, officially titled Words Their Way: Word Sorts for Derivational Relations Spellers, is designed for students who have mastered the basic spelling patterns and are ready to explore the origins and relationships of words. This book covers 60 word sorts that focus on prefixes, suffixes, Latin and Greek roots, and other aspects of word history and etymology.


Who Should Use the Blue Book?

The blue book is suitable for students who are in the derivational relations stage of spelling development, which typically occurs from Year 5 onwards. However, the exact age and grade level may vary depending on the individual student's background, ability, and exposure to language. To determine if a student is ready for the blue book, teachers can use the spelling inventory provided in the core book Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction. This book also contains detailed guidance on how to implement the Words Their Way approach in the classroom, as well as additional resources and assessments.

Students who are in the derivational relations stage have a solid grasp of the alphabetic principle and can spell most single-syllable words correctly. They can also apply common spelling rules and patterns to multisyllabic words, such as doubling consonants, dropping silent e, and changing y to i. However, they may still struggle with words that have irregular or complex spellings, such as those derived from Latin and Greek roots or those influenced by historical changes. The blue book helps students expand their vocabulary and spelling skills by exploring the meaning and structure of these words.

What Does the Blue Book Cover?

The blue book contains 60 word sorts that are divided into five units. Each unit focuses on a different aspect of derivational relations, as follows:

  • Unit I: Prefixes

  • Unit II: Suffixes

  • Unit III: Suffixes and Spelling Changes

  • Unit IV: Latin Elements

  • Unit V: Greek Elements

Each word sort consists of a set of words that share a common feature or pattern. For example, in Sort 1 of Unit I, students sort words by their prefixes (re-, un-, pre-, dis-). In Sort 32 of Unit IV, students sort words by their Latin roots (port-, ject-, miss-, mit-). The word sorts help students compare and contrast words based on their prefixes, suffixes, roots, meanings, spellings, pronunciations, and usage.

The blue book provides step-by-step instructions on how to introduce each word sort to students, as well as suggestions for follow-up activities and extensions. The book also includes reproducible word cards for each sort that can be cut out and used for sorting, matching, or playing games. Additionally, the book offers assessment tools such as spelling tests, proofreading exercises, and writing prompts that can be used to monitor student progress and mastery.

Why Use the Blue Book?

The blue book is a valuable resource for teachers who want to help their students improve their phonics, vocabulary, and spelling skills in a developmentally appropriate and engaging way. The blue book offers several benefits for both teachers and students, such as:

  • It supports differentiated instruction by allowing teachers to group students according to their spelling stage and individual needs.

  • It fosters student autonomy and motivation by giving them choices and ownership over their learning.

  • It enhances student comprehension and retention by connecting spelling to meaning and history.

  • It enriches student vocabulary and communication by exposing them to a wide range of words from various domains and disciplines.

  • It builds student confidence and competence by providing them with strategies and tools to tackle challenging words.

If you are interested in learning more about the Words Their Way approach and the blue book, you can visit the official website or browse the online marketplace for additional resources and materials. You can also purchase the blue book from Amazon or other online retailers.


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