Word Study

These word study sheets can be a valuable teaching tool for your classroom use. It is most effective if each child has a copy of the sheet on which to mark the words as the class works with them. Alice Nine, the originator of the Johnny Can Spell curriculum, advocates using the "blab" method of classroom response where all the children answer orally at the same time.

At the top of each page is a row of Phonograms. ( These are some of the phonograms that the children are learning in JCS.) These phonograms will also be found in the words in the right hand column on the page; words from the story which may be unfamiliar to the students. The children will make all the sounds of the phonograms listed at the top of the page before unlocking the words.

There are two or three words on each row to help the students unlock the story words. Work across the rows from left to right. Before unlocking the words on each row, the students determine what the words have in common.

If you are using the JCS method, they will mark them with Johnny Can Spell markings. They will underline the phonograms, put a number above the phonogram if it has the 2nd or 3rd sound of the phonogram, and write a number to show which rule for silent e is being used when there is a silent e. Sometimes there will be a common element which does not have a JCS marking. We will then circle those letters; suffixes such as ful, ness etc.

If you are not using the Johnny Can Spell method, have the child mark the vowels as follows:
A short horizontal line over the vowel (macron) to show that the vowel has a long sound or says its name.
A curved line over the vowel (breve) to show that the vowel has a short sound as the a as in the word cat.

(See an example of vowel marking)

Phonograms such as ow, ou, ay etc. can be circled.

The children will say the first three words in the row together, then the teacher will call on one child to unlock the last word on the row, which is the new word in the story.

Teaching the Lesson

After the word study, the teacher hands out the comprehension pages. The students read the chapter silently. They can refer back to the word sheet if they come to an unfamiliar word. During silent reading the students can find the answers to the questions on the sheet. After silent reading, they put the books away and answer the questions . This is a very good indicator of whether they understood the chapter they read silently.

Next the chapter is read orally by the class and discussed. After oral reading, the students tell the main points in the chapter and the teacher writes phrases on the chalkboard. Each child then writes a summary or retelling of the chapter. Some children will write half a page, and others will write two or three pages. Give plenty of time for this activity and allow the students to work on it later in the day, or carry the activity over for an early morning activity the next day if necessary. A picture can also be drawn to illustrate a scene in the chapter.

We used a different approach when reading Stone Fox. The reading level was somewhat above their ability, so we put them in groups of five students. We were careful to include capable readers in each group who could assist the others. They took turns reading aloud, discussing the questions and writing the answers while in their groups. When all groups had finished, the teacher read the chapter aloud to the class and their answers were discussed. Then they drew a picture about the chapter and wrote a sentence about it.

When the book is finished and all the summaries are completed, a construction paper cover is made and decorated. The book is stapled and holes punched. At the end of the year all eight books are tied with a ribbon to make a larger book containing the year's work.

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