• Word Study for Phonics,
    Vocabulary, and Spelling
    Instruction, 6/E
  • With English Learners,
  • With Struggling
  • Companion Volumes,

Word Study for Phonics,
Vocabulary, and Spelling
Instruction, 6/E

Words Their Way ® is a hands-on, developmentally-driven approach to word study that illustrates how to integrate and teach children phonics, vocabulary, and spelling skills.

Building on its best-selling approach, this edition of  Words Their Way  continues the phenomenon that has helped thousands of children improve their literacy skills. The keys to this successful, research-based approach are to know your students’ literacy progress, organize for instruction, and implement word study. This Sixth Edition lists the Common Core State Standards for each activity and features enhanced discussions, activities, and content. 

To offer teachers even more tools that will enhance their word study instruction, all new classroom videos and interactive PDFs are available on the  PDToolkit site. With its newly designed marginal icons that link readers to resources on the accompanying web site,  Words Their Way, provides a complete word study package that will motivate and engage your students, and help them to succeed in


  • A hands-on, developmentally-driven approach to word study illustrates how to integrate and teach children phonics, vocabulary, and spelling skills.
  • To help educators make the most of their classroom time the book includes  step-by-step guidelines for knowing your students, organizing for instruction, and implementing word study.
  • Balanced coverage of five developmental stages includes the Emergent Stage, the Letter Name-Alphabetic Stage, the Within Word Pattern Stage, the Syllables and Affixes Stage, and the Derivational Relations Stage.
  • A collection of proven assessments, word lists, pictures and games, and classroom activities provide ways for students to examine, manipulate, and categorize words and experience vocabulary growth and spelling development in a way that is fun and engaging.
  • Classroom-ready appendices contain most of the assessment instruments described in Chapter 2 as well as word sorts, sound boards, and game templates to get your own instruction underway. (Note: Includes reproducibles and perforated pages.)
  • NEW:  Common Core State Standards  are listed for each activity .  Words Their Way supports the Reading Foundational Skills and the Language Standards across all the grades. The depth and breadth of word knowledge developed through  Words Their Way will also support the Common Core’s emphasis on students’ reading more complex literary and informational texts.
  • NEWRevised and new activities offer a robust collection of classroom activities sequenced to help students build the skills they need to move on the next developmental stage.
  • NEW: To enhance thoughtful discussions:
    • A chart in chapter 3 offers  sample questions to guide problem solving, reflections, applications, and transfer.
  • NEW: Expanded content includes:
    • Ideas for teaching proofreading and dictionary skills at each level.
    • Expanded word study websites and resources.
    • More assessments for the emergent stage.
    • Enhanced coverage of oral vocabulary with additional activities at all stages.
    • Updated references pertaining to student demographics and the latest research pertaining to word study.
    • Academic vocabulary is introduced with accompanying vocabulary activities.
  • NEW: To further enhance the interconnectedness between the text and the media,  photos have been pulled from the video and appear in the book.
  • Reality-focused features help facilitate teaching and learning:
    • Characteristics of Spellers pinpoints the characteristics of spellers in each developmental stage.
    • Word Study with English Learners sections emphasize how to adapt instruction for diverse populations.
    • Word Study Routines and Management sections emphasize how to best manage your class time and organize for instruction.
  • A newly designed PDToolkit connects the reader to specific videos, sorts, and assessments. Margin notes referencing the PDToolkit can be found throughout the book.
    • UPDATED: The accompanying  PDToolkit for  Words Their Way  is an online subscription-based* resource that provides the tools that you need to carry out word study instruction that will help your students succeed in literacy learning. The following resources are available:
    • NEW: How-to classroom videos show authentic implementation of the  Words Their Way ®  approach. New classroom footage brings you into the classrooms of teachers using word study at all of the stages of development, with English learners in the classroom, and in PreK-K and secondary classrooms.
    • NEW: Interactive PDFs are available online for teachers to customize and for students to complete.
    • An assessment tool provides  downloadable inventories and feature guides as well as  interactive classroom composites that help teachers monitor their students’ development throughout the year.
    • Prepared  word sorts and  games for each stage will help you get started with word study in your classroom
    • Create Your Own feature allows you to modify and create sorts by selecting words or pictures to be used with the word sort and game templates.
    • Word sorts that can be used with interactive whiteboards are available for each stage.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Developmental Word Knowledge
Chapter 2 Getting Started: The Assessment of Orthographic Development
Chapter 3 Organizing for Word Study: Principles and Practices
Chapter 4 Word Study for Learners in the Emergent Stage
Chapter 5 Word Study for Beginners in the Letter Name–Alphabetic Stage
Chapter 6 Word Study for Transitional Learners in the Within Word Pattern Stage
Chapter 7 Word Study for Intermediate Readers and Writers: The Syllables and Affixes Stage
Chapter 8 Word Study for Advanced Readers and Writers: The Derivational Relations Stage

APPENDIX A Assessment Materials
APPENDIX B Sound Boards
APPENDIX C Pictures for Sorts and Games
APPENDIX D Sample Word Sorts by Spelling Stage
APPENDIX F Games and Templates for Sorts
APPENDIX G Other Resources


With English Learners,

Word study can be a powerful instructional method for teachers and their English learning students.  With this book you can evaluate students’ language needs.  Empower your students to grasp this new language at the word level, building skills to understand how English differs from their primary language, and providing them with the skills to predict word meaning through spelling.   Words Their Way with English Learners, 2/e will help you build vocabulary, spelling, and word recognition skills in your English learners, giving them the foundation to master their new language.

One reality of today’s classrooms is the limited help available to teachers trying to support English learners’ literacy skills.  The educators and researchers who developed  Words Their Way understand this challenge.  Their original text, a phenomenon in word study, provides the proven framework and application to allow students to develop literacy skills.  And now they apply this approach to teaching English learners. 

Based on the same solid research,  Words Their Way with English Learners, 2/e helps you determine what your students bring with them from their home languages, where their instruction in English orthography should begin, and how best to move these students through their development. The Second Edition includes the  PD Toolkit for Words Their Way which provides word study teaching scenarios to allow teachers to see  how  to engage in word study with English Learners.

With Struggling

Intended for the classroom teacher, this handy book provides specific guidance, strategies, and tools for helping struggling students, grades 4 and up, catch up with their peers in literacy. The thrust is intervention – specifically, utilizing word study with its hands-on, assessable approach to aid students struggling with the vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension load of middle and secondary classrooms. This text will help you determine student needs, provide you with the strategies to guide each student toward success in content area comprehension, and even outline ideas for fitting these strategies into your crowded schedule. You’ll have the tools you need to help your students acquire the literacy skills they need to meet the ever-increasing demands of school life.

Companion Volumes,

We believe that the hands-on word sorting approach to word study is invaluable to you and your students.  These stage-specific companion volumes to Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction provide a complete curriculum of reproducible sorts and detailed directions for the teacher working with students in each stage of spelling development, from emergent through derivational relations. All new editions boast:

  • Literature Connections making links between features being studies and valuable children’s literature
  • Targeted Learners sections that clarify which students will benefit most from the instruction
  • Spell Checks and other Assessments available more frequently throughout
  • High Frequency Words receive special attention