Word Work for Kindergarten

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These days time just seems to be flying by!  For some of you school has already started and for many others your days are filled with getting ready for school to start soon.  This is such a busy season that seems to usher in a busy school year.   As we introduce new learning stations I wanted to share one of my favorite: Word Word Centers. Word Work Centers are a great way to give students time working with letters, sounds and words.

word work ideas for kindergarten or primary classrooms

Learning Stations (or Centers) is the norm in the primary classroom today.  But gone are the day when stations are just for play.  It can be tough finding education activities that your students can do independently.  One way I build independence is by having a station that stays consistent all year long.  Do my students do the same activity all year long?  No.  But they do have some of their centers that include the same format all year – but the content changes.  I find it easy to to teach these stations in whole or small group at the beginning of the year.  Once I see that the class understands the activity and can complete it without much direction I use it as a center.  Here’s a couple of the on-going centers that I use in my classroom.

1.  Multi-Sensory Sight Word Pages

sight word practice pages helps students with reading, writing and spelling sight words

I LOVE these sight word practice pages and so do my students.  As a teacher I love that this one page includes so many different ways to read, write and spell sight words.  I introduce this activity whole group as we learn our first sight words.  I take the time to explain each section and model my expectation on the page.  We usually do 3 – 5 pages whole class before I put this in a word work station.  After that all I have to do is change out the page to match the sight words we are working on.

This activity makes it super easy to differentiate for my students too!  I can easily give students the words they are working on in their guided reading lessons to make sure I am challenging each of them at their instructional level.

sight word practice page there

Each page gives your students 7 ways to practice reading and writing the word.  I begin these pages whole group in my classroom.  Why?  I want to train my students to do the page.  

Here’s what we do. First, point to the word in the box and read it.  Then we trace it with our finger.  Next, trace the word with a pencil on the dotted lines, then write the word on the lines with your pencil.  Now for the class favorite – Rainbow Writing.  I teach my kids that this is not coloring.  We use crayons to write the word inside the bubble letters with at least 3 different colors.  Then we practice reading the word as we search for it amongst other words.  I tried to put other words in the search box that look similar to the target word just to make sure students are reading through the word and not just looking at the first letter.  Last, we build the word.  In the available letters I always try to include letters that are similar or have common mistakes. This is just another way to help them master their letters too!

2. Write the Room

Another one of my favorite on-going learning stations is Write the Room.  During this word work station students use a clipboard and move around the room to write down letters, words or sentences that match a corresponding picture.

One of my favorite beginning of the year activities is write the room with names.  This is a great way to help the kids get to know each other and start to recognize their own name and the names of their friends. And since names are already posted all around the room there is really no prep to this center. Just what we need at the already busy time of the year!

Here’s another no prep write the room idea for the beginning of the year – search for letters around the room.  The students must find the letter somewhere in the room before writing it on the recording sheet.  

Another reason I love write the room activities is because they can easily be changed out to match a topic being taught at the time.  I really love incorporating our science and social studies themes into our language arts activities.  

community helper write the room activity

Here’s a Write the Room activity from my Community Helpers Activities Set.  In this activity students are matching the picture of the community helper and writing the name of that job. It’s a fun way to connect what students are learning with word work. There’s also a write the room activity in my Olympics themed literacy center set.

3. Play dough Mats

Who doesn’t love play dough! These sight word play dough mats are a great way to get students working on reading and spelling sight words while adding in some fine motor practice too!

sight word play dough mats

4. Playing with Word Building

football letter cards can be used for letter matching and word building

I love to give my students opportunities to just play with letters and word building. One day a student asked if there were other letters besides the magnetic letters and letter tiles that I had available. I told him I didn’t have any, but that I would make him some. I asked what kind of letters do you want? He told me football letters with a big grin on his face. That was the beginning of this football set.

What I really love about using letter manipulatives is just how versatile they are. Here students can use for letter matching with uppercase and lowercase letters or word building. My students love building words from the word wall! It’s a great center for football season in the fall or right before “The Big Game.”

football letter cards for alphabet matching
football letter cards for word building

I also created these fun reindeer letter cards for the Christmas season.

Save these Word Work Ideas

Just pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back when you need word work ideas for your kindergarten or primary classroom.

Are you looking for hands-on and engaging word work activities for your kindergarten or first grade students? Check out this blog post with a variety of activities that will get your kids working with words and spelling patterns. These activities are easy to add to your centers for continued practice.

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