Interactive Strategies for Spelling and Word Work


A little out-of-the-box practice with some on-the-fly planning! All you need is a bunch of index cards! No printables needed!

I plan most of my introductory lessons with the identify, practice, apply approach in mind. This lets me easily see which stage my students may be stuck at based on what kind of activity they struggle with. That’s how I grouped the activities below and really these strategies can be used with any set of words in your word work center!

Make it cross-curricular and use these strategies with Science and Social Studies vocabulary or Math and see the level of understanding soar!

We are still on the Seuss theme so we had a shortened list of just ten words- all from Dr. Seuss titles- that was another great challenge!


1. Each word on an index card (identify)


So many possibilities here! The students wrote one word on each card and then arranged them in alphabetical order.

You could also:

  • Sort them based on your spelling pattern, 
  • Sort into parts of speech categories: noun, verb, adjective
  • Match synonyms and/or antonyms, 
  • Label the room,
  • Mix with a partner and form a memory game or 
  • Create a changeable bingo mat!

2. Ghost Writer (practice)

Afterwards, they “wrote” their words on each other’s backs and their partner had to guess the word.


You could also:

  • Highlight patterns,
  • Write the word in each of the front four corners,
  • Quiz one another as flash cards,
  • Take to a sensory center using sand, shaving cream or crayon over plastic canvas or sandpaper to write each word,
  • Use a chart like this to write the value of each word,

  • Play a game: stack the cards in the center, flip a card, the first person to write the word in all four corners of their white board gets a point, most points wins!

3. Story sentence mix-up (apply)

And finally, They wrote a story using each word in a sentence on the back of the card and their partners had to put the story in the correct order. They used time-order words and clues to help.

This stage can be a quick assessment, project-based, or a challenge for those who need it!


You could also:

  • Record dictionary definitions on the back,
  • Write a sentence using the word on the back,
  • Write a story on large chart paper and paste the card in each sentence for flair,
  • Connect to story selection: use as character traits or to describe a characters’ actions, the setting, problem/ solution, or sequence in the story,
  • Use to describe a school event in a similar way as above: describe participants’ actions, event sequence, or write a review!
  • Explain a process using each word: a recent science concept, or word work strategy ie: What are homophones? How do you make words that end in y plural? 

Super successful day of spelling and writing practice! #winning