Making Words: How I conduct a Word Work lesson during a Guided Reading Group

I wanted to show you how I take my students through a Word Work session during a Guided Reading Group. The video above shares the highlights of a recent lesson that I implemented, and the steps I follow are explained below.

  1. I introduce my students to our focus for our lesson and explain what it means in easy-to-understand terms. In the group shown above, we were concentrating on learning the long A sound. I ask if anyone can tell me what a long A sounds like, remind everyone that a long vowel sound is when “the letter A says its name,” and share a few examples of words featuring long A sounds to reinforce the concept.
  2. I ask students to share other examples with me. As soon as children can offer their own long-A words, I know they’ve got the idea! (See how enthusiastic they become? Everyone is so eager to get their words in that it’s hard to keep up!) I write their words on the whiteboard and make sure everyone has a chance to get a word in.
  3. When an answer isn’t quite right or a child isn’t sure, we blend the word—we say it slowly so they can hear all the different sounds that make up that word. Differences in pronunciation can be confusing, especially when everyone is thinking of words and saying them so quickly. When a student suggests a word that has a short A sound, taking a moment to blend it helps him hear the difference right away—and arrive at the right answer himself.
  4. Now it’s time to Make Words!
    • I draw the children’s attention to the letters on the table before them and remind them how important it will be to listen during this exercise. Our first word with a long A sound will be “brain,” and every child gets right to work assembling the word from their letters.
    • Once the students have assembled their word, we blend it. I sound out every part of the word, nice and slow, using finger-taps to mark each sound.
    • When the word is blended, we pull it. The students pull all the disparate sounds they have heard back into one word with a long A sound. The arm pull motion helps students understand that we are pulling it back together.  We also run our fingers under the word as well to show the blending of the entire word.
    • Finally, each student writes the word “brain” on their paper.
  5. We can make even more words now …
    • I ask the children to change their B-R to T-R in their cutout letter “brain.” (Can you hear the excitement when a student realizes he’s just made “train”?)
    • I go through the same blending and pulling exercise with “train” and finish with the students recording “train” on their worksheets.
    • I wonder what will happen if we change the I-N in “train” to a Y? We continue to change letters, which changes sounds, which creates new words to blend and pull—from “tray” to “say” to “pay.” The jump to “paper” means we have two syllables of sounds to blend and pull, but my students are feeling so confident now and they do a great job. We end with the word “taken.”
  6. We’ve made a bunch of words. Now it’s time to make sentences! I ask each student to write one sentence using one of the words we have made. I like to remind students of the components of a sentence before we start. Each student writes their sentence on their worksheet and then reads their sentence out loud.
  7. Each student is asked to draw a picture of two of the words we have made on their worksheet. If we’re going to draw pictures, we need color, right? I have crayons for the students who want to set aside their pencils.

Now you’ve seen my Word Work technique in a Guided Reading Lesson! Download your own Making Words Freebie and let me know how your students respond to these techniques!

If you are interested in the entire resources that covers TONS of phonics sounds, you can check that out by clicking the links below:



Or you can BUY THE BUNDLE and SAVE!



Love, Anna

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