Toggle menu
(817) 800-3287
Word Sorts

Word Sorts

Posted by Monica Creates LLC on Apr 23rd 2019

WORD SORTS

Written by © MonicaCreatesLLC 2019

What Are Word Sorts?

A word sort is an individual or small group activity in which students sort words by linking to their prior knowledge. The sorts advance student knowledge, are active and fun, are an analytical and implicit approach to learning, are beneficial to ELL students, as well as being supported by research.

Word Sorts are the heart of Word Study. Students sort words into categories based on any number of criteria or features (alphabetical order, number of syllables, part of speech, beginning letter, vowel sound, etc.). Not only do students make sense of that particular pattern and how it ‘works’ in words, they can more easily see the similarities and differences between words.

Benefits of Word Sorts

Likely the number one benefit of Words Sorts is that they benefit all students and can be used across the curriculum for a variety of topics.

Word Sorts are Interactive/Hands-On

Students do the work; they manipulate the words and explain their rational. The more modalities a student uses to learn, the better the comprehension.

*In the above example, students will see and hear the word and touch (move) the word into a category, while they are kinesthetically involved in the process.

Word Sorts Build on Prior Knowledge

Students use what they know as a basis for their choice/s.

*In the above example, some students may sort according to the beginning letter or sound, others may sort according to number of syllables, similar endings, or part of speech depending on their own prior knowledge.

Word Sorts Occur at the Student’s Instructional Level

Students learn best at their Instructional Level, where they will be challenged but not frustrated.

*In the above example, some students may sort according to the beginning letter or sound if they are competent with several letters and new letters are introduced. Others may sort according to number of syllables as their current level dictates. More advanced students may sort based part of speech.

Word Sorts are Easily Tailored for Differentiation.

The fact that there is no one, correct way to create a word sort makes the activity inherently differentiated. Teachers may choose a particular sort to be performed, or may allow the student to create their own. (See below for types of word sorts.)

*If the teacher notes that a student/s have difficulty distinguishing between long and short vowel sounds, they can be given word cards of words they know representing both long and short sounds and asked to sort into categories. ‘roast’, ‘cold, ‘crisp’ and so on.

Word Sorts Promote Oral Language Development

Students need to say and/or spell words and justify their categorization.

*If the teacher notes that a student/s have difficulty distinguishing between long and short vowel sounds, they can be given word cards of words they know representing both long and short sounds and asked to sort into categories. ‘roast’, ‘cold, ‘crisp’ and so on. The student would then explain why a word was put in the ‘short vowel’ or ‘long vowel’ area.

EX: “I put ‘cold’ in the short vowel area because there is only one vowel in the word and has the /o/ (short o sound).”

Sample Word List Possible Word Sorts


Types of Word Sorts

There are two basic types of Word Sorts - an Open Sort and a Closed Sort. Additional sorts include Speed Sort, Blind Sort, and Word Hunt. The type of sort used is at the discretion of the teacher and the needs of their students/s. Below, the Open and Closed Sorts are discussed in more detail.

Open Sort:

The teacher provides only the words.The words could be a list or on cards.

Students work together to determine commonalities and describe the categories.

Given the above words, the following sort categories could be possible:

Verbs:                         gather, roast, help, cook

Adjectives:                  cold

Beginning Letter:        c - cold, crisp, cook

Alphabetical Order:     cold, cook, crisp, gather, help, loudly, roast, slowly

Number of Syllables:   1 syllable - help, cook, cold, crisp, roast 2 syllables - gather, slowly, loudly

Words I Know:             help, cook, cold

Closed Sort:

The teacher provides categories (specific features) to students.

Given the above words, the following sort categories could be possible:

Verbs                           Adjectives                      By Beginning Letter                  Put in Alphabetical Order

1 Syllable Words         2 Syllable Words              Words I Know                             Words I Do Not Know

Variations

Use pictures along with words.

Add a Non-Example section.

Create phrases with given words.

*In the above example, Slowly cook (the) roast

Students can write the words in addition to simply grouping.

Students could draw pictures.

Allow students to create their own examples.

Across the Curriculum

Math

Operations - add, subtract, multiply, divide, equal, etc.

Word Problem Key Words - more, less, take away, less than, all together, etc.

Social Studies                    Science                      Physical Education

State or Cities                      States of Matter          Types of Activities

Topography                          Table of Elements       Rules

Vocabulary

Additional Resources

http://edublog.scholastic.com/post/lets-talk-word-sorts#

http://strategiesforspecialinterventions.weebly.com/word-sort1.html

http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/word-sorts-beginning-struggling-795.html

FIND SOME HERE:

Animal Classification. Mammal, Fish, Reptile, Bird. Photos, Labels and Sorts.

WORD SORT Activity: (OLYMPIC) WINTER GAMES

Word Families - Rhyming Words - Yes/No Sort - Activity - Printable

Word Sort - Fall Theme - Differentiated - Cut and Sort