Teachers often ask us who should do Word Work and how long they should participate in it.
We really let the needs of our students guide the answer to these questions. Here are some general considerations.
For Younger Students:
It is often developmentally appropriate for our youngest students to participate in Word Work for one full round of Daily 5. Rounds in the early grades tend to be about twenty minutes long, and students use the practice time to manipulate words, moving them from short-term to long-term memory, where they can be accessed with greater automaticity.
For Intermediate Students:
Intermediate students often have stronger reading stamina, but may not be able to sustain independence doing Word Work for an entire round that may last forty minutes. They probably do not need to. So we ask students to spend the first 10 minutes of the round doing Word Work, then quietly transition to Work on Writing or Read to Self for the remainder of the round.
For All Students:
The “first 10 minutes” strategy may be useful for our younger students as well. They may need a stopwatch or timer so they know when to shift.
Some students don’t need Word Work at all. We’ve had students who spell better than we ever will. We do not require that they select Word Work as an option.
This article shares how we decide on words for Word Work.