Word Work: Engaging Activities for Practice

Whether you are just starting with word work or are a seasoned pro, there are so many word work activities to choose from to help your students with letter sounds, blending sounds, segmenting, and sound manipulation. Having a bank of engaging word work activities that you can pull from all year long will help keep your students engaged and excited. Today I am excited to share with you some of my most favorite word work activities that have been given two thumbs up by students in my classroom for years.

Getting started with word work activities

Word work is such an important part of our instructional day. It helps our students with both reading and spelling. If you missed the other posts in this word work series take a couple minutes to check them out:

I love to use a my letter tiles in a pocket chart at the front of the room.

Word Work is one of those activities I always started at the beginning of the school year. It had a dedicated place in our daily schedule. The first activities I would introduce were the sorting activities and letter tile activities because we did those each and every week. After that, it was time to add in some variety in order to keep things fresh and fun! Building a routine around word work is great for your students and will set them up for a year of meaningful learning.

There are a variety of fun and engaging activities I would add into our word work routine. I would start by introducing activities that lined up with classroom procedures we had already learned. This might change from year to year depending on the students and that is okay. The important thing is to start adding in one or two of these fun word work activities to keep students excited.

Write the room

Write the room is a fantastic activity in the primary classroom. It is a great opportunity to get students up and moving while staying focused on an academic task. Year after year write the room is a class favorite!

Write the room is sure easy to set up. All you need are printed cards with the words your students are focusing on for the week, some clipboards and a response sheet. Students will also need something to write with.

Your students will love a variety of word work activities to help them learn and practice their target words.

To prepare, just post your word cards around the classroom. At the beginning of the year I make them fairly obvious, but as the year goes on I like to “hide” them a little more. This adds a little challenge that the students love.

The students will then put their response sheet on a clipboard, grab a pencil and start walking around the room to find the hidden words. When they find a word card, they will write it down on the response sheet. It’s perfect for reading and writing practice focusing on the spelling pattern(s) of the week.

To make the write the room activity differentiated for your students, you can even color code the words. The colors can be there to help them identify the spelling pattern, or use to help them find the words for their color group. A quick and easy way to differentiate for students is always a win-win in the classroom!

Spell the Room

Write the Room activities for spelling are a great way to give students fun and interactive spelling practice

Write the Room was such a hit in my classroom that I created some extra spelling practice activities in the same form. I don’t think our students can ever get too much spelling practice. Spell the Room follows the same format and procedure. The difference here is that instead of word cards, there are picture cards. Students will search the room for the picture cards and then spell the word on their response sheet.

You can find Spell the Room activities for a variety of different sounds and spelling patterns. There’s even a digital version that is perfect for students to use in a technology center. Students will type the word making it a great way to meet some technology standards too!

Shaving cream words

This was hands-down my student’s most favorite word work activity. It might even rank in the top 5 of all classroom activities for the entire year! To get that kind of response for something so easy to do is perfect for any busy teacher.

This is an activity you probably will want to plan a specific time for your class to complete as a whole group. It needs a little more supervision that other activities. Setting clear expectations before you hand out the shaving cream will save you a lot of frustration and mess during the activity.

I would start by giving each student a small amount of shaving cream on their desk and have them smear it onto their desks to create a work space. Next, I would say a word that follows the spelling pattern we are practicing. Students used their finger to write the word in the shaving cream. It’s really easy to walk around and see how students are doing. When they are finished, they “erased” by spreading the shaving cream out again and we moved on to the next word.

One of the things I loved most about the shaving cream activity was that I could plan it towards the end of the day. That way, my students were also cleaning their desks while having a great time. It was easy to have them wipe off the shaving cream residue with a damp paper towel or sponge. This would leave their desks sparkling clean at the end of the day. An added bonus. . . my room always smelled amazing afterward!

stamp it

The Stamp It activity is perfect for centers. It’s simple to keep organized, and really easy for students to complete independently.

All I used for the stamp it activity was a stamp pad, alphabet stamps, and the stamp it worksheets. I stored everything in a plastic bin so students could quickly grab it and get to work. This Stamp It centers stays in our rotation center all year long. All I needed to change was the response sheet and it was ready to go!

To complete the Stamp It activity, the students would use the pictures on the response sheet as their target words. They would look at the picture, say the word and then spell the word using the letter stamps.

The Stamp It activity reinforces the spelling of the words with the spelling pattern you are focusing on for the week. With the picture prompts students are able to work on their own.

word hunt

The word hunt activity is similar to the write the room activity, except students can look almost anywhere to find and record words to fit the patterns they are studying. It’s a great activity for connecting the sound or spelling pattern to real life. Students learn to rely less on a word list and start seeing their spelling pattern in the world around them.

My students would always get so excited about this activity because I would put a detective spin on it. I would tell them that they were going to be detectives and would have to hunt down words. For extra fun, I would let students use the magnifying glasses from our science kits. They really loved the hunt!

There’s no right or wrong place for students to find words for this activity – that’s what so great about it. My students loved looking around the classroom, in textbooks, in their book boxes, dictionaries, on the word wall or anywhere else they can find words. Afterwards they would have a great time comparing lists with their classmates.

This also makes a really fun homework activity. I would encourage students to take the response sheet with them around the house, to the grocery store or even a restaurant and hunt for words. Sometimes parents would even send me a picture of their students hunting for the words!

Digital word work activities

With all of the digital learning teachers and students have been doing lately, it’s a no brainer to include some digital word work activities into your week! From Google Slides to Boom Cards, including word work in your digital activities is sure to get your students excited.

Digital activities are a wonderful way to increase student engagement, focus on an academic skill and improve technology skills too!

Each of these digital word work activities helps students work on the important skills like identifying sounds, connecting sounds to letter patterns, blending and segmenting.

Even the most reluctant of students gets engaged when using technology. It’s another activity that can be done independently by students making it a great center activity. Just look at some of the fun your students will have with digital word work activities.

Word work PRACTICE activities

It’s so easy for kids to get excited about these activities. They are fun . . . really fun! Many times students don’t even realize just how much they are learning and practicing with these activities. While these activities are sure to be a hit with your students, more importantly, they give your students the opportunity to practice skills in many different ways. This variety helps to reach all learning styles. Try a few and see what works best for you and your students.

fun and engaging word work practice activities are easy to use and add some variety for students

I liked to mix things up when choosing word work activities. One week we might do write the room and a digital activity and the next week it might be stamping words and shaving cream. Over time you’ll quickly see which ones your students respond to the best.

ready for some word work fun?

Ready to add some word work fun to your teacher toolbox? No problem! I’ve got everything you need for an entire year of fun and engaging skills-based word work ready to go. You can find all of the ready-to-use resources in my store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Word Work Activities and Centers for the entire year

This bundle includes each of these resources. Everything you need for word work instruction and practice for the entire school year.

short vowels, blends and digraph word work activities
long vowel, CVCe, vowel pairs and vowel team word work activities
word work activities for r controlled vowels, dipthongs and more advanced phonics skills

Try it out for free!

Want to see these fun activities for yourself? Grab this free Engaging Word Work Activities for the digraph ‘ng’ to use in your classroom. This free set gives you the chance to see everything and try it out with your students too! Grab your free word work activities here!

free word work activities for the digraph ng

don’t miss out!

There’s one final article in this word work series. Sign-up for the Fun Times in First e-mails and get notified when each new post is added.

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pin it & save it

Don’t waste your precious teacher time trying searching for fun and engaging word work activities. Just pin this to your favorite teacher Pinterest board so you can quickly come back when you need word work activities throughout the year!


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