Spelling to Complement Reading | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G1:S3:C17:L88

Spelling to Complement Reading

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Daily Learning Targets

  • Opening A: I can read high-frequency words: "kind," "many," "these," "too," "your," "fly," "take." (RF.1.3)
    • I can decode regularly spelled one-syllable words by mapping graphemes to phonemes.
    • I can read first-grade words that "don't play fair" in isolation.
  • Work Time A: I can segment, blend, and spell CVCe words like "here" and "flute." (RF.1.3, L.K.2, L.1.2)
    • I can identify vowel sounds in the spelling of a multisyllabic (more than one syllable) word.
    • I can identify the number of syllables in a word based on the number of vowel sounds.
    • I can use what I know about common spelling patterns to correctly spell words with those common patterns.
    • I can decode a word with a vowel in the middle and a silent "e" at the end.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Observe students during Opening. Determine whether they can explain how letter sound knowledge helps identify the high-frequency word.
  • Observe students during Work Time. Determine whether they can correctly spell the CVCe word from dictation.



1. Opening (3-5 minutes)

A. Mid-Cycle Review: High-Frequency Word Fishing: "kind," "many," "these," "too," "your," "fly," "take"

2. Work Time (10 minutes)

A. Spelling to Complement Reading: Dictation

3. Closing and Assessment (3-5 minutes)

A. Reflecting on Learning

4. Differentiated Small Group Instruction and Rotations (40 minutes)

In Advance

  • Prepare:
    • High-Frequency Word Cards (see supporting materials)
    • Snapshot Assessment (optional; one per student)
  • Predetermine a method for identifying students to "catch" high-frequency words in the Opening. Consider including at least one card per student so all students can "catch" one. Alternatively, consider including a few cards for selected students to "catch."


Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T)

  • decode (L)


  • High-Frequency Word Cards (see supporting materials)
  • Whiteboards (one per student)
  • Whiteboard markers (one per student)
  • Whiteboard erasers (or tissues, socks, etc.; one per student)
  • Snapshot Assessment (optional; one per student)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Mid-Cycle Review: High-Frequency Word Fishing: "kind," "many," "these," "too," "your," "fly," "take"

  • (Suggested transition song, sung to the tune of "The More We Get Together"):

"Ga-a-ther around to-gether, to-gether, to-gether. Ga-a-ther around to-gether, to-gether, let's go. Stand up in a circle to think about what we've learned. Let's make some great connections with letters and sounds."

  • Randomly place High-Frequency Word Cards in the "pond" (center of circle).
  • Begin the High-Frequency Word Fishing instructional practice. See Spelling to Complement to Reading lessons from Modules 1-2 for a more detailed description of the procedure.
  • Because many high-frequency words are difficult to define (example: "these"), it is important that students hear the word in the context of a sentence to understand and commit it to memory. As such, consider extending this activity by asking students to provide a sentence (or to create one with a partner and share out) for the word.
  • Because many high-frequency words are also irregularly spelled (example: "your"), encourage students to notice unfamiliar spellings and patterns. Ask:

"How did you know that _____ is a word that doesn't play fair?"

  • Remind students that the letter sound connections can help them read and memorize the word.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Spelling to Complement Reading: Dictation

  • (Suggested transition song, sung to the tune of "The More We Get Together"):

"No-o-w it's time to lis-ten, to lis-ten, to lis-ten. No-o-w it's time to listen for each sound in some words. We hear sounds to spell words, and then we can read words. It's time to say some words now and segment each sound."

  • Distribute whiteboards, whiteboard markers, and whiteboard erasers to students.
  • Words to use (in no particular order): "here," "Steve," "theme," "fume," "crude," "fluke," "June," "rule," "brute," "flute."
  • Begin the Spelling to Complement Reading instructional practice:

1. Teacher says: "Today we are going to spell some words that have the long vowel sounds we have been working with in this cycle. I am going to say the word, and you will repeat the word and listen for the vowel sound you hear. Then you will write the word using the sounds you hear and the spelling patterns we have learned."

2. Teacher says the first word: "here," and students repeat.

3. Students write the word on their whiteboards.

4. Teacher and students repeat the word.

5. Teacher says: "Look at the word you wrote on your whiteboards and whisper-read it to yourself." Teacher asks:

"Does it say 'here'?"

6. Teacher shows the word to students so they can check their spelling.

7. Students correct any errors in their words and then read the word together.

8. Students erase the word.

9. Repeat steps 2-8 with the remaining words as time allows.

  • Encourage students to monitor their spelling as they write each word by having them whisper-read the word after they have written it. This skill supports students in monitoring their reading to self-correct as necessary in support of strong comprehension.
  • Ask questions to support students' metacognition as they spell using the CVCe spelling pattern in this cycle. Example: "I see how you wrote the sounds you heard in that word. Do you notice anything missing from your word to make it 'crude' instead of 'crud'?"
  • Consider allowing students who need help matching graphemes to phonemes to use sound boxes as a scaffold as they write spoken words from memory.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reflecting on Learning

  • Emphasize that successful learners keep track of and reflect on their own learning. Point out that they are doing this each time they consider how what they did today helps them become more proficient readers.
  • Invite students to reflect and share with a partner (or whole group). Ask:

"What did you do today that is helping you become a more proficient reader?" (Responses will vary. Examples: "I listened to the vowel sound and if I heard a long vowel, then I knew to add a magic 'e,'" or "I remembered that 'th' says /th/."

  • For students who need additional support organizing their ideas: Provide sentence frames. Examples:
    • "When I made the sounds for the word _____, I _____."
    • "When I heard the vowel sounds, I _____."
    • "When I divided the syllables, I _____."

Differentiated Small Groups: Work with Teacher

Suggested Plan: Teacher works with students in the Pre-Alphabetic, Partial Alphabetic, and Full Alphabetic groups. Students in the Consolidated Alphabetic group do not work with the teacher today.

Note: Groups not working with the teacher at a given time should be engaged in purposeful independent rotation work. Refer to the Independent and Small Group Work Guidance document for more details (see K-2 Skills Resource Manual).


  • Aim small group instruction at building students' knowledge and skills of letter identification and phonological awareness.
  • Use the Assessment Conversion chart to determine appropriate Kindergarten lessons and Activity Bank ideas to use in daily small group instruction.
  • Consider leading a Spelling to Complement reading lesson with CVC words, then adding a magic "e" to the end and practicing the change in the word aloud. Examples: "cut," "cute."

Partial Alphabetic:

  • Extend the Spelling to Complement Reading from Work Time to include any words from the suggested list that may not have been done, or review CVCe patterns with "a," "i," and "o."
  • For students processing words at the early to middle Partial Alphabetic phase, consider beginning with CVC words (example: "cut") and then adding the magic "e," practicing the change in the vowel sound.
  • Related Activity Bank suggestions:
    • Any Activity Bank activity from the Vowels category (V)

Full Alphabetic:

  • Extend the work from Spelling to Complement Reading to include two-syllable words using combinations of the syllable types learned to this point (closed, open, CVCe).
  • Check in with Accountable Independent Reading.
  • Follow up with Word Lists and exit tickets. Analyze words that were more challenging and discuss why.
  • Invite students to write silly poems using the CVCe pattern words learned so far. They can illustrate and share their poems or create a class poetry book.
  • Consider working with an appropriate common text, making connections to the CVCe patterns introduced, and holding text-based comprehension conversations.

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