The Effect of Words Their Way Spelling Instruction on the Acquisition of Second Grade Students' Spelling Skills

Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Michael Coquyt


Words Their Way, Spelling, Elementary, Inventory


Over the years, individualized word study has gained popularity with researchers and teachers as an alternative to traditional spelling instruction. Traditional spelling consists of students memorizing a word list, while word study requires students to study letter sounds and word patterns at their level of proximal development. Word study encourages students to master word parts instead of whole word memorization. Word study builds a strong foundation in word knowledge to support the development of new skills.

Words Their Way spelling instruction uses word sorts to teach spelling patterns, beginning with the first sound in a word and ending with derivational relations. This quantitative research study focused on the effects of Words Their Way spelling instruction on eleven second grade students’ spelling abilities from an elementary school in the Midwest region of the United States. Four boys’ and seven girls’ spelling capabilities were analyzed with a Primary Spelling Inventory list at the commencement and conclusion of this six week study, with weekly check-ins to monitor progress. This study provides supplemental evidence for the effectiveness of word study as spelling instruction.

An increase of word knowledge was evident at the conclusion of the study. Fifty-four percent of the participants had already begun to grow after six weeks of individualized word study. Further research would be encouraged to determine the long-term effectiveness of the Words Their Way program utilizing a larger participant sample.

Abstract only: No full text available.