The Revised Belief Statement

Table of Content

According to “Explaining Phonics Instruction: An Educator’s Guide,” word study is defined as an “approach to teach the alphabetic and pattern layers of the writing system by including spelling instruction that is differentiated by students’ development.” When teaching word study it is important to provide your students with opportunities to investigate and understand the patterns in words. A teacher must be able to assess, analyze, and identify what students know and what they are ready to learn next so you are able to provide developmentally appropriate instruction to an entire classroom of students each day. In order to best support my students in their word study is important to first assess students prior knowledge by using a spelling inventory. Analyzing the way that students spell words gives us educators insight as to how the student thinks the spelling system works and what we learn from that will serve as a guide for future instruction. I will also be sure to use my observations of students’ reading and writing to offer insight into students’ development.

Once all students are assessed I will create differentiated instruction and appropriate word study activities based on their stage of development and what students “use but confuse.” Students will be grouped using a Spelling-by-Stage Classroom Organization Chart, mentioned on page 37 of Words Their Way. This will allow me to easily group students based on their word study needs. Direct instruction will be deliberately sequenced so that students will get instruction that will propel their development in their word study practices. Orthographic knowledge promotes fluent reading, writing, and vocabulary which is why word study will be a part of each and every day. To implement word study effectively, myself and my students will engage in an ongoing attempt to make sense of word patterns and their relationships to one another in ways that are meaningful to students. Students will engage in a variety of different types of word sorts and other activities to address word recognition, vocabulary, phonics, and spelling.

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When beginning to study a new feature, students will use key words or picture sorts that are distinctive and with time and practice they will use sorts that become gradually more difficult and less distinctive. When doing a sort, students will use their word knowledge to become detectives and separate examples that go together from those that don’t as well as getting used to talking about the sorts. I will encourage all of my students to look for patterns in their reading and writing and give them plenty of opportunities to display what they have learned after each sort. Students may track their own progress by creating a word study notebook or by assisting in the creation of a class word wall which would illustrate examples of the different features they have been studying. To ensure transfer of the big ideas gained during word study, students must be engaged in activities that specifically require them to apply their word knowledge to a reading and writing.

When comparing my initial belief statement created in August and this revised belief statement I can confidently say that the new statement is more informed and knowledgeable about word study. I wrote the first belief statement just knowing surface level knowledge of word study and was not able to explain in depth what word study really entailed. My initial ideas were on the right track, but since I did not know much about word study at the time I lacked detail in my statement. One major difference between my first belief statement and my revised stated is the shift in academic language used.

In my original statement words used most often were words likes ‘development’ and ‘spelling.’ Though both of these words are a part of word study, they are not the most important things. I now know that word study is much more than just spelling and vocabulary which is why in my new statement they are still present, but not as often used. I think this is because through course readings, I have learned more about the other factors of word study such as reading, writing, and word sorts. Originally, I thought that word study was essentially helping students learn new vocabulary and assist them in spelling those words correctly using decoding skills, but after completing part of one case study, I understand that though vocabulary is an essential piece to word study, it does not work by itself.

The second major difference between my first belief statement and my revised belief statement is that the second belief statement is based on surface level knowledge from academic material and what little I have read about word study through research articles in previous courses. I had never truly understood what word study was until this course. Throughout this semester, I have had access to articles and chapter readings from Words Their Way that not only explained important parts of word study, but it exposed me to activities, strategies, and an explanation as to why word study instruction is important in a classroom. Personally, these chapters have helped me develop my knowledge of assessing and analyzing students orthographic knowledge, ways to prepare for effective literacy instruction, and word study as a whole. Chapter 3 of Words Their Way was most helpful to me in understanding the purpose of word study and how instruction would look like in a classroom.

It listed principles of word study instruction which has not only helped guide my thinking throughout this course, but I planned to use what I have learned from this chapter and the entire book in my future literacy instruction. The third major difference between my first belief statement and my revised belief statement is that the revised belief statement included more concrete examples of how to implement word study in a classroom. For example, in my revised belief statement I explained how students will use various word sorts such as ones that include key words or picture that are distinctive. I also explained that during these sorts it’s not all about sorting, but being able to talk about the sorts and explain their reasoning behind what they have sorted. I give examples of extension activities after a word sort such as having the students look for the feature they had been working on in their writing or while reading.

In my original statement I wrote “Students will use word sorts and other activities to address word recognition, vocabulary, phonics, and spelling”, but I didn’t really understand what word sorts were and never gave an example of a type of word sort that students would engage in. In my revised statement I am sure to give more examples and explanation as to how certain activities would benefit students word study. The assignment that had helped me the most when it came to learning about word sorts and determining the best instructional activities for students based on their developmental stage was both case study assignments. Both case study assignment gave me the opportunity to practice what an actual teacher would go through when planning literacy instruction for her students and I learned why certain activities were better than others based on different stages.


  1. Bear, D. R., Invernizzi, M., Johnston, F. R., & Templeton, S. (2016). Words their way: Word study in action. Glenview, IL: Pearson Learning.

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The Revised Belief Statement. (2022, Apr 14). Retrieved from

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