How it has changed?
For most of you spelling was a list of words given to you on Monday, which you study all week and then tested for mastery on Friday. During the last 30 years there has been lots of research done on how children acquire word knowledge. Schools could not ignore the research both in linguistics and cognition. This brings us to study words, rather than spelling.
What is Word Study?
It is not what we had experienced in school where all kids, regardless of whether or not they knew the assigned words, are given a list and required to memorize them by Friday. Word study is a look at students and their linguistic knowledge. We look at their skills as distinct stages that children naturally pass though when acquiring encoding (spelling) skills. At each stage, there are strategies, skills, or knowledge and for students to learn and use, it is not all about memorizing.
Children practice with ‘hands-on’ activities, which is effective for diverse range of learners. Students see parts of words many times, manipulate them, break them apart, put them together, and keep in mind what they are learning about words. They learn about parts of words that can be applied in many other places, not only limited to one word, or 10 words a week.