The physical environment of the classroom creates an important context for learning about letters and words. Follow these steps to help guide you when organizing your classroom environment to support word solving.
1. Take a look at your classroom environment as you have presently organized it for literacy instruction. Gather a group of colleagues in your classroom and ask them to analyze the environment.
2. Use a clipboard and write notes as a response to the following questions:
- What kinds of resources are on the classroom walls and display areas to help children think about and learn about words?
- What kinds of references and resources are available for children to use?
- How is print displayed and featured in the various areas of the room? Is there potential for independent word study?
- In what other ways do you draw children's attention to letters and words?
- Is there a word study center? If not, what materials can you gather to create one?
- Are lists of words posted on the wall that are related to areas of the curriculum such as science or social studies? Is curriculum-related vocabulary part of active word study?
3. After the analysis, generate ideas about enriching the environment to provide more support for word study and to capture children's interest in letters and words.
4. Then repeat the process in your colleagues' classrooms.
For more ideas on an enriched classroom environment for word solving, pick up a copy of Word Matters: Teaching Phonics and Spelling in the Reading/Writing Classroom.
From Word Matters: Teaching Phonics and Spelling in the Reading/Writing Classroom by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 1998 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.