The purpose of the activity
In this activity, the learners sort words chosen for relevance to a specific topic or context. This enables the learners to focus on identifying key features that words may share in a reading passage.
The teaching points
- Focusing on word parts or features.
- Identifying relationships between words.
- Finding further examples when reading independently.
- A set of at least 20 cards, each with a different word. Words should be selected in such a way that at least half of them share the key feature or criterion.
The guided teaching and learning sequence
1. Choose the criterion that will be the focus, for example, words that have different numbers of syllables, or words that include a particular prefix, suffix or sound.
2. Write the criterion on the board or on a card and explain it to the learners.
3. Ask the learners to examine each word card and decide whether or not the word meets the criterion.
4. Discuss the words that are selected, pointing out the way the focus criterion is shown in each one.
5. Ask the learners to search for further examples of words that meet the criterion while they read independently.
Introduce further criteria, one at a time. For example, if the first criterion was “words that contain the prefix auto”, add another criterion such as “words that have more than three syllables”.
Ask the learners to come up with other criteria for sorting, keeping the focus on parts of words that will help them to decode new words.