e-Learning for Educators
Course Information

Word Study Grades K Through Grade 5 for Active WV Educators
Course Description

This course is designed for elementary teachers with a bachelor’s degree or higher who are currently active in the classroom. The professional learning community saw the need for a more individualized, active study of words in their entirety. Word Study focuses on students’ current level of understanding and interaction with words, rather than rote memorization of random spelling words. In order to effectively guide students through Word Study, teachers must first understand who their students are and what they currently know about words. Assessment within Word Study allows participants to learn their students’ current developmental stage of word knowledge, the orthographic features they need to study, and how to monitor their progress through each stage. Sessions will cover an overview of Word Study and how to implement Word Study using assessment.

First, it is important to know that these developmental stages are not designated to a particular age group or grade, but are developmental. The Emergent Stage is the first developmental spelling stage of Word Study. During this stage, students encounter directionality, letter-sound match, and letter-like formations. The Letter Name-Alphabetic Spelling stage is the second developmental stage in Word Study. Students in this stage focus on beginning and ending consonants, short-vowel patterns, and letter-sound correspondences. As students enter the Within Word Pattern Spelling stage, they know letter sounds and short-vowel patterns, but learn new patterns and letter chunks that have sound and meaning. By the Syllables and Affixes stage, students explore syllables, meaning of units and spelling-meaning connections. Participants will explore each of these stages through activities, readings, and discussions in future sessions.

Course Syllabus

Upon completion of this course, participants will:

  • understand the purpose and importance for differentiated instruction in Word Study
  • understand the importance of the 5 Essentials of Reading and the Braid of Literacy
  • understand the how assessment guides instruction
  • administer and analyze spelling inventories to guide classroom organization
  • identify characteristics of readers and spellers at each stage
  • evaluate and use data to identify learners’ needs
  • create a developmentally appropriate activity catered to readers and spellers at each stage


Course Organization

This course includes several different activity components, all of which are described below. During each session, you will participate in a unique collection of these activity components, depending on the particular focus of that session.

When you see this icon you will be reading relevant articles, resources, and instructional materials that will help inform your online course development process.

When you see this icon you will be completing activity-based curriculum and inputting various components of your course content into course project.

When you see this icon you will be using the online discussion board to share ideas, resources, and thoughtful conversation with your fellow course participants and facilitator.

This professional development course is designed for K-12 teachers in West Virginia public schools. Participants in this course will design and implement an e-portfolio during this course. Participants are expected to have regular access to computers and be able to download and upload files. Although not a requirement, high speed Internet access definitely enhances the online experience. 

Microsoft Word is required in order to read, edit and/or create documents for this course. If you have a WVDE k12.wv.us email account, you have access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, etc. as part of Microsoft Office 365. You should see your school/county technology support person if you need help in using/installing Word and/or other Office applications. 

If you do not have a k12.wv.us email account, Word must be acquired through other means.  One way to get access to Word Online at no charge is by Creating a Microsoft Outlook Account with Access to FREE Office Online


Format and Requirements

This workshop is divided into six one-week sessions plus an Orientation which each include readings, activities, and an online discussion among workshop participants. The time necessary to complete each session is estimated to be 6.5 hours to 7 hours in addition to working on the portfolio project and implementing it with a class.

The outline for the workshop is as follows:

Session One Overview/Literacy Base
Session Two Guiding Word Study Using Assessment
Session Three Emergent Stage
Session Four Letter Name-Alphabetic Stage
Session Five Within Word Pattern Stage
Session Six Syllables and Affixes Stage

Session One: In this session, participants will use readings, videos, and activities to fully understand how the research of the 5 Essentials of Reading and the Braid of Literacy are incorporated with the personalized instruction of Word Study. Participants will experience a word sort, which is the heart of Word Study.

Session Two: This session will guide participants through the formal and informal assessment process of Word Study, which is crucial because it determines students’ exploration of Word Study. Not only will participants learn their students’ current developmental stage of word knowledge, but participants will learn how to determine the orthographic features they need to study and how to monitor their progress through each stage.

Session Three: Throughout this session, participants will learn about Emergent spellers’ behaviors and appropriate activities to engage these students in Word Study. Participants will use their assessment data from session two to plan activities for students in the Emergent stage.

Session Four: This session will help participants identify students in this stage and plan appropriate Word Study activities. They will refer to their session two assessment data to create an engaging activity for students in the Letter Name-Alphabetic stage.

Session Five: By completing this session, participants will know the needs and characteristics of students in the Within Word Pattern Spelling stage and explore hands-on activities to implement with their students. Teachers will use their feature guide and organization chart to create the activity appropriate for this stage.

Session Six: This session provides readings, videos, and the chance to create hands-on activities to understand the behaviors and content covered in this stage. Teachers will better understand their students after reviewing the assessment data and planning an activity for students in the Syllables and Affixes stage.


Session Project and Assessments

Each course session will feature a session project, associated session project rubric and a session peer-review rubric:


Session One Session One Project Template  Session One Rubric and Session One Peer-Review Rubric
Session Two Session Two Project Template  Session Two Project Rubric and Session Two Peer-Review Rubric
Session Three Session Three Project Template  Session Three Project Rubric and Session Three Peer-Review Rubric
Session Four Session Four Project Template Session Four Project Rubric and Session Four Peer-Review Rubric
Session Five Session Five Project Template Session Five Project Rubric and Session Five Peer-Review Rubric
Session Six Session Six Project Template Session Six Project Rubric and Session Six Peer Review Rubric 


Assignments and Discussions

Readings and Activities: Participants are expected to complete the required course readings and activities as posted in each of the session assignment pages. Optional readings may also be completed, but are not mandatory. There is a required orientation quiz and both pre-course and post-course surveys.

Orientation Quiz & Workshop Surveys: Participants must complete an Orientation Quiz with a score of 90% or higher.  In addition, participants are expected to complete both a pre-course and a post-course surveys. The Orientation Survey is to be completed by Sunday during the Orientation Session and the Final Survey is to be completed by Sunday during Session Six.

Discussion Participation: Participants will be evaluated weekly on the frequency and quality of their participation in the discussion forum.  Participants are required to post a minimum of one substantial original posting each session in response to the discussion prompt for that session by Sunday evening. Participants are to respond thoughtfully to a minimum of two colleagues' original postings each session by Monday evening. They are to read all original messages by course participants and enough additional responses to make a total of 50% of the messages posted for that session by Tuesday evening. Postings will be evaluated on their relevance, demonstrated understanding of course concepts, examples cited and overall quality. Each week, participants will review their colleagues project templates using a peer-review rubric. The Rubric Review Help Guide will assist in completing this review.

Read the Discussion Guidelines and the Checklist for Evaluating Discussion PostingsYour facilitator will follow these guidelines and the checklist when evaluating successful participation in the course Discussions. 

Copyright and Plagiarism

All resources referenced during the course will be properly documented. Copyright guidelines are to be observed throughout the course project and all course activities.  All work associated with course projects, course assignments and course discussions will be original to each course participant. Fair use does not apply to the course project. 

Plagiarism, the reproduction of all or any part of another individual’s or organization’s work, by a course participant of work associated with the course project or other course assignments at any point during the course will result in no credit being awarded for the course.


All grades in the course gradebook must be a "C" for successful course completion.  A grade of "C" indicates that all work has been completed and the work meets the expectations for that assignment.

Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of this course, Balanced Reading Diet for Pre-K through Grade Five, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion documenting successful completion of the course requirements. Certificates are distributed to each qualifying participant by attachment to the final project dropbox after the completion of the course.

Graduate Credit Information

Participants in this course are eligible to receive non-degree graduate credits from either West Virginia University, Marshall University, Concord University or West Virginia State University. Credits will be awarded at the end of the semester. Additional information is available on the course News/Welcome Page.

Content and Technology Standards

This workshop, Word Study for Pre-K through Grade 5, will help participants meet the ISTE Educational Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for All Teachers (http://edtechleaders.org/documents/NETSAdminTeachers.pdf), especially Standards II, III, IV, and V.For more information about Technology Integration visit: http://www.iste.org

In addition, participants will identify specific WV Content Standards and Objectives (http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies) as they engage in course content.

About this Course

This workshop was developed for the West Virginia Department of Education (http://wvde.state.wv.us) under the guidance of the EdTech Leaders Online (http://edtechleaders.org) at Education Development Center. EdTech Leaders Online provides capacity building, training, and online courses for school districts, state departments of education, and colleges and universities.

Original design (before format modifications) by EdTech Leaders Online (http://www.edtechleaders.org), a project of Education Development Center, Inc, © 2007.  All rights reserved.