A purchase of Palabras a Su Paso would help Kings Beach Elementary strategize a new approach to teaching, learning, and acquiring Spanish phonics in a vertically aligned, organized method. Words their Way is a highly-effective method of teaching spelling skills, using explicit direct instruction, reproducible reading booklets, and word sorts. This program is now available in Spanish, enabling KBE teachers and students to utilize decades of research around this age-appropriate, systematic approach to teaching phonics. When students increase their understanding of how to spell words, meanings of affixes, and word derivations, they are better equipped to read and write while constructing meaning. By improving their spelling, students are able to increase their reading comprehension, acquire more vocabulary, and improve their fluency. With the onset of 21st century, traditional spelling practice and assessments may evolve. Since students will be using spell check and technology to produce their writing, teachers need to shift the paradigm from weekly class lists to individualized spelling inventories. Palabras a su Paso is the program that can help our Spanish Two-Way Immersion school do just that.
Palabras a su Paso will serve students at Kings Beach Elementary in grades K-4. Furthermore, this program can be utilized with all students for many years to come. This program is very beneficial since it focuses on the “Word Study” method of teaching spelling instead of memorizing weekly, unconnected word lists. With a word study method, teachers can enable students to discover where their strengths and weaknesses lie, in order to improve where they need it most. “A word study program is a cohesive approach that addresses word recognition, vocabulary, and phonics as well as spelling (Zutell, 1992).” Furthermore, this system can be used for all students - whether they are receiving reading intervention or enrichment. Instead of focusing on word lists, students are focusing on phonics and patterns. Lastly, this method of teaching allows students to become curious about spelling, looking for patterns in the texts around them.
Words their Way is a research-based approach to teaching phonics that was first published in 1993. Palabras a Su Paso, the Spanish version, was released in 2013. This would enable our Spanish Two-Way Immersion school the opportunity to implement a word study program that is already being used in English around the district. Words their Way, and now Palabras a Su Paso, are extremely successful at helping students acquire needed literacy skills. Since students move through the stages of spelling, from emergent to derivational, they are able to access the skills they need to further their reading and writing development. Similarly, it also will help teachers vertically align the curriculum, deciding when certain grades should teach which phonics patterns. Finally, Palabras a Su Paso comes with assessments to determine how students are progressing through their spelling patterns and knowledge. This way teachers can keep track of what patterns students need to learn and which ones need to be retaught in small group or whole-class settings.
The program would be implemented beginning with vertical articulation between grades K-3. In this meeting, teachers would be able to determine when certain spelling patterns would be taught during whole-class direct instruction. For example, Kindergarten would teach vowels and open syllables (ma, te, po, su) while third graders would be expected to learn gue/gui and r/rr. By vertically aligning phonics within our school, we will be better able to give instruction, as well as intervention and enrichment. Each grade level, and the reading intervention teacher, would receive a teacher’s manual to share and refer to throughout the year. Similarly, each grade level, and the reading intervention teacher, would have access to grade-level reproducibles in order to create the word sorts and booklets needed to implement the program. With the new hire of a paraprofessional aide that does paperwork at our site, we will have continued access to someone who would be able to ensure that each classroom has a set to use. Students will become familiar with the booklets and word sorts as they graduate from each grade level, making the program easier and easier to use.
Yes, this program is intended to be shared amongst grade levels as well as with support personnel. While each grade level would be able to share the teacher’s manual and make copies of the reproducibles, also the Resource Department, English Language Development Teacher and the Reading Specialist would be able to share.
The district is currently piloting many language arts curricula and thus Palabras a su Paso would be a supplement to these other programs.