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Getting Started on Word Sorts

Hey Blog Hoppers, it’s Kathleen from Growing Kinders!  It’s been quite a crazy start to the year for me, but I’m carving out a bit of time to give you a little peek into my room.

As I am getting going in a new grade level this year, one thing that I know will remain the same is our word sort time!  Of course, I will tweak the activities slightly to better meet the needs of first graders, our basic routine will stay the same.

These are the books that I use for my word sorts:


I’ve seen many teachers simply copy the black line sorts and have their children cut out the paper sort and use that sort for the week.  This wasn’t an option for me in Kindergarten – we all know that many kinders can take a long time to cut things out.  We decided to prepare our sorts as a whole school project.  Boy, this was quite a job!  This is one drawer of sorts – I have 3 full drawers, and I know I need to make the next set for my first graders!  The sorts are all printed on cardstock, laminated, and cut out in individual baggies. (6 sets of each sort).



We stored our individual sorts in these storage drawers that I purchased from Lowe’s.

Each child has a drawer with their name and a number on it. IMG_8834














They keep the one sort that they are working on in their drawer in the labeled baggie.


They work on each sort over a period of 3 (or more) days.  Often it is a Daily 5 choice, but some will choose to work on their sort when they finished their first Daily 5 activity.  Let me tell you – they LOVE doing their sorts!!!  It’s a game to them!

Here are the 3 tasks that they did in Kindergarten:


Task 1:  Sort and write.

I don’t have a special notebook that they use.  We use one composition book to record all of our language arts/guided reading work.  It just makes it so much easier for them (and me).  They’ve already had practice making 2 way or 3 way charts during our whole group experiences, so this is a breeze for them.  This particular sort is not a WTW sort, but one from my January Word Work pack.  It just shows a really nice example of how they set up their page.


















Task 2: Sort and write sentences:

This sweetie recorded her initial sort and a sentence all on one page, but I encourage them to use the opposite page.




















You can see on this one, that there are 3 lines drawn to the left of the sort.  That’s where she will write her sentences.


Task 3: Sort and write on iPad

THIS is what keeps them going!!  They are VERY excited to get to type their sort on the iPad!  AND they get to record themselves reading their sort! We use the app Educreations to record the sort.


How do they know which task to do?  Those numbers that are on their sort drawer….they move them down each time they finish a sort activity (after my approval, of course).  When their number is on the bottom drawer, I know that I need to put a new sort in their drawer.


Of course, I do the WTW assessment 2-3 times a year, but I really do know where they are at.  I want them to have a good, SOLID foundation in word work, so I don’t push them through the sorts too fast.  A big part of my job is to really to establish the routine of working through word sorts, so when they move up to 1st grade, there is not as much of a learning curve.

As I’m getting my feet wet in first grade, I’m trying to figure out what will work best with my new group of students.  I have just administered the Primary Spelling Inventory from the Words Their Way book, and I am excited to see what they children know, and to get them digging deep into spelling and spelling patterns! Wish me luck!

Are you ready to incorporate word sorts into your daily routine?  Are you already doing them? Share in the comments what works for you!

Come visit me at Growing Kinders for more information on Word Sorts, and other things primary!



  1. Great information! Thanks for sharing your organization for word sorts. Jayne
    Smart Kids
    ABCs of Reading

  2. This would really benefit my second graders, especially the lower end of the class. They still struggle with blends and spelling patterns. Even though our lists have specific sorts incorporated into them our students don't do much to identify them and see the connections. WTW is great for assisting those students who need to see those patterns in a hands on way.
    Early Years with Sheri