Word learning activities are used to help children become very familiar with print.

Reading new texts and rereading familiar texts ensure that students in these programs engage in meaningful, connected reading. These programs also include activities that help students focus on and become familiar with printed words. For example, the Winston-Salem Project uses a procedure called "Making Words" (Cunningham, 1991; Cunningham & Cunningham, 1992). Students are presented with the letters that form a word from a selection they read. Words are selected because of their interest and because they contain word identification elements that will be useful to the students. For example, students might be presented with the letters a c e e h r t. (Students delight in trying to guess the "long" word, a word that uses all the letters and is from a recently read story.) Progressively longer words are built from the letters. A teacher might begin by asking students to take two letters and form the word at. Next, they might be asked to add a letter to form rat, to change a letter to form cat, to rearrange the letters to form act. Using similar directions they might move through eat, ate, tea, tear, rate, crate, create, to teacher. (See Cunningham & Cunningham, 1992, for further details and more examples.)


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