Talk:Word sort

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I moved Cait's info & a few of our discussions from up top to the bottom of this page so our discussions are in chronologial order.  :) (Mcginleycolleen (talk) 18:48, 18 April 2011 (UTC))

I provided a basic definition of our topic as the original page was deleted b/c of lack of content. Feel free to start editing and adding!

Thanks so much, Theresa! I just added a quote from a journal, but need to fix the way I referenced it. Does anyone have ideas for different categories of our article? Then, we could split up the work by category.

Also, let's remember to use valid references if consulting internet sites(I read that WP is more likely to accept ones ending in ".edu" There are a ton of for-profit websites that sell products related to word sorts - I think WP would consider these biased references. Thanks, Colleen (Mcginleycolleen (talk) 19:22, 14 April 2011 (UTC))

Cait, in class Tues we peer reviewed each others' Wikipedia articles according to the criteria below. What do you guys think about keeping these in mind as we formulate our article?

1. Unbiased 2. Referenced 3. Notable/Important 4. Complete Yet Concise 5. Visual 6. Linked 7. Clearly Written

We also learned how to sign our posts in the Talk page - if you look below the save button in the middle, there are the symbols for "sign your posts on talk pages."

Lastly, I'm going to refer back to my article from last week - Reading Specialist Certification - for help with Wikipedia coding/formatting, as it was challenging for me. Cait, feel free to do the same! (Mcginleycolleen (talk) 22:56, 14 April 2011 (UTC))

I added some more information, including a few categories - I looked to the Words their Way book for the different categories. Let me know what you think. I was going to add info. about each type of word sort next? If you guys would like to do that, too, go ahead. I'll keep checking back. Izzo.t (talk) 16:32, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Hi guys, so, what should I do in terms of looking up information regarding Word Sort. I know nothing about the topic except my quick google search and feel somewhat out of how to this. WOrking with Edmund tonight to go over this in a more concrete way - THis is cait, not quite sure how to sign things

Thanks, team. Cait, in terms of looking up information, would you like to add info about the three types of word sorts (sound sorts, picture sorts, word sorts) Theresa created a section for? I found information via the Northwestern library site, searching the e-journals. "The Reading Teacher" should have good info about word sorts. Feel free to write back if you can't find info and I can dig for other sources, too.

I have the same "Words their Way" book Theresa has, so I can add other categories the book placed emphasis on.

To sign these posts, you add four ~ marks, inside parentheses. However, not a big deal if it doesn't work out.  :) (Mcginleycolleen (talk) 06:22, 16 April 2011 (UTC))

I added internal links to other wikipedia pages relevant to certain technical terms used in our description - to constructivist learning and teacher-directed learning. Izzo.t (talk) 16:59, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

also just linked up spelling tests to its wiki page Izzo.t (talk) 19:24, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

Hi Girls

I got information on Sound Sort, and word sort, and can cite these books, but I feel a bit wary of doing this as I don't acutally have the books themselves but just what others have cited - what I've got is below - I will be the first to say I don't know what I'm doing with wiki and am uncertain how to add this into the page beyond this discussion - Cait Sound Sorts

Sound sorts can take on many forms in a primary classroom and this is essential because sound is the first layer of English orthography (Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, & Johnson, 2004). Sound study can be introduced at a very early stage and develop with a chid’s individual ability. Sorting pictures or oral vocabulary is a manipulation of sounds, and this manipulation increases awareness. A simple introductory sort is by initial sound and this can develop to ending sound, vowel sounds, and word families sorts. The root of importance is student motivation and involvement in the sort. By “setting the scene with sounds” (Moni, 2005), sorts may include concrete materials and pictures linked to learner interest. Phonemic awareness, not phonics, is the understanding that our spoken sounds work together to make words. This is a very early understanding that can be developed in a variety of ways. Comparing sounds is the easiest task for developing phonemic awareness (Holten, 2004). Sound sorts can be introduced very early on and develop strategically throughout primary learning.

An ability to sort sounds is essential for early reading because sound manipulation is a stepping stone to word study and decoding ability. For some students a direct instructional approach is not necessary in the development of sound study and sorting. Other children who have had less exposure or lack the understanding of sounds and their manipulability may need further instruction to develop their ability. Teachers have a responsibility to students they serve to identify their needs and implement instructional strategies to scaffold students’ understandings of sounds.

Intervention strategies may be necessary in remediating students who cannot correctly identify sounds in isolation on a given opportunity (Joseph, 2002). Joseph continues by stating that programs like Reading Recovery have contemporary phonemic techniques embedded in the program. Also, books and poems may specifically focus on word families and similar sound patterns for children to identify and understand in context (Glazer, 2005). Sound sorts can be integrated through programs, or very inexpensively through teacher-created materials. For example, students can sort pictures by beginning sound, rhyme, or ending sound. Students do not need to have strong phonics skills in order to engage in sound sorts. This can be a beginning phonemic awareness activity because students need only to identify the sound in order to complete the sort. Letter knowledge is not required, and phonemic development can mature as students do acquire more print knowledge.


Bear, D. R., Invernizzi, M., Templeton, S., & Johnston, F. (2004). Words their way: Word study for phonics, vocabulary, and spelling instruction (3rd ed.). Upper Saddler River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Glazer, S. (2005). To Phonic or Not to Phonic? Teaching Pre-K-8, 36(3), 71+.

Holten, A. (2004). Children are best taught how to read by learning the sounds of letters. South Bend Tribune.

Joseph, L. (2002). Facilitating Word Recognition and Spelling Using Word Boxes and Word Sort Phonic Procedures. The School Psychology Review, 31(1), 122-9.

Moni, K. (2005). 20 Ways to Use Phonics Activities to Motivate Learners with Difficulties. Intervention in School and Clinic, 41(1) 42-5.

External Links

(these links provide additional resources and instructional information about sound sorts and further reading research links)

Reading A-Z: This site is an excellent resource for printable materials, including leveled readers and sorts.

Sort City: This is a teacher-created site with a huge selection of sorting activities for word families, initial sound, rhyming, etc. If you want to sort, this is a must-see site!

Closing the Gap in K: This is a document set created to assist kindergarten teachers in small-group instruction based on the Reading Recovery program. Included are lesson planning guides for levels pre-A through C. These guides can help teachers facilitate learning and include sorting activities.

International Reading Association Publications: This sight has links and information pertaining to reading education and what research says about effective reading instruction.

Florida Center for Reading Research: This website has a search engine you can use to access information on an array of reading subjects, including sound sorts.

Picture Sorts Introduction

Each stage of reading requires increased knowledge about words and their component parts in order for the student to experience success and achieve the final goal of reading which is to comprehend text. Word Study is a sequential, instructional practice that teaches students to compare, contrast, and analyze words enabling them to meet these increasing demand (Bear,Invernizzi, Templeton & Johnston,2004).

Picture sorts are one component of word study and are used to help beginning readers develop Concept of Word, phonological awareness, and phonics (Morris, 2005, Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, & Johnston, 2004). Picture sorts most often begin with focusing on initial sound (single consonant, digraphs, or blends). By using picture sorts teachers are able to help students who do not have extensive reading vocabularies focus on isolated sounds (Initial, final, or medial) within a spoken word (Bear et al. 2005). These sorts are often a child’s first introduction to word study and are most commonly used with students whose developmental skills are at the emergent, letter name-alphabetic, or early within word Spelling Stages (Bear & Templeton, 1998).

Picture Sorts and Spelling Stages

Students at the emergent level are encouraged to sort pictures (or objects) into categories and to have practice explaining their categories. As students enter the early letter name stage they are being introduced to beginning consonants. They also work to strengthen their knowledge of the letter names of the alphabet and less frequent initial consonants are learned by the end of this stage (Bear & Templeton, 1998).The purpose of these sorts is focus on auditory discrimination.

Word study for the letter name - alphabetic stage allows students to explore common short vowel patterns. Picture sorts begin with common word families. After word families have been thoroughly examined students continued with a more in-depth study of short vowels (CVC) word patterns (Bear & Templeton, 1998). Spelling tests are also introduced to students at this time.

As students move into the within word pattern stage picture sorts may be used to teach students to compare long and short vowel sounds. However picture sorts will soon be phazed phased out as students begin to focus on comparing spelling patterns within vowel sounds such as name (CVCe), pain (CVVC), and day (CVV).

Procedures for Sorts

There are a variety of ways to conduct sorts, but the principles are always the same. Students sort words or pictures into categories based on pattern or sound. In most classrooms students rarely need the exact same word study instruction at the exact same time. Sorts allow teachers the flexibility to meet student’s individual needs, creating multilevel instruction in which all students can feel success (Cunningham, 2005).

Before beginning word study the teacher should always be sure that the student has a rudimentary understanding of concept of word in text. By ensuring the student has an understanding of what a word is, the teacher can be more confident about the student’s readiness to focus on individual phonemic elements within a word. (Morris) The goal of word study is always to build upon what the child already knows. Once the child has mastered concept of word the next task is for the child to understand that a word has a beginning sound, that it can be separated from the rest of the word and categorized accordingly. Yet this is not the ultimate goal of word study. Instead the goal lies in the application of this knowledge in contextual reading. (Morris p. 78) When a child comes to an unknown word while reading he/she can then use context clues and the beginning sound of the word to make an attempt at correctly reading the new word. “It demonstrates to the child, within a contextual reading situation, that his beginning consonant knowledge can be a helpful word recognition aid.” (Morris p.78)

While there exists some slight variances in procedures for sorting most researchers (Morris, 2005, Tyner, 2005, Bear, et al, 2004) suggest the following procedures for introducing picture sorts to students.

1)Select two or three consonants with very distinctive sounds to be sorted.

2)Collect approximately four picture cards for each category, plus one card that will serve as the exemplar.

3)Before beginning, review the name of each picture card with the child. Be sure the child can easily name and pronounce the words indicated by each picture.

4)Lay out the three exemplar cards and name them emphasizing the beginning sound.

5)Model the procedures for sorting. Lay one picture card at a time under the corresponding exemplar. As each card is placed in a column restate the word for each picture in the column, plus the exemplar, emphasizing the beginning sound for each.

6)Continue the process until all pictures have been sorted.

7)When it is the child’s turn to perform the sort, correct errors the first time, but on subsequent sorts leave the errors. Demonstrate how to check for errors by reading the names of the pictures going down each column, again emphasizing the beginning sound. Then ask the child if any errors were detected and allow the student to make necessary changes.

8)Create opportunities for the child to have multiple encounters with the same sort.


To summarize the effectiveness of sorts, Cunningham states, “Word sorting and hunting are wonderful activities to develop spelling and decoding skills because children are actively involved in discovering how words work” (Cunningham, 2005).


Bear, D. R., Templeton, S. (1998). Explorations in developmental spelling: Foundations for learning and teaching phonics, spelling, and vocabulary. The Reading Teacher, 52(3), 222-243.

Bear, D.R., Invernizzi, M., Templeton, S., & Johnston, F. (2004) Words their way: Word study for phonics, vocabulary, and spelling instruction (3rd Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Cunningham, P. M. (2005) Phonics they use: Word for reading and writing (4th Ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Morris, D. (2005). The Howard Street tutoring manual: Teaching at-risk readers in the primary grades (2nd Ed). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Tyner, B. (2005). Small-group reading instruction: A differentiated teaching model for beginning and struggling readers. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

External Links

Sample picture sort: Emergent Stage

Sample picture sort: Letter Name -Alphbetic:

Resource for picture sorts:

Word Study Information and additional resources:

Additional Literacy websites: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:44, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Cate - this is great and incredibly thorough information. I will work on posting it onto the article site and referencing it. Izzo.t (talk) 17:29, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Wow, this is excellent info, Cait! Theresa, let me know if you want me to format some of it, as well. I can also add more info about word sorts And Theresa, thanks so much for adding links to other Wiki pages in our article - I read that this helps meet Wikipedia's "Quality Standards" and means our page it less likely to be taken down. Thanks so much, everyone! (Mcginleycolleen (talk) 18:48, 18 April 2011 (UTC))

Hi, team, I just added some more info under Role of Word Sorts, as well as info on Word Sorts under the 3 categories part. I will fix the table I tried to make of an example of a word sort - having difficulties with the Wikipedia coding/formatting! I also added a new section on adapting instruction for learners with special needs. Feel free to revise any of the info I added - I might have been too wordy. (ooh! Unintentional pun...words on the brain). Thanks so much Theresa and Cait, I think this page is coming together really well. (Mcginleycolleen (talk) 20:50, 18 April 2011 (UTC))

Colleen - looks good! Cate, I added your info and referenced it - read over it and let me know if it looks okay. I can't really look at the text anymore b/c my eyes are hurting haha I also added in two external links and sub-headers for the types of sorts. Izzo.t (talk) 22:40, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

P.S. Cate, I have a meeting at 4:30 in Annenberg, and should be around after if you would like to see how to do all this. I'll be outside the room in that little couch area, so come find me if you'd like a mini tutorial :) Izzo.t (talk) 15:49, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

I figured out how to format the table, but now the only location the article will accept the table is at the very bottom of the page. I have searched the Wiki help pages, tried all sorts of things, and can't fix this. Should I just delete the table? Thanks! (Mcginleycolleen (talk) 18:46, 19 April 2011 (UTC))

I just posted a summary of our article to the Blackboard Discussion page - please let me know if you'd like to add or correct anything, and I would be happy to do so. (Mcginleycolleen (talk) 22:01, 19 April 2011 (UTC))

The summary looks great! Thanks for doing that. I am at school on my computer and will try to figure out the table thing. Izzo.t (talk) 22:36, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

I think I fixed it? If you get this before I see you, take a look and let me know Izzo.t (talk) 22:40, 19 April 2011 (UTC)