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Word Sort Extension Activities


One of my favorite things about a word sort is that you can do SOOOOO many different things with them!! Let’s explore all of the cool things you can do with word sorts, to help students with reading fluency, comprehension, writing and more!

For Fluency

Fast “Pencil”

Once the sort is complete, use the utensil of your choice (pencil, pen, pointer, finger) to point to the words in the sort as quickly as your students can keep up. The goal of this activity is for students to get the ‘pencil’ to move as fast as they can. Make sure to mix up the order in case students have the order memorized. This is great for fluency as students are forced to move away from sound by sound decoding and toward reading the whole word in order for the pencil to move faster.

Words on a Ring

As you introduce the words in the sort for the week, write them on index cards and place them on a ring, keeping the sets of spelling patterns separate (og, op, ot). Hang them on the wall and students can access them to practice reading all week. You can make the beginning sound(s) a different color so that the spelling pattern stands out and students can visually see how only the beginning sound(s) change.

Word Sort Bulletin Board

As a culminating formative assessment, give your students one of the spelling patterns (og) and have them come up with as many words as they can that follow that pattern. Write those words on index cards and hang them up on a bulletin board for students to reference over time.

For Comprehension

Tell a Partner

Part of the structure of words is to understand what the words mean. Point to one of the words in the sort and have students tell a partner what that word means.

For Writing

Show What You Know

In order to incorporate the writing piece, give students a ‘pop quiz’ at the end of the sort. Flip all of the cards over and randomly give students one word at a time to write, to see if they wrote it correctly. This not only gives students the opportunity to write, but it also shows students the connection between speech and print.

Independent Practice

Interactive Notebooks

Provide individual copies of the word sort for your students. They can practice sorting and gluing the words into the correct place in their notebook. If they do this on Monday, they can use the notebook for other activities throughout the week. Click here (coming soon) for ideas on other things students can do in their word study notebook throughout the week.

Literacy Centers


In my experience, students enjoy doing word sorts on their own, without the pressure of other students and/or an adult watching over them. Literacy centers are a great time for this. Make an extra laminated copy of your  word sort, place it in a labeled baggie and have students practice the sort on their own. They can even do past sorts for practice and to keep up their fluency!

In a group:

Many younger students LOVE playing teacher. This would be a wonderful time for them to ‘facilitate’ a word sort with a group of their classmates. They can be the teacher and their peers the students. Even better if they rotate rolls and do the sort over and over. What great fluency practice!

Video Tutorial

Word Sorts?

Curious about word sorts or how to run them? Click here for more information!


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