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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Creating Independent Learners with "Words their Way"

A team of 3rd grade teachers in my district, Ginger and Becky, were willing to share their system that creates independent learners when using the program “Words Their Way.”

Research shows us that taking the time to train students to be independent learners is a necessary component for a successful multigrade or single grade classroom.
Ginger acknowledged the amount of teacher effort needed to create independent learners, but “Once the students are "trained" to be independent, it is pretty amazing.”
Here are the 4 different group checklists the students use to track their individual progress, and a student rubric to assess that individual work.  I really liked how each checklist was so clear and understandable. Every student, regardless of level, knows EXACTLY what they should be doing.
Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Student Rubric


  1. Great post. I have started following your blog. My building is implementing Words Their Way. I look forward to reading more. I have also posted about Words Their Way. I developed a "Menu" of choices. Feel free to check it out.

  2. Just curious - did your District provide you with a workshop or inservice BEFORE you implemented this program?

  3. Pat,
    The year before we began Words Their Way, all the building reading coaches and district instructional coaches were trained by Words Their Way staff. Then optional summer trainings were offered to interested staff. More training was offered while teachers began the process in a limited way in the fall. Training continues to be offered to new staff, and those teachers that want to attend more training.


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