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All Sorts of Word Sorts

Updated: Sep 7, 2023


As many schools move toward the Science of Reading (SOR), families may hear this term used by teachers, principals, and other school staff. Today's post highlights a strategy to help learners build their decoding, fluency, and automaticity (ability to quickly recognize words when reading). All are the foundational elements of reading that open the path to reading comprehension.


Word sorts require learners to recognize similar features of words based on sounds, spelling patterns, meanings, or concepts. Word sorts are more effective when they connect with text or readings assigned to learners. It is a fun and engaging way to help them process information and make it “sticky” because they are making connections, deciphering between principles, and creating something new as they place words or concepts into categories. ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ APEX developed a free K-2nd grade during the global pandemic and one that is still beneficial as schools transition back to in-person instruction. This resource includes word sorts and other strategies that support literacy development in the home.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Word sorts help learners to create connections in the brain as they engage in a multi-sensory experience that requires them to engage in the following: ✔️ Read ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✔️Sort ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✔️Manipulate⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✔️Categorize ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Below are four that you can use to elevate literacy in the home or online:

Open Sort- only words are provided, and children determine the categories based on what they see.

Closed Sort- Provide categories for the children to help focus their attention.

Speed Sort- timed for children and excellent for building fluency and accuracy when working with words or known patterns,

Writing Sort – Learners write the word under the appropriate categories as they are called out.

Home-to-School Connection

  • Integrate word sorts with online activities and assignments to review texts from your child’s school.

  • Download the word sort template to get started with this activity.

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