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Lesson Plan

The Two Voices of the ow Spelling Pattern

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Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 30-minute sessions; easily adapted to use in learning center or as partner activities
Lesson Author

Elizabeth Goldsmith-Conley

Champaign, Illinois


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



This lesson can be used as part of a series of lessons designed to show students how, in the English alphabet, each vowel represents a different set of sounds when used in different spelling patterns. Nursery rhymes are used for the "word hunting" activity as they are generally familiar to children, easy to read, found in many cultures, fit into many themes, and have all sorts of possibilities for extensions.

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Zutell, J. (1996). The Directed Spelling Thinking Activity (DSTA): Providing an effective balance in word study instruction. The Reading Teacher, 50(2), 98108.

  • This lesson follows Jerry Zutell's 6-step framework, which includes the following components:

1. Pretest for prediction and discussion

2. Assisted word sorting

3. Word hunting

4. Cooperative and individual word sorting

5. Practice activities

6. Measuring and recording student success

  • Spelling is not arbitrary, but is based on a complex system of relationships. Helping students recognize these relationships through active comparison and contrast is a more effective method of teaching them to spell whole classes of words rather than rote memorization of individual words.

  • Effective lessons apply Vygotsky's recognition of the power of social engagement and encourage collaboration and discussion among students and their peers.

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