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Lesson Plan

Word Wizards: Students Making Words

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Word Wizards: Students Making Words

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time 30 minutes per session
Lesson Author

Rebecca L. Olness

Black Diamond, Washington


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



This lesson begins with a read-aloud of Word Wizard by Cathryn Falwell, and then guides students through an active, hands-on activity in which they learn how to look for patterns in words and are encouraged to become "word wizards" themselves, making new words by adding letters or changing the sequence of letters. Students then use the online Word Wizard interactive to apply these strategies independently, making words from a given set of letters and ultimately discovering the "mystery word," related to a popular picture book.

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  • Word Wizard:This student interactive uses themes from four popular U.S. children's books to create word puzzles that students solve by unscrambling letters and considering related clues. The program provides hints if needed.

  • Between the Lions: Alphabet Soup:Clues in the form of puns prompt players to rearrange the letters shown in the soup bowl into a word. This interactive activity from PBS Kids is more advanced than Word Wizard, and can be used as an extension to the lesson.

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Aiken, A.G., & Bayer, L. (2002). They love words. The Reading Teacher, 56, 6874.

  • In "Making Words," an innovative word study activity introduced by Patricia Cunningham (1991), students are guided through the process of manipulating a set of letters in sequence to construct words.
  • This instructional strategy is actively engaging and meaningful for students because when students notice patterns and make discoveries about written language they can apply them to other reading and writing situations.
  • When words are connected to a story or current classroom lesson, students are able to have greater success with phonics lessons.


Cunningham, P.M. (1991). Phonics they use: Words for reading and writing. New York: HarperCollins.


Rasinski, T. (1999). Making and writing words. Reading Online, September, 1999. Available online: http://www.readingonline.org/articles/art_index.asp?HREF=/articles/words

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