small boy sitting on floor reading

Teach Reading with Word Sort to Young Children

I love word sort! Word sorts are such a fabulously hands-on way to teach spelling and phonics. Word sorts help kids focus on spelling patterns within words. Learning to read and spell by spelling patterns is essential to helping kids move beyond the sound it out mode to reading more complex words.

Create Your Own Word Sort

To do a word sort, collect a few words (6-10) from your child’s reading that share a similar spelling pattern (let’s say you collect words that have the i_e pattern). Then, collect a few words that have a different spelling pattern (let’s pick igh). You write all the words down on separate cards. When I make my own sorts, sometimes I cut index cards into fourths.

Once your words are ready to go, set them in a pile in front of your child. Ask your child to read each word. Then say something like, “Some of these words share a common spelling pattern of i_e, which makes the long i sound. Can you find all those words?” After the child has pulled all those out, say, “The rest of these words share a common spelling pattern of igh, which also makes the long i sound.” Set those aside.

By taking the time to have our reader stop and pay attention to the spelling patterns within these words, we are helping them to move that pattern (and the full sequence of those letters) into memory. This helps kids read and spell better.

On subsequent days, you can use the same word sort to do different activities, like the ones I mention in my 10 days of teaching spelling through word study.

Long Vowel Word Sort for Long i {Springtime Theme} | Teach Them Diligently


To celebrate the arrival of spring (Yay!), I’ve created a High Flying Kite Word Sort Pack. This word sort features the long vowel i with these three spelling patterns: igh, final y and i_e. In the pack, you’ll find a springtime-themed word sort as well as a place for kids to write the words and find more words in their reading that share the same pattern {a great way to extend word sorts into real reading}.


Download this FREE Long Vowel Word Sort HERE.



First and foremost, I am a daughter of the King. I am also a homeschooling mama with four little blessings. Before having children, I was a classroom teacher, both in the private and public school setting for 6 years. I got my M.Ed. in Elementary Reading and then had my first son. I began tutoring K-5 struggling readers privately out of my home until having my first child (2012).

I did not plan on homeschooling {I actually said I’d “never” homeschool, but the Lord called me to it in 2009}. Homeschooling was a bit lonelier than I expected. So in 2010, I started blogging as a way to share ideas with other parents, teachers, and tutors.

I never dreamed that God would use my blog in so many ways. I have been able to use it as a platform for writing curricula, authoring books, creating learning apps, and speaking at homeschooling conferences and MOPS groups. Through my blog, I have shared many articles, activities and free printables.


This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.


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