Word Chaining activities are a staple in our literacy learning, but we had to make a few adjustments to make sure it was accessible to all students.
What is Word Chaining?
Word chaining involves looking at the relationship between words. Traditionally this is a phonemic awareness activity with learners focused on the phonemes (sounds).
As a phonemic awareness activity, we wouldn't be looking at the letters, but instead chaining the words together by substituting sounds.
For this example, the teacher may say:
- Repeat after me: “sit“
- Change the /a/ to /i/. What's the new word? “sip“
- Awesome! Now change the /s/ to /t/. What's the new word? “tip“
- You've got it! Change the /o/ to /i/. What's the new word? “top“
- Wonderful word work!
This is a fun word play activity to use as a quick warm-up. From my experience, it's worked well to do 2-3 word chains every day versus a long lesson focused only on phoneme substitution.
Visual Supports for Differentiation
I noticed several students needing a bit more visual support to “see” the change from word to word, so I set out to provide more concrete examples:
It's important to note: adding text support turns this activity into a phonics lesson, but that seemed to be just the “lightbulb moment” my students needed.
Now my students could SEE the relationships between words and how they change:
If you're interested in learning more about differentiating word work centers for your students, check out this teacher training at the Positively Learning YouTube Channel:
Be sure to “link up” 😁 and let me know how these tips work for you!