Word Work Activities for 3rd Grade

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

Word work provides students an opportunity to interact with spelling and vocabulary words in unique ways. These activities call on students to use color and structure to help them learn their words.

Word Work Activities

Word work is an essential part of a literacy-rich classroom. Providing students with engaging, dynamic word work exercises helps motivate them to participate fully. In addition, students build a toolbox of effective study methods, as each activity reinforces the concepts in novel ways. As they gain experience with a variety of tools, they can even carry these strategies over to other subject areas.

Word work is more than simply helping them learn a new set of spelling or vocabulary words. When used consistently, word work helps students fully develop study skills they can utilize in other subject areas. In fact, they can continue to use these strategies as they progress through their school career.

During word work, students often work independently or with a partner. It may even be a station that students rotate through on a regular basis. In these activities, intended for third grade, students work independently and reinforce their learning with a partner. They utilize a combination of color, structure, and images to practice both spelling and vocabulary words. It's important for students to engage with their words in new and different ways. These exercises help them do just that!

Sight Word Search

One great activity to use with spelling words is to have students create a word search. This activity not only has them writing the words two times, but it helps them to remember even better because they are writing them in different arrangements - horizontal, vertical, and diagonal. They also have to alphabetize the words, which is a skill all its own.

To begin, provide students with a piece of graph paper. Students should start by writing in their words horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Then, they can write in filler letters surrounding those words. Lastly, students should write an alphabetical list of their words to serve as a word bank. Students can then partner up and solve their partner's word search to reinforce the skills even more!

  • Materials: graph paper, pencil

Word Pictures

Students remember vocabulary words better if they can visualize their meaning. Since many vocabulary words have more than one meaning, this activity requires that students draw or find images, sometimes multiple, for each word.

For this activity, have your students either draw an illustration for each definition of their vocabulary words or conduct an image search on the Internet, printing out applicable images. Advise students that the images they utilize should mean something to them and should be something that they can relate to in some way, as that will help them to remember the definitions. Reinforce that accuracy is more important than artistry in this exercise. To wrap up, have students pair up, swap their pictures/images and see if their partner can associate the correct vocabulary word with the images.

  • Materials: colored pencils or crayons, blank paper, Internet access (optional), printer

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