Word Detective gives an intensive focus on the first 200 individual high frequency words incorporating orthographic mapping to support the development of reading automaticity and a ‘sight word’ vocabulary, i.e. the ability to simply look at a word and say what it is or think about a word and write it down rapidly when spelling, apparently without effort or conscious thought.
Guided by the teacher or TA, the word is explored phonemically (at individual phoneme or speech sound level), phonologically (at syllable and onset / rime level and the phonemes within them), visually (the form of graphemes) and kinaesthetically (the experience of movement to form the letters by writing them). If a pupil has fine motor difficulties then they could type them.
The activities incorporate orthographic mapping which is described as ‘the process that readers use to store written words for instant and effortless retrieval’ Kilpatrick 2015. Orthographic mapping is the overlaying of graphemes and phonemes for storage in long term memory.
I would strongly recommend that this resource is used within the context of wider reading and spelling instruction that includes phonemic awareness, systematic study of the alphabetic code, blending for reading, segmenting for spelling and reading words embedded in text i.e. a robust systematic phonics programme.
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