Students should be risk takers when it comes to word choice. But young writers often stop taking risks when they discover that there is only one right way to spell a word. This then leads them to settle for shorter, simpler words they know how to spell. They begin to hesitate to use a more precise word for fear of spelling it wrong.
To counteract this, first grade teacher Michelle Turanchick at Converse Elementary School (Converse, IN) created a “Who Can Read Our Words?” bulletin board. Students stretched the spelling of big words all by themselves (e.g., cartwheel, zebra, Indiana, etc.). Michelle then posted the words on the board with the correct spellings underneath each.
The interactive bulletin board encouraged hallway readers to stop, sound out each word, and lift the flap to see if they were accurate. Individuals wrote their names on the sign-up sheet if they could read the words.
Michelle said that every time the students came and went from the classroom, they saw more and more names encouraging them to go for bigger, better words choice in their writing!
Article originally posted December 14, 2011 and updated in March 2019.