Word Trees are an engaging and motivat- ing way for your child to expand his pelling ability. Building Word Trees allows your child to make connections
between the words he already knows and the words he
is ready to learn.
Quick Check: Is Your Child Ready?
These three questions will help you understand if your
child is at the right stage to benefit from Word Tree
• Does your child know how to spell closed syllables?
Closed syllables are syllables that end in a consonant,
such as sub, tract, con, and rupt. A closed syllable gen-
erally contains a short vowel, and it is the first syllable
type that most children learn to spell.
• Does your child know how to spell open syllables?
Open syllables are syllables that end in a vowel, such
as me, be, and di. The vowel in an open syllable is generally long.
• Does your child know how to spell common prefixes
and suffixes such as –tion, -tive, ab-, and -able?
If you can answer “yes” to these three questions, your
child is ready to grow with Word Trees. While Word
Trees can be interesting for younger children, they are
most effective with children who already have these
three spelling skills.
Benefits of Word Trees
Working with Word Trees will help your child see the
patterns of and relationships between hundreds of
words. New words are related to words your child already knows, giving your child a shortcut to spelling
new words. With Word Trees, learning how to spell one
new root can open the path to spelling a dozen related
words. As your child actively explores words in an out-of-the-ordinary way, he will be developing a positive attitude and curiosity about the words around him and
hopefully increase his motivation to learn more. And
as a huge side benefit, your child’s vocabulary will also
Using Word Trees
For this activity, use a graphic organizer in the shape of
a tree. You can draw your own, or download this one
for free at http://downloads.allaboutlearningpress.com/
downloads/Word-Trees.pdf. Print out as many copies as
you desire, or laminate the activity sheet for reuse.
To use the Word Tree graphic organizer:
70 Spring 2016 • Language Arts
• Decide which root word you want to work with. On
our example Word Tree, we have the root word rupt,
which means “to break.” Write the root word in the
box at the base of the tree.
by Marie Rippel Grow Your Child’s
Plant a Word Tree in some of your lessons,
and watch it grow along with your child’s
spelling and vocabulary skills.