During a recent writing residency, I had an interesting interaction with a grade one writer. It began when he asked, “How do you spell gonna?”

When I explained that gonna wasn’t actually a word, the look of incredulity on his face divulged the truth: he didn’t believe me. Not one bit.

There is so much to be gained when we take a conversation like this and engage in an exploration of words. And yet, word study should not be an aside in our classrooms–only discussed in timely moments–it should be embedded into our instruction in all areas of study. And since the strands of language are interconnected, word study ultimately supports students with decoding, vocabulary, comprehension, and spelling.

Word study is certainly gonna make a difference in our students’ overall abilities. Words matter!

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