Here are 9 simple word work activities for Kindergarten, first, and second grade! These word work ideas are great for literacy centers!

  • Upper and lower-case letter matching puzzles
  • Match photos of classmates to the first letter in their names – and then check with a partner
  • “Sensory search” – hunt for magnetic letters in sand or another material)
  • Picture sorts (initial sound, final sound, medial vowel sound, word family, digraph, blend, etc.) – students first practice naming the pictures to themselves or to a partner
  • Word sorts
  • Speed sort (sort words, read them aloud, and time it – try to beat your own time)
  • Make letters or words with playdough, Wikki Stix, magnetic letters, stamps, etc. (and then read them aloud to a partner – this part is crucial because many kids will just make words and not know what they say!)
  • Search for a letter, word pattern, or word family in a familiar big book, poem, or other text (and write words down on a recording sheet)
  • Search for a spelling pattern in books, newspapers, magazines (and create a list of words with that pattern)

For even more word work activities, check out my word work packs for Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd!


I’m Alison, a literacy specialist. I love getting kids excited about reading and writing – and sharing teaching ideas with other teachers!

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