Edited to add: There is a more recent post about Words Their Way resources. To view this post, go here.
One of the most helpful bits of WTW advice is something I heard in a workshop: do what you can. If you feel like you can manage 8 different groups with weekly reassessments, then go for it. If you only feel ready to take on 2 groups with words sorts every other week, then that’s ok too. Make it work for you!
After testing your students, the next step is to organize them for word study. It works best for me to write the levels down one side of a paper and then list the students next to their level. I decided I could handle 4 groups, so I look for ways to divide up the kids.
That’s the easy part.
Then it comes down to managing this 4-ring circus!
I ended up making a half-sheet form for each week. I cut down some post-it notes and listed the kids for each group. Then I list the sort for each week.
I found that I was spending a significant portion of my planning time on Mondays getting sorts ready for the week. Instead I found some 4-pocket folders and assigned one of the pockets to each of my groups. I put a week’s worth of sorts in each folder and then I’m set for 5 or 6 weeks!
The past few years my school has stocked a filing cabinet with wordsorts so anyone can access what they need.
Before we had the filing cabinet, I made my own sort binder. Using the WTW level books from our school library, I copied each sort onto a yellow sheet of paper (yellow so I don’t lose my master among the copies!). I copied each of the assessments (also from the WTW level books) on pink so I could find them quickly.
Then I organized them in a binder. If the filing cabinet is running low on sorts I still have to make copies, but that’s much less frequent now.