Word Callers Book Study ~ Chapter 3

Do you have Word Callers in your classroom?  I am sure you do because we all do!  If you are not sure if you have word callers, check out Wendy's post from yesterday to find out more about them.

And if you have the book, grab it and follow along today as I discuss chapter three!  If you don't have it, you need it!

Today I am going to present Chapter Three of Word Callers by Kelly B. Cartwright, which shows how to assess students to see who our inflexible thinkers really are.  This assessment allows us to assess students' flexible thinking about more than just the way the words sound but also their meanings.  It also allows us to do the following:

~ Explain the inflexible thinking we see in our students.
~ Determine which students need extra help to improve flexible thinking.
~ Measure flexible thinking throughout the year to see if it has changed.
~ Improve flexible thinking through intervention.

How many of you use sorting methods in your own classrooms?  Many of us do to help us teach and understand concepts our children need to master.  With a simple 2x2 matrix and word cards, we can tell who our flexible and inflexible thinkers are.  I assessed my own son, who is going into the sixth grade.  Here is what he {unwillingly} did.

When you purchase the book, you get a set of picture cards and words cards for interventions and assessments.

I showed my son how to do the assessment by placing the words into four categories by beginning sound and meanings.  This showed him what I was looking for.

Then I had him sort a different set of cards with the same parameters while I time him.

This is his finished product.

This shows that he is probably an inflexible thinker, but I know differently.  This is just an 11 year old who didn't want to help me out after a long day at camp.  

I only did this once with him, but the real assessment gives them more opportunities to show their thinking.  With a scoring sheet, there is data to show the flexibility of thinking in students.  A chart is also available to lead you in the right direction.

This year I plan to use this with many of my students who experience problems that are like word callers.  This will help them become stronger readers and comprehenders, an important part of reading and learning.

How do you think this will help you as you help your students become stronger readers?

Tune in tomorrow for Chapter 4 of Word Callers!


  1. I'm going to use this assessment with a student I am tutoring this week. As I've been working with her, I've noticed signs that she lacks flexibility in her thinking. She often misses the inferred meaning of text or multiple meanings of words. I can't wait to see what I can learn from the assessment.

    1. You will have to let me know how it goes. It will be very interesting. This book changes so much for me as a teacher!


  2. I enjoyed reading your post, Andrea! This assessment was brand new for me, and I was interested to see how my 8 yr old did with it. I suspected that he was a "word caller", and the assessment confirmed that. I love all the suggestions and interventions in this book! :-) Lauren

    1. Thanks, Lauren! This assessment was so simple to do and very informative. I think if my son wouldn't have been so exhausted when I had him do it, he would have done better. I do like the simplicity of it and that every child can understand it easily.