K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will be encouraged to aid their own learning process by researching the answers to their spelling questions.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

30 minutes


  • Poster Board
  • 26 Library Book Pockets
  • Index Cards


  1. Paste down a library type pocket on a laminated poster board for each letter of the alphabet. Label each pocket with the upper case and lower case form of a letter, (A a).
  2. Let the students know that if they come upon a word that they are not sure how to spell (and they have already tried other ways to find out how to spell it) they may go to the “Word Bank” to get a letter card. This letter card should be the card that shows the letter with which the word begins.
  3. When they bring the card to the teacher and ask for the spelling of the word, the teacher will take the card from them and take a few seconds to write the word on the cards.
  4. The teacher announces to the class that a new word is going into the class word bank and that word is ___________. (Add any other relevant teachable moment comments and send the student to his/her seat with the word spelled on the letter card.)
  5. The student takes the card to his/her seat and copies the correctly spelled word into his/her draft and also into his/her personal dictionary or list. The student then returns the card to the Word Bank for future use.
  6. A policy in the classroom such as “Ask 2 before you do” provides students access to peer helpers to assist each other with spelling. Usually at least some students will remember that particular words are already in the bank. This policy discourages reluctant spellers from becoming dependent on the teacher for spelling a lot of words and encourages independent work habits.
  7. This word bank will be a great resource for other uses as well and will provide a personal record of words that your students use in their writing.


Over the year observe if students are learning to research the answers to their own questions.

Supplemental information

Word Banks are not the same as Word Walls. Word Walls provide a source for learning how to spell the high-frequency words that students use in their writing. Word Banks are a place for students to collect words that they can share with the rest of the class.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Language

        • Grade 2
          • 2.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. 2.L.2.1 Capitalize holidays, product names, and geographic names. 2.L.2.2 Use commas in greetings and closings of letters. 2.L.2.3 Use...
        • Grade 3
          • 3.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. 3.L.2.1 Capitalize appropriate words in titles. 3.L.2.2 Use commas in addresses. 3.L.2.3 Use commas and quotation marks in dialogue. 3.L.2.4...
          • 3.L.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships (e.g., After dinner that night we went looking for them).
        • Grade 4
          • 4.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. 4.L.2.1 Use correct capitalization. 4.L.2.2 Use commas and quotation marks to mark direct speech and quotations from a text. 4.L.2.3 Use...
          • 4.L.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal precise actions, emotions, or states of being (e.g., quizzed, whined, stammered) and that are basic to a particular topic...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 2

  • Goal 5: The learner will apply grammar and language conventions to communicate effectively.
    • Objective 5.02: Attend to spelling, mechanics, and format for final products in one's own writing.