The Word Feature Spelling (WFS) list is a spelling list divided into groups of five words each. Each subgroup investigates the student's knowledge of a specific word feature such as beginning sound, consonant blend, long vowel pattern, etc. An assessment of students' spellings of the words on this list will indicate the features that have already been mastered and will pinpoint the level at which instruction must begin.

The complete list includes 32 features; this brief introduction to the list will include features D-M and will enable teachers to experiment with the assessment and the use of the computerized program included on this website. A complete list along with a more detailed description of its presentation, its uses, and an interpretation of its results are in Word Feature Spelling List: a Diagnosis of Progressing Word Knowledge through an Assessment of Spelling Errors, 2008 available through the University of Virginia bookstore and in Words Their Way, Edition IV, Pearson, 2008.The research basis for this program can be found in the references listed at the end of this report.

Sample List

The portion of the list presented here (D-M), examines the spelling features commonly associated with the within word pattern stage of spelling development. The tests are scored by counting the number of examples correct on each subgroup of five. Only the feature being considered(letters underlined)is scored.

Sample List D-M:
D. Beginning two-consonant cluster
drop, chin, step, glad, shut
E. Correct short vowel
Count the number of words in lists D with a correct short vowel in correct vowel position.
drop, chin, step, glad, shut
F. End two-consonant cluster
fish, dump, luck, rich, last.
G. Correct long vowel plus a vowel marker
Count the number of words that contain a correct initial vowel + a marker, a second vowel such as the "e" in "slide," or the "a" in "load." In other words, count as correct, words spelled with the pattern of a rhyming word. ("lode" for "load" as in "rode").
game, load, slide, free, fight
H. Correct short vowel, "r" controlled
Count the number of correct short vowels in these "r" controlled words. The letter on each side of vowel must also be correct. (girle=correct; gril=error).
clerk, girl, cord, barn, first
I. Marked ending
sharpen, cracked, shorter, classes, parted
J. Correct long vowel and marker (G List correctly spelled)
game, load, slide, free, fight
K. Three consonant cluster
ranch, scram, splatter, threw, catch
L. Correct long vowel pattern, "r" controlled, correctly spelled
cure, fear, wire, shore, chair
M. Vowel digraph/diphthong
voice, mouth, chew, crawl, shook

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