A Glimpse into "The Next Step Forward in Word Study and Phonics" by Richardson & Dufresne

My goodness! After reading The Next Step Forward in Word Study and Phonics by Jan Richardson and Michele Dufresne, I think I've just discovered the jackpot of word study resources. This professional text has an abundance of tips, explicit procedures and hands-on activities to implement word study and phonics with students. Richardson and Dufresne state, 
As you work with your students, we hope you discover the same pleasure and success we have experienced in our work with teaching children to be better readers. We also hope we have provided you with useful tools to support you in helping your students become joyful, engaged readers (p.198).
Let's take a peek at the Table of Contents. You'll notice the word study resources support a range of readers, including those working on Pre-A skills through readers achieving skills at Level Z. When you turn the page just beyond the Table of Contents, you'll discover the particulars contained in a set of videos the authors have created for educators. Since this book supplies a link to an online, password protected site, you'd be able to access the content within the videos, in addition to a large number of downloadable materials. 

Below are images of what the online site has to offer. Each tool you'd need to implement word study in small groups is provided, as well as pertinent information to strengthen your practice and grow as an educator.

I'll leave you with a few quotes to give you better insight into what the book offers. I highly recommend you own the book. If you're anything like me, you'll read, highlight and tab the book, then refer to it again and again when planning for small guided groups. 
  • Word study goes beyond the rote memorization of letters and sounds. It teaches readers how to apply their knowledge of letters, sounds, and words in order to read and spell (p.9).
  • Word study, including phonics, should be taught in small groups and based on the developmental needs of individual students (p.13).
  • The key phrase is "developmentally appropriate," not one size fits all (p.13.)
  • It doesn't make sense to teach word study the same way to every child (p.16).
  • Emphasize meaning and practice flexibility! (p.21)
  • Spelling a word is not an efficient way to learn sight words. In fact, it will slow the rate at which students acquire them. You want students to remember sight words as one complete unit (p.29).
  • It is important for students to understand, from an early age, that what they read must make sense. As students read, prompt them to use what they know about letters and sounds to help them make sense of the text (p.100).
  • A goal of every guided reading lesson is to teach students how to use their newly acquired word study skills while they are reading and writing (p.237).
  • Create a love for reading by knowing your students' reading interests. Each day students should read books they select themselves (p.170).
  • Learning to read does not need to be a drudgery. The biggest message we want to leave you with is that learning should be joyful (p.198).
Check out #NSFWordStudy on Twitter for more information. :)

Thanks for taking a peek and if you're interested in snagging a free copy, leave a comment below to be entered in a giveaway!


  1. OH MY!! This book looks amazing!! The videos and downloads look wonderful. I would LOVE to get a copy of this book!!!
    --Alyce (kinder teacher in KS)

  2. I would love a copy of the book as I continue on my learning journey (student teacher in Canada)

  3. I apologize for not posting this sooner! The winner of the book went to "LeeAnne" back in mid-October. Her response showed up in my email, but wasn't visible on the site. Sorry for the confusion. Her response is below.

    October 11, 2019 at 11:04 AM
    Hi Colleen. I’d love to snag a free copy of The Next Step Forward in Word Study and Phonics. Every story is made up of words but every word has their own story. I love that this book will be emphasizing meaning and practicing flexibility. #NSFWordStudy thank you for your thoughtful blogposts that are all fabulous resources! #FanGirl #YouRock

  4. Looks amazing! I am After School program Coordinator at a city-funded Literacy Center, for K-4. We are trying to incorporate phonics into reading with a cohesive program.

  5. Looks amazing! I am After School program Coordinator at a city-funded Literacy Center, for K-4. We are trying to incorporate phonics into reading with a cohesive program.SPetersen in Utah
    contact at


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