All Sorts of Word Sorts

Words sorts require learners to recognize similar features of words based on sounds, spelling patterns, meanings, or concepts. Word sorts are more effective when they connect with text or readings assigned to learners. It is a fun and engaging way to help them process information and make it “sticky” because they are making connections, deciphering between principles, and creating something new as they place words or concepts into categories.
APEX developed a free K-2nd grade resource that includes word sorts and other strategies that support literacy development in the home as schools remain closed for the rest of the year.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Word sorts help learners to  create connections in the brain as they engage in a multi-sensory experience that requires them to engage in the following:

  • Read
  • ️Sort
  • ️Manipulate
  • Categorize ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

There are many types of words sorts, below are four that you can use to elevate literacy in the home or online: 

Open Sort- only words are provided and students determine the categories based on what they see. 


Closed Sort- provide categories for the students to help focus their attention.  

Speed Sort- this is timed for students and excellent for building fluency and accuracy when working with words or known patterns, 

Writing Sort – students write the word under the appropriate categories as they are called out. 

Home-to-School Connection 

  • Integrate word sorts with online activities and assignments to review texts from your child’s school
  • Download the word sort template to get started with this activity 
  • Determine the categories you want to review with your child and place on the name of those categories in the first template.
  • Place words or concepts in the second template (one with eight boxes), place words or concepts in boxes, cut them up, and have your child to sort in the appropriate category. 

Recommendations for teachers 

  • Use word sorts as warm-ups to review concepts from previous day.
  • Incorporate word sorts into your exit strategy to review the learning.
  • Organize students into groups and give them the opportunity to sort through concepts together which encourages teamwork, discussions, and collaboration. 

Download word sort resources here.