Classroom-Ready Word Study Tools

The Word Study That Sticks Companion: Classroom-Ready Tools for Teachers and Students, K-6 
By Pamela Koutrakos
(Corwin Literacy, 2019 – Learn more)

Reviewed by Pam Hamilton

I heard about a new diet program the other day, and one of their big selling points was that “it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change.”

In Pamela Koutrakos’ first book, Word Study That Sticks, she presented us with the current research around word study and gave us a practical approach with many ideas to implement a new and improved word study “lifestyle.” It’s not about a word study program; it’s about how word study becomes a part of everything you do.

In her second book, The Word Study That Sticks Companion, Koutrakos gives us a goldmine of additional ideas we can dig into as we launch our word study routines – building our repertoire so we can stay engaged with word learning all year long. Best of all, she shares meaningful ways we can assess student progress and keep track of growth.

In Chapter One, Koutrakos explains that she imagines readers quickly skimming all the way through her Companion book to see what it includes, but then using the discovered resources as we need them, “selecting the right parts at the right time.”


Read Pam Hamilton’s review of
Word Study That Sticks: Best Practices K-6


Some of the ideas presented here were also presented in her first book. However, they are discussed more deeply in this book. For instance, word study notebooks were given 3 pages in the first book. In this book, there are 4 pages about traditional notebooks, and then 5 pages devoted to digital notebooks.

There is also a large section on assessment with fresh ideas – and 20 new word study lessons to add to the lessons in Book One. There’s even a chapter on “Connecting With Caregivers” with ideas for home-school partnerships.

There are recurring features with these tags:

Find It. Signals you when there is an accompanying lesson or information in the first book;

Bonus. Signals you there’s an accompanying introductory lesson in the back of the book;

Tech Tip. Signals you there is a digital option to enhance the practice;

Word Wall. Signals you that this routine can also be done with high-frequency or word wall words;

eTool. Signals you there are related downloadable and reproducible resources available; and

Tying it Together. A section at the end of each chapter that synthesizes and summarizes the information and ideas presented in that chapter.

This book is so easy to use! And believe me—you’re going to want to use it in conjunction with Word Study That Sticks! Together, the pair of books will enable you to start living the dream of a new and better “word study lifestyle”!

To paraphrase Koutrakos on page 4:

Step 1: Learn about the research, ideas, and approach to this stepped-up word study method in Word Study That Sticks. THEN…

Step 2: Use Book Two, The Word Study That Sticks Companion, to clear the path, pave the way, and help you put this approach into practice!


Pam Hamilton is an intermediate literacy coach at Middlebury Community Schools in Middlebury, Indiana. She loves being able to support teachers in their literacy teaching and learning!

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