Palabras a Su Paso – Salón de Clases Supplemental Spanish Literacy Program for Grades K-5

Palabras a Su Paso – Salón de Clases is a Spanish word study program from the authors of the Words Their Way series. This supplemental Spanish program builds and expands on phonics, vocabulary, and spelling skills, giving students a solid foundation to master the Spanish language.

  • Developmental model of Spanish, based on Spanish orthographic principles
  • Teach Spanish word study at students’ developmental spelling stages
  • Build Spanish word knowledge through hands-on sorts and interactive digital activities
  • Implement in just 15-20 minutes per day using easy, step-by-step lesson plans

Word Study: An Interactive Approach for Teaching Word Knowledge

  • What is Word Study?
  • How Do Word Sorts Work?
  • Palabras a Su Paso
  • Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary in Spanish

Word Knowledge, Not Memorization

Word study teaches students how to organize, analyze, and compare words and their features — moving them beyond rote memorization and into true word knowledge. One of the most powerful word study techniques is the word sort, which has students explore, compare, and categorize word patterns and relationships.


Word Sorts: Actively Engaging Students in Word Study

At the heart of every word sort is the same process: First, students identify the meaning and properties of each word, sound, or picture. Second, students sort the words (or sounds or pictures) into collections with similar features. Words may be sorted by meaning, sounds, spelling pattern, or other properties. Word sorts can be done as fun, hands-on activities using print resources or as interactive online practice using digital materials.


How Palabras a Su Paso – Salón de Clases Teaches Word Study

At the heart of Palabras a Su Paso is the hands-on or interactive sort. The sort invites students to group words or pictures representing specific sounds into categories. Most sorts begin with teacher-directed instruction along with questions to guide student learning and generalizations.


How Word Study Grows Spanish Literacy Skills

Word study is an effective, engaging way to build students’ Spanish phonics, spelling, and vocabulary skills. Students are encouraged to think deeply about the sounds and letters that form each word, helping to strengthen their phonics and spelling skills. In addition, the word sort process links students’ prior knowledge to the new vocabulary they learn and use as they sort words, building their Spanish word knowledge.


Teach Spanish Word Study with Palabras a Su Paso – Salón de Clases

Palabras a Su Paso – Salón de Clases uses a personalized, hands-on approach to build Spanish literacy skills.


Personalized Instruction and Practice

The program personalizes word study instruction and practice based on the five developmental spelling stages, making it easy to meet students’ diverse learning needs and grow their literacy skills.


Engaging, Hands-on Word Study

Students actively explore, compare, and categorize word patterns and relationships through hands-on and interactive word sorts, helping them build true Spanish word knowledge.


Easy, Manageable Instructional Routine

Teachers only need 15 to 20 minutes per day to provide students with engaging, effective word study. Each lesson provides strategies to model the sort, practice it, and apply and assess learning.


Interactive Word Sorts and Digital Resources

Every lesson has an associated digital word sort where students can click-and-drag pictures, words, and/or spelling patterns. Printable games and other resources add extra practice options.

Strengthen Spanish Literacy Skills with Palabras a Su Paso – Salón de Clases

  • How the Program Personalizes Word Study
  • Fun and Engaging Word Study for Students
  • Easy and Manageable Word Study for Teachers
  • The 5-Day Weekly Word Study Routine
  • The 5 Developmental Spelling Stages in Spanish

How the Program Personalizes Word Study

  • Developmental Spelling Stages
    Palabras a Su Paso offers a complete set of ready-to-use resources — lessons, sorts, and activities — for each of the five developmental stages of spelling in Spanish, so teachers have everything needed to personalize word study based on each student’s developmental stage in Spanish.
  • Small-Group Instruction
    Students are grouped by Spanish developmental spelling stage so each student can get instruction and practice that matches their language needs. The program can also be used for whole-class and individual instruction.
  • Meeting Individual Needs
    Each lesson includes ideas for providing extra support (or challenge) for students who may need it. The Guía de implementación provides additional tips for differentiating instruction according to individual student needs.

Fun and Engaging Word Study for Students

  • Hands-on Practice
    Each developmental spelling stage has an associated full-color, consumable Cuaderno de estudio de palabras (available in print or as a digital printable). These pages are designed so students can cut and paste words into sorting categories for hands-on practice.
  • Digital Interactivity
    Kids love digital interactivity! These online word sorts allow students to click-and-drag pictures, words, and spelling patterns, plus instantly check their work. There’s an Interactive Sort associated with each lesson.
  • Gran libro de rimas
    Designed for students in earlier developmental spelling stages, the Gran libro de rimas provides vividly illustrated poems that teachers can use to introduce the sort and grow students’ Spanish vocabulary.

Easy and Manageable Word Study for Teachers

  • Everything Needed for Word Study
    One of the greatest challenges to using word study to build Spanish skills is the time it takes to develop all the materials needed for the word sorts. Palabras a Su Paso provides everything teachers need to personalize Spanish word study in their elementary classrooms!
  • Easy, Step-by-Step Lessons
    The Guía del maestro provides a simple and effective lesson plan for each sort. The guide includes objectives, routines, differentiated support, and assessment ideas.
  • Group Students
    The Spanish Qualitative Spelling Inventory helps teachers place students in their correct developmental stage for Spanish word study. Students then work in small groups based on their developmental spelling stage.
  • Monitor Progress
    Prebuilt spell checks can be used as a spelling pretest to assess prior knowledge, or as a posttest immediately following instruction.
  • Additional Teacher Resources
    The Guía implementacioín provides teachers with helpful background and information about the program, along with strategies for implementing and managing the program in an elementary classroom.

The 5-Day Weekly Word Study Routine

  • 15-20 Minutes Per Day
    Teachers who use this 5-day routine only need about 15-20 minutes per day to provide students with engaging, effective word study.
  • Day 1: Introduce & Model
    On Day 1, teachers introduce vocabulary using a Gran libro de rimas or a curated Word List, then model a picture, sound, or word sort for students.
  • Day 2: Practice the Sort
    On Day 2, students practice the sort and pattern using hands-on print and interactive digital sorts.
  • Day 3: Practice Writing Sorts
    On Day 3, teachers can use a writing sort to connect the pattern or skill to writing. Interactive digital writing sorts are also available!
  • Day 4: Word Hunts
    On Day 4, students can hunt for words and patterns in reading. Each Palabras a Su Paso lesson provides a digital Biblioteca de la clase book for word hunts!
  • Day 5: Word Sorting Games
    On Day 5, students can play engaging word sorting games.

The 5 Developmental Spelling Stages in Spanish

  • Five Research-Based Stages
    Palabras a Su Paso uses a developmental model that recognizes the synchronous nature of reading, writing, and spelling. The program personalizes instruction based on which stage students are at along the Spanish literacy continuum.
  • Etapas emergente y alfabética temprana
    Students at this stage are still learning to recognize and write the letters of the Spanish alphabet and develop an awareness of sounds in language.
  • Etapa alfabética
    Students can apply the alphabetic principle to vowels and several high-frequency consonants, and can create simple two-syllable words.
  • Patrones
    Students are learning to discriminate between two or more alternate sounds to select the correct Spanish spelling pattern (for example, with contrasts such as b/v and j/g, and the use of silent h). Students are starting to spell more complex vowel patterns.
  • Acentos y afijos
    Students spell the sounds of most words correctly in Spanish, but may not always include the appropriate accent mark. Students start to work on common prefixes and suffixes in Spanish.
  • Derivaciones
    At this stage, students spell most words correctly. They are growing their knowledge of Spanish vocabulary and spelling patterns, and study Greek and Latin word roots to expand their word knowledge.

Take a Closer Look at Palabras a Su Paso – Salón de Clases


Program Overview

Get a quick overview of Palabras a Su Paso

Try a Palabras a Su Paso – Salón de Clases Lesson

  • Etapas emergente y alfabética temprana
  • Etapa alfabética
  • Patrones
  • Acentos y afijos
  • Derivaciones

Sonido inicial de las vocales Ii y Aa

Through most of this stage, children sort pictures by concept, rhyme, and beginning sounds. By the end of this period, children begin to work with open syllables and match picture cards to the words that represent their names.

View Sample Lesson

Sonidos intermedios de ll, ñ

In this level, students sort pictures and/or words by beginning syllables, digraphs, blends, and by word families. Students learn to create most two-syllable words, including words with closed syllables, consonant digraphs, and consonant blends.

View Sample Lesson

Diptongos ia, ie, io, iu

In this level, students sort words by comparing the spelling patterns of like-sounding consonants and vowel clusters. Students spell more complex vowel patterns such as a variety of diphthongs and accurately spell homophone word variations.

View Sample Lesson

Palabras compuestas

Sonidos intermedios de ll, ñ

At this stage, the focus of instruction shifts to marking the stress in words and adding affixes to base words. Students sort by inflected endings and the use of accent marks for words that stray from natural accentuation guidelines.

View Sample Lesson

Raíces rupt, tract, mot

In this level, instruction shifts to the meaning of roots and affixes that support Spanish vocabulary development. Students sort words by meaning, with an emphasis on word parts that connect related words.

View Sample Lesson

Enhance Spanish Word Study with Interactive Digital Resources

Savvas Realize - logo

The digital components of Palabras a Su Paso – Salón de Clases are all hosted on the award-winning Savvas Realize® digital platform. Realize integrates with a wide variety of digital tools and systems, such as Google Classroom, Canvas, Schoology, OneDrive, and many more!


Digital components include drag-and-drop word sorts with audio support, an interactive Guía del maestro, printable PDFs of word lists and word study games, and more!

Spanish Word Study Resources for Educators

  • Word Study in English
  • Scope and Sequence
  • Word Study with Emergent Bilinguals

Word Study in English

Teach students English-language word study at their developmental spelling stages with the Words Their Way Classroom®! Enjoy all the same features and benefits of Palabras a Su Paso — step-by-step lessons, hands-on sorts, and interactive digital activities — for English literacy skills.

Explore the Program

Scope and Sequence for Grades K-5

See the full list of sorts for each developmental spelling stage for Palabras a Su Paso. Sorts are sequenced to progressively build students' phonics, vocabulary, and spelling skills in Spanish as they move from grade to grade and from stage to stage.

View the Scope and Sequence

Dr. Lori Helman: Word Study with Emergent Bilinguals

Word study instruction involves helping students understand how words work in a given language. This whitepaper shares  what can be done to tailor word study instruction to be most effective for emergent bilinguals and empower students to build on the resources that they bring with them to the classroom. 

Get the Guide

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