Sight Words: The top 100 words that are commonly read in early reading text. These words are taught using automaticity, so when seen they are read and not sounded out. There are a variety of lessons and activities that are utilized when teaching sight words. This is how I teach sight words in my classroom and at home.
The Importance of Sight Words a weekly implementation guide.
This will be my first post in an ongoing series. This post includes how to know when your students/child is ready for sight word instruction and what to teach on the first day. Please check back this week for Days 2-5.
When to teach sight words
There are many opinions on when to teach sight words and how to teach sight words. I believe that you should begin sight word instruction when the child knows all letters and letter sounds. In a classroom setting, not all students are ready to learn sight words at the same time. It is important that before your begin your sight word instruction that your students understand the difference between a word and a letter, and that they understand that words are what you read to tell the story. The picture does help with being able to read, but word tell us what is happening in the pictures. You can easily assess this skill by reading a simple book and asking them to point to where you read and then point to the pictures. You can also create an interactive chart like this one and ask students to sort words versus letters and then use the words to create a sentence.
If your students can not differentiate between a word or a letter make sure that you have lots of shared reading times in your classroom. Read Big Books, and books online and ask students to point to along as you read. You can also give students decodable books that allow them to practice pointing. PRACTICE, PRACTICE PRACTICE, over and over again. It takes about 2 weeks before something becomes a habit. Students must be exposed to a new idea or concept at least 4 to 14 times before they learn it. Once they learn the difference, do not stop shared reading activities. Shared reading time can also be a part of your sight word instruction and utilized as a way to teaching reading strategies. IMPORTANT QUESTION: Do my students need to be able to identify all letter and letter sounds? No and Yes. Some students can learn sight words and still not know all their letters. Some students can not learn sight words because they do not know all their letters. I believe that you begin letter instruction with implicit focus on letter identification, letter formation and letter sound instruction. You can teach 1 letter a day, or 1 letter a week.( I will write a post on how I teach letter instruction along with materials that supplement that instruction.) I gauge the speed with which i teach on how fast my students are able to gain and apply their knowledge of letter sounds. I teach using letter books, letter writing, creating anchor charts, writing about that letter, dancing and singing about that letter for at least 2 days. At the end of the week I review the 2 letter that were taught.
I introduce sight words beginning in a small group setting and then moving to whole group. I do this because some students are ready for sight word instruction and some are not. Some students begin the year and they already know sight words. I do not think that waiting for everyone to be ready for sight words is ideal in a classroom setting. When a group of students are ready, I begin, and soon after begin whole group instruction.
In my small group setting I teach sight words based on students reading levels. I begin teaching everyone the same words, but the pace that I move to teach them is different. I introduce sight sight words by telling the students the word, then writing the word, asking students to say the word with me. Then we practice spelling the word. Students then tell me a sentence using the word. Lastly we play a game like mix and fix. I write the word, students read the word, then I erase 1 or more letters and they tell me the letter that is missing. This usually takes less than 2 minutes. The first time it takes awhile, then after students understand the expectations it moves quickly.
After playing mix and fix, we either write words on the table with dry erase markers or I give students a cup of letters and they spell the sight words I say using the letters. This takes about 1 minute also.
To introduce words in a whole group setting I use Powerpoint. I create slides that allow students to spell each word. One letter from the word comes on the screen at at time. When the last letter of the words comes on the screen we say the word together. After spelling and reading all the sight words, we start at the beginning of the presentation I tell the students a sentence for each word. The students then repeat the sentence as a group. Then I move on to the next word. The key to success with this method is repetition, repetition repetition. The students are hearing, and seeing the sight words. It is also important that everyone is participating. I make sure that the letter are said clearly and I give students an opportunity to copy what they have heard.
Here is a video of my students reading the sight word powerpoint
And that is it. I go over the words in a whole group setting introducing about 2 to 4 words over a week. The sight words for the week are posted on the board for students to refer to. As time progresses we begin to use our sight words during word work stations. I also review sight words whole group playing games like Spin-A-Sight Word, or Slap a sight words on the Smartboard. My students love Slap a Sight word, because we play in groups and the group that wins gets a prize.
Here is a freebie! Super hero sight words cards. Enjoy