November 2015 | Peace, Love, and First Grade

Boost Kindergarten and First Grade Sight Word Power in 10 Easy Steps

Does anyone else have a Love-Hate relationship with sight words?

You know they're important, but sometimes getting them to stick is like 
pulling teeth...that aren't loose...anyone else feel that pain?

I've tried many, many different ideas over the years. 
Some good, some not so good. 
Finally, I feel like I have a solid sight word routine in my class, and I'd like to share it with you.

Here's what we do!
1-Introducing the Words!
In my district, we use Fry Words when teaching sight words. 
Each Monday, I introduce the words to students one word at a time. 
We cheer and chant and discuss what we notice about each word.
I use large flashcards to introduce each word.
Since we work on five words each week, we can target one word each day. 

2-Heidi Songs DVDs
After introducing words, we learn the respective sight word songs! 
HeidiSongs get children up and moving as they learn sight words, color words, number words, sounds, and on and on! 

I LOVE these songs! I was thrilled last July to meet Heidi in person! Seriously a starstruck moment! She was such a genuinely kind person! I'm more of a fan now than before I met her!

Anyway, her songs are addictive! You'll go to bed and wake up singing them! MULTI SENSORY folks!

Yellow is one of my favorites!

3-Mix and Fix
We spend time during guided reading lessons working on words! 
My love for magnetic letters is no secret. We use them each day. 
Mixing and fixing is one of my students' favorite activities. 
It's also a chance for me to observe any confusions kids are having with words.  I'm able to address confusions right then! Great opportunity for informal observation!

4-Flash Cards
Each child in my class gets a word ring to use as flash cards. You can print the words on labels and attach them to index cards or just print on cardstock, then place the cards on rings. The students keep the rings in their book boxes. They read the words to partners or Upper Grade Buddies.


5-Flash Sorts
One thing I've learned about teaching sight words is children need to "overlearn" each word. The words need to come automatically, much like letters or numbers. Sorting LIKE words seems like a very easy task, but for young children, seeing and reading those words over and over leads to that automaticity. 

In this activity, students cut the words, then sort words by LIKE words, OR any other way you would like them to sort. You may only want students to have one copy of each word and sort by number of letters, beginning sounds, etc. 
I always ask my littles who are struggling to sort by LIKE words.


sight-word-fluency-sort I suggest sorting the words 3-5  times. The more familiar the words are to children, the faster they can sort the words. They love the challenge of sorting faster as they time themselves. 
Each Friday, they sort then glue their words in their sort booklets.

6-Flash Word Fluency
This activity goes home with students. Sight words are placed on a grid, and students are asked to read the words as quickly as they can 10 different times throughout the week. 
At home. 
Ideally, with their parents. That's the hope! 
After each reading, parents (or other listeners) record the time it takes the child to read.
*This is not an original idea. Teachers have been doing this for a long time. 
This pack contains the five words my kiddos focus on each week.

7-Flash Color by the Code
In this activity, students read their sight words to partners as quickly as they can 3 different times.
Then they use the color code on the page to color the words, saying each word as they color it. If students want, they can spell the words as they color, too.


8-Flash Sentences
For this activity, I created a phrase or sentence using each word. These ARE NOT Fry or Dolch phrases. I love Fry phrases, but some of them are too difficult for beginning readers. I wanted easy phrases for students to use while working on one-to-one and fluency.

All of your students may not need these sentences. Many of my students struggle with one-to-one correspondence this year. I knew we needed a place for students to point below each word so I included dots for that purpose.

9-My Short Books
I found these books one day while searching online. My Short Books are sets of books that target specific sight words and ARE NOT predictable. A former Reading Recovery teacher wrote them (which warms my RR heart). 
They are incredibly inexpensive, too!
If you haven't tried them, you can find them here




With all the practicing we're doing, I would be remiss if I did not hold students accountable for spelling sight words correctly in their writing. The first bit of writing we do is our Sight Word Spelling Booklet. I apologize for not having a photo of these books in action, but here's a pic to give you the idea. We also use a lot of blank books in the writing station. Easiest tip: Provide them with word dictionaries and encourage them to make use of the Word Wall and get them writing!


What else can you do??
There are so many ways children can work on sight words independently. 
Here are my favorites:

*Play Dough Words

*Color by the Code-

My kiddos love these on Friday afternoons!



*Highlighter Tape-
My firsties feel like big kids when they're allowed to use the highlighting tape! They get so excited when they find words in books and on charts!

*Sight Word Bracelets-
Kids love bracelets so what better way to review sight words than with bracelets? Just FYI: Cardstock works better than copy paper. Insert smile here!

*iPad and Kindle apps AND Online Games-
Just google or search Pinterest for sight words. There are bunches!
My friend, Emma, has a great list right here!

*Letter Stamps-
Kids love stamps in all their messy glory!
These are from Lakeshore.


*Scrambled Sentences-
We all know how important it is to practice reading words in context.

*Partner or Group Games-
There are a ton of word games your kiddos can play: Memory, Musical Words, Bang-type games, etc. My kids love our seasonal games!

Don't forget to provide them with as many opportunities as possible to READ, READ, READ!!

Most of these activities are found in my Sight Word pack, 
and here are a few of my other sight word activities! 
A freebie is included!

This one is a FREEBIE!

Whew! That's a lot to process! If you're still here, thanks so much!

Have a great week, friends!