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!


Hi, everyone!

Earlier this week, I posted 8 books I plan to read this summer.

For pleasure.

Today I'm sharing 8 professional books I plan to read! 

A few of these are re-reads for me, but all of them are awesome!

Here we go!

No More, "I'm Done!" by Jennifer Jacobson
This is a re-read for me.
 I love the way Jennifer sets up her classroom for writing success!
 If you are looking for ideas to jump-start your Writer's Workshop, here you go!

The Daily 5 by Gail Bushy & Joan Moser
My summer started over a week ago, and I've already read this one. 
I love the way The Sisters share the changes they have made
 over the past several years. 
They also include a chapter on Math Daily 3. 
The Sisters are two smart girls!

UNSHAKEABLE by Angela Watson
UNSHAKEABLE was written by my sweet friend, 
Angela from The Cornerstone for Teachers. 
Angela knows a thing or two about positive energy
 and encouragement for educators. 
Her blog posts and podcasts motivate teachers to live their best lives
 and believe in what they are doing. 
For those days when you feel you are just going through the motions, UNSHAKEABLE will bring you back!

Growing Readers by Kathy Collins
This is a re-read for me, too. 
It's one of those books that gets you motivated for the new year. Growing Readers is an easy read with real lessons for Reader's Workshop. 
I keep this one close at hand!

The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson
This one stays by my side, too. It's one of those books you can pick up, find the page you want, and read to your content.
Jan Richardson knows what real guided reading looks like and shares that knowledge with us.

About the Authors: Writing Workshop with Our Youngest Writers 
by Katie Wood Ray
I'll read this one as soon as I finish No More, "I'm Done."
I'm looking forward to reading about how Katie 
implements Writing Workshop in her classroom! 
About the Authors focuses on students in Kindergarten though Second Grade.

Number Sense Routines: Building Numerical Literacy Every Day in Grades K-3 by Jessica Shumway
This is one of the books that changed the way I approached teaching math. Whatever "program" you use, these number sense ideas and activities will work, honestly. They are quick and easy to implement, and help young children see numbers more clearly.

Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading
by Tanny McGregor
Comprehension Connections is my first Tanny McGregor book.
I've heard so much about her I knew I needed to read for myself. Comprehension is so stinkin' hard for some students. 
I'm anxious to  see the strategies Tanny uses with her kiddos.


There are so many incredible books out there for educators! 

It's almost impossible to decide what to read next! 

Thankfully, that means we'll never run out!

So, what professional books do I plan to read this summer?

Have fun reading!

*Clicking the pics will take you to my Amazon affiliate links.


Hi, friends!
It's been a while since I blogged last-specifically two months.

The longer I blog, the more I realize I want only great content posted here. 

I don't want to waste your time if I don't have something really awesome to say.

That may mean I don't post as often (ha!) 
but it will also mean what does get posted is meaningful to me, 
and hopefully you.

I LOVE BOOKS! Most teachers do, right?

If you cherish your time inside the pages of a book like I do, 
then maybe you'll find a good read right here! 

My reading list this summer includes pleasure and professional reads. 
Today, I'm focusing on books for pleasure!

Later this week I'll share the professional books I plan to read.

*Clicking on the pics will take you to my Amazon affiliate links.

Let's get started!

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
This book is everywhere. 
This is the story of Rachel who travels each day on a commuter train. 
What she sees from the train, or thinks she sees, is the premise for the story. 
I'm a big fan of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window!
 I can't wait to dig into this one.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
This book has been sitting on my shelf for awhile. 
I hope this summer allows me enough time to dive in!
The Kitchen House is the story of the orphaned Lavinia, who finds herself working in the Big House of a Virginia plantation years before the Civil War.

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
Sara Gruen is the author of Water for Elephants, 
which is a favorite read of mine. 
At the Water's Edge is the story of Maddie, Ellis, and Hank, 
who travel to Scotland in 1944 in search of the Loch Ness monster.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
I have friends who live and breathe for a good Kristin Hannah book. 
I am ashamed to say I've never read one. 
I'm ready, though.
The Nightingale is the story of two sisters living in France 
during the onset of World War II.

Dark Witch by Nora Roberts
I've read many Nora Roberts books over the years but not in quite a  while.
 This one intrigued me. It's now sitting on my shelf. 
Dark Witch is the first in a trilogy of books about Irish cousins who live and love in a small town where supernatural powers exist.

How to Start a Fire by Lisa Luz
How to Start a Fire seems like the ultimate summer read. It celebrates the friendship of three women who meet in college and remain lifelong friends.

Those Girls by Chevy Stevens
Chevy Stevens is a new author to me,
 and Those Girls doesn't actually come out until July, but... 
I'm hoping to read it before school starts in August. 
This is the story of three sisters who change their names 
and go on the run after a horrifying event with their father. 

 I am SO excited about this one!
Did you grow up reading Judy Blume?
Well, she has another one out for big girls! 
Hip! Hip!
In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
In the Unlikely Event tells the story of Miri, who lived in New Jersey in the 1950s
 when three small planes crashed within two months. 
Miri returns to her hometown thirty-five years later for the commemoration.

Will I make it through all these books this summer? Doubtful!

But...it makes me happy to see pretty books on my shelf and know they are there when I'm ready. 

That's the neat thing about books, like good friends, they are always there.

Happy reading, friends!