How To Introduce Sight Words – Hello and welcome to the third (and final) post in my “Teaching Sight Words” series. If you’re joining me, I recently posted about refining and implementing your sight word instruction and 10 great literacy centers you can implement tomorrow. Today I want to share with you how you can take your sight words from isolated instructions and exercises to real context use.
In my small groups, I challenge myself to spend 25 minutes with each group. Now of course I want my students to practice reading as much as possible. However, it is important for them to work on the skills to practice reading correctly. As a result, during one (maybe two) sessions a week, most of my focus is on sight words. The lesson looks something like this:
How To Introduce Sight Words
When the students first arrive, we can play a sight word game called Teacher vs. Students that my friend Jen from Reading 11 shared about the game here . It’s a very engaging game that students always love (because they always win)! Otherwise, they will practice recognizing words with their sight word tentacles (you can read about them in my last post, #1). These are great bell ringers or warm-up activities for cobweb removal or an informal assessment.
High Frequency Words: How To Make Learning Them Fun
Then I walk them through the steps of our multi-sensory “red” word practice. You can read more about this lesson structure in my first article.
Next, I begin to make the connection between isolation and context using a pocket diagram with sentences and missing sight words. Students work together to complete the sentences before I ask them to read the sentences aloud to a partner. Again, this is a good opportunity to take notes on how students transfer words from isolation to context.
Then I enter the text. I try hard to find text that repeats the sight word(s) I just practiced. I am very fortunate to have an A-Z of Reading subscription in my school district. This site has a wide range of aligned texts that support the repetition of sight words. In addition to the leveled book library, they also have high frequency vocabulary books. Unfortunately, there is no way to search for the view word, so I usually do a lot of clicking and searching. Fortunately, I’ve found it to be (very) worth my time, so I can give my students the support they need when reading sight words in text.
I finally created this template for the keyword “Homework”. I fill in the blanks to give the word each week in simpler sentences and for my students to read. You can get my EXCLUSIVE blog free template here. With time remaining, my students can complete this activity. Or they can take it home to practice, or I use it as a bell ringer the next day. No matter how I use it, after it’s done, I keep their eyes in the Word folder for page review.
Supercharge Sight Word Learning With Boom Cards
After this lesson, I supervise my students every week. I test their words individually, but I always know how they read the sight words in the text. I participate in informal reading conferences, formal track reports, and fluency assessments where my students read aloud to me. I open Padlet for my students to insert the sight words they find into the text. When I work together with a student, my other students are assigned independent reading. When I read, I put 2-4 sight words that I want them to focus on. If they find one word in their book, they must add it to the Padlet along with their name. I leave my iPad open and students can add their name without interrupting their time with another child.
To gain more exposure and help remember these new sight words, we will continue to play games like Road Race, Jenga and our Cheetah Name Sorter.
The growth I’ve seen with this anticipated lesson outline has really helped my students make big, lasting gains with their sight words. Sometimes these basic skills can be difficult to teach and plan for, so I hope I’ve given you some ideas to add to your toolkit. Through trial and error and a lot of research, I discovered that there are 5 powerful ways to make this work. Look at the words. I strongly believe that having time each school day that allows you to practice sight words is extremely important. I also like to focus on a small number of words (no more than 5) each week. (Five is the magic number to remember). In each introductory lesson, students must see, hear, speak, spell, and write new words.
They must see the words! Maybe you’ve already posted them on your word wall. Maybe you can post them or write them on the board so they can be seen throughout the week. Your little ones are ticking off the weekly words every time they leave the classroom because you left them by the door.
How To Teach Sight Words Using A Research Based Approach — Ascend Smarter Intervention
For years I wrote weekly words on index cards that I had to stick to my front board with a magnet. Before the weekly test I remove them, and after the test I clip them to the correct place of the words on the wall (students shout out which letter to put them under).
But what about students who don’t pay attention when you practice words? They stare into space, at their friends, pick a spot on the carpet—anything but words, while you try everything to see them. Reminders and calling their name. Maybe you’re leading them on.
How about giving them a copy of your name? Give them words of the week so they can expand their horizons. Or give blank cards and ask them to write the words themselves. (Great for now when students need individual materials).
Make them take some responsibility for the words they learn. Then when asked to look at the word to learn, he looks at the copy in his hand. Easier than convenient.
Using Art To Teach Sight Words
You can also share the sight word with a sentence. Students should look at the sight word in context to understand it better. The Science of Reading (SOR) encourages sight words not in isolation, but in context and using sounds whenever possible. After the introductory day, I make sure to spend the rest of the week using these principles, making sure students find the phonograms in their sight words and practice reading and writing the words in anchor sentences.
Again, this should be negligible. But the teacher doesn’t just have to say words for them to hear. Your students should say the words to hear themselves.
When entering a word, there are many ways it can be entered. The easiest is to have the students repeat the word back to you. Remember that students point to the word with their finger as they repeat the word (their word should be in their word rings).
I also love it when students write a word. To do this, one must know their uppercase, lowercase and suspended letters. (Don’t you love things that reinforce multiple concepts?) Students who need more practice recognizing letter shapes may enjoy this product of mine.
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If they capitalize, they will stand up with their hands in the air saying “b” (b is a long letter). “I” will put their hands on their hips (that’s a short letter – think of your hips as a dotted line). At “G” they bent at the waist and hung their hands on the floor to hang the letter.
When introducing new sight words to the class, you should make sure they say the word several times. Of course you have to repeat the word back to you to help them hear it and help them say it. win-win
Students must say the word, look at the word, and hear the word. I say, you say, and then what’s an attractive way to do this other than we repeat it a few times for good measure?
What if students say the words in different voices? It’s an oldie but a goodie. There are a hundred ways to get students to say words in fun and silly voices. A soccer player, an opera singer, a robot, a mouse, a bear and a quiet voice are just a few off the top of my head.
Research Based Strategies For Teaching Sight Words
I like to choose one for each word. Using these fun sounds, have students say the word, write it, and then say the word again. Then simply
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