Sight words. For years, teaching sight words has been an uphill battle with so many of my first graders. I hear from other teachers (and parents!) all the time & they’re asking “Why does learning sight words have to be so hard?” Kids ask this, too! Assigning children a list of words that have no logical connection to one another has always seemed a little “off” to me, but it was the way everyone did it, so it was the way I did it.
As teachers of sight words, most of us are used to teaching the words as they are listed on the original Dolche or Fry lists. Sometimes this can be frustrating for small children because there is no logical pattern to the words they are learning.
Even parents are confused by sight words because many of them never learned them when they were in school. I have the solution!
When I was working with my lower babies & doing a lot of work with RTI groups, I had students put their assigned sight words into groups that made sense to them. I noticed that the kids were grouping their word cards by the phonics and spelling patterns they were familiar with.
That’s how their little brains worked, and I found that my kids are able to master words more quickly if they follow a logical pattern or “make sense”.
That’s when these lists made their way into my classroom instruction & it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done with sight words. In my district, first graders are asked to master 600 words by the end of the year. That’s a lot, I know!
This system takes all of the 600+ sight words and groups them by spelling or phonics pattern.
For instance, in List 1, children are only learning 2-letter words with long vowel e.
And in List 32, students are only focusing on the r-controlled vowel /ar/. Breaking words down into manageable parts provides learners with that logical pattern they are often seeking when mastering sight words.
Sure, there are words that don’t fit a specific pattern, and those are included, as well. They are marked in BOLD in each list.
I’ve made charts that show how each of these lists are correlated with the original Dolche & Fry lists. This is how I made it all work in my head. I had to know that all of the words I was teaching my children were the ones they really needed to know.When students have mastered all of the words that can be learned through spelling & phonics patterns, they move onto the challenge words. These challenge words are based on the Fry lists of the most frequently used words in the English language.
For these words, each child gets a list to study, as well as a Fluency Passage that includes ALL of the words for practice. These passages are included because research shows that learning words in isolation is not the best way to master them, but rather embedding them in text has a more positive and long-lasting result.
As children learn their words, we celebrate our success with Sight Word Superstars!!! In my room, each child has a command hook under their name. There are stars for each 5 lists, and for every list mastered, I punch a hole or put a sticker over the number. When they have learned all 5 lists for that star, they get to hang their star under their name.
You can choose to cut out each individual star, or just cut out the squares.
You can also just hang them on a binder ring or key ring like you would Brag Tags. Kids love to hang these off their backpacks, or keep them in their cubbies. This is a great way to celebrate without taking up too much classroom space, or if you prefer not to have a public display in your room.
The kids love earning their stars!!
Now, do you have to teach your kids all 600 words? Absolutely not! I know the requirements for sight word mastery varies from district to district, so there is a set for the most common groups – 50, 100, 220, 450, and 600 (the challenge words).
If you’re interested in trying it out, the first set is a Starter Set for the first 50+ words, and it’s FREE for you to download and try. Just click the picture to check it out.
If you want to check out the other sets, there are previews for each listing that will show you everything included. Just click the picture of each set to check it out! :)
***** EACH SET IS CUMULATIVE! That means, if you teach 220 words, only download the 220 set because it includes everything in the 50 & 100 set, as well as everything you will need to teach 220. YOU ONLY NEED TO PURCHASE ONE SET...the set that is based on how many words you want to teach your students.
If you only teach 100 words, you only need that one set. However, if you want to teach all 600 words to your kiddos, you can get that, too. It’s 278 pages of EVERYTHING you’ll need to teach that Sight Word Solution!
This has seriously changed the way I teach sight words, and the level of mastery in my classroom. I have seen some of my kids just thrive with this program. Check out the FREEBIE & let me know what you think!! :)
As always, thanks for stopping by!!