Sight words are the most frequently used and repeated words found in student text. And building sight word smarts is so important especially,
But they are also important because many of them can’t be sounded out. We just need to know them by sight. Have you ever heard one of your students trying to sound out the word was?
Many sight words are also hard to define and illustrate in text. Again, the word was. Hard to define and hard to illustrate. Students can’t really use illustrations to help them figure out that word. That’s why,
Here’s 16 ways to build sight word smarts:
1. Post at least the first 200 Fry sight words on the wall a few at a time each week as they are learned for student reference
2. Teach students how and when to use the word wall (refer to it often while teaching)
Another great activity is my vocabulary notebook! Easily record science, social studies, or reading vocabulary terms in this versatile vocabulary notebook or journal. Read all about it here!
3. Spend 10 minutes daily on whole group sight word instruction and practice (more time may be needed with some groups)
4. Spend 2-5 minutes daily on small group sight word instruction and practice (as needed per data testing)
These speed drills are amazing for many different skills students need to learn. Read all about these speed drills here and be sure to grab a FREE set of Long/Short vowel speed drills at the end of this post!
5. Allow for daily written work using sight words in sentences/phrases
6. Allow for daily center work and/or games using sight words
7. For students who need extra practice, use decodable readers that include sight word practice
8. Keep rings of sight words around the room and in centers for practice (keep a ring by the door for practice while lining up)
9. Have a ring of sight words handy for parent volunteers to use with students who need intervention
10. Have incentives for learning sight words (stickers, stars, notes home, class cheers, etc.)
11. Send home weekly lists and suggestions to parents to show how to practice and remind parents regularly about the importance
12. Assess students’ sight word fluency at least quarterly
13. When assessing 1-minute reading fluency, point out or highlight the sight words that are missed in the passage to each student
14. Send home quarterly sight word assessment data
15. Use sight word data to plan targeted sight word instruction and intervention
16. Provide 1-minute sand timers at centers for students to time their partners during partner reading to increase fluency
Readers Theaters is another great way to practice fluency with partners! At least 50% of the text contains sight words that your students are practicing. These are great for use during holiday time, end of unit practice, and end of the year.
With everything said above, start building those sight word smarts this year and make sight word fluency a focus so your students will be well on their way to reading grade-level material more fluently!
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