Sunday, January 3, 2016

Learning Sight Words - How we make it work!

Well folks.  It's almost time.  Time to head back to work after the wonderful holiday season.  For many of us, it's a time to refocus.  A time to really look at where our kiddos are and what we can do to help them be successful.  It's always about this time of year that the panic starts to set in.  "Oh my goodness!  The year is half over!  Are they getting it?  Will they be on grade level at the end of the year?  What else can I do for them?" 

Inevitably, they all seem to make progress and I can breathe a little easier, but there are some ways to ensure your children are successful.

After our first round of parent/teacher conferences back in September I started implementing a three part plan of action when it came to sight words.  I wanted to give my students who were already struggling some extra support and find a better way of keeping their parents aware of their progress.

1.  The first step is assessment.  I know, I know.  Ugh.  I don't necessarily like the word either.  But if want to teach our students and help them make progress, we need to know what they already know and what they are struggling with.  I started using my student goal tracking forms to track sight word reading (click on the picture below to check them out in my TPT store!).

About every 3-4 weeks I check each child on the sight words for the quarter.  We work together to set goals on how many words they will know the next time we meet and then write down the words the student should target.  I am careful to use kid friendly language when setting goals - my students are at an age that they don't necessarily know time concepts yet.  When I meet, I say things like, "We will meet again at Halloween see how many more sight words you know!"  It makes it easier for them to look ahead.  I love the idea of conferencing and setting goals with each individual child.  Not every child is going to be on the same level.  Some children are still working on first quarter words, while others are working on second quarter.  What matters is that we are all setting goals and working to achieve them.  Below is an example of a goal setting form I filled out with a kiddo (I printed first and second quarter words both on one page).  The highlighted words are words she missed so we set a goal to know those when she got back from Christmas break!

2.  After I know what students know and what they need to work on, I create a plan.  If there are words that several students missed, we work on them in a whole group setting.  We target those words in guided reading groups.  If there are words that several students missed  we then work on them in a whole group setting.  I am fortunate to have a literacy aide that comes in my room every day during my guided reading/center time.  I have given her the task of seeing my low group four days a week.  She is highly qualified and it works for us.  It may not work for everyone, but we love it!  It provides intensive, consistent practice for my low group and then I see them for an extended period on Fridays to see the progress they've made.  

I type out a smorgasbord style lesson plan for my aide and provide her with all of the materials in a tub.  She picks and chooses which activity to do each day.  One of the activities that is consistently in the tub are my sight word books.  In my lesson plans I detail which sight words each child is missing. 

I then provide a baggie with a sight word book and the needed materials including a small tub of play dough, buttons, a dry erase marker and eraser, and magnetic letters.  The sight word book is a product of mine that I print onto card stock, cut apart and slide into $1 photo albums.  You can also laminate the sheets and bind them together!  :)

While each child may have a different book, targeting a different sight word, the activities in each book are all the same.  

Build the word with play dough.

Trace it with a dry erase marker.

Box it up.

Build it with magnetic letters.

Circle the word.

Circle the letters in the word, then draw a line to connect them in order.

Fix the word.

Mark the word with a button (or other game piece/eraser/etc.)

Fill in the word.

Write a sentence using the word.

Check their work!

My kiddos LOVE this resource!  It gives them intensive focus on one specific word and they enjoy using the different materials (play dough is ALWAYS a hit and there is something about dry erase markers...)   I have individual sight word books for sale as well as BUNDLES to save you money.  Click on each picture below to look at the bundles!

The sight word book for the word 'a' is a FREEBIE in my store so you can test it out.  Click on the link below to check it out!

3.  The final step is practice at home.  Throughout the year I send home several seasonal games and ideas for sight word practice.  To keep parents up to date on their child's progress I not only send home a copy of the goal tracking sheets from above, I also send home a binder ring of superhero sight words.  To check out more about these, you can read this blog post.

Here is a link to this product - just click the picture below.

Those are the three main steps I take to helping my students know their sight words.
1. Assessment and Goal Setting
2. Targeted Practice
3. Involvement from Home

All of these resources above are still on SALE for the New Year until tonight!  A few hours left!

These aren't the only things that we do in the room to learn sight words.  We do a TON of other activities throughout our day, but that's another blog post.  :)  In the meantime, I'll leave you with a little peek of something I'm working on....

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