Getting to grips with Sight Words

Since  I spoke about my Tricky Word work on my Instagram last week, I've had so many messages and queries so I thought I'd be best putting all the info together into a blog post!

Sight words, they're one of those things we just need to learn, but in saying that it doesn't have to be boring!

Make them visible:

  • Dedicating a little section of your board / wall space for 'Word of the Day' is always a nice reference point for a new word. It will mean it's clearly visible for pupils and will also act as a reminder for yourself to refer to it throughout the day!
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Image source: http://nocoolstory.com


  • Use your word as a password to get in & out of the classroom. Displaying it on a little card outside your classroom door will work has a handy way of testing your pupils' recognition of the word as they come and go. Each pupil must read it on their way past coming to & from yard etc.
  • It's nothing new, but a Word Wall will never go to loss in your classroom. ('Go to loss' - I think that's a very Donegal phrase but you know what I mean!) We refer to our Tricky Word wall a lot but also my little dotes love to get their work finished quickly as one of the early finisher routines we have is to get to go  up to the Tricky Word wall in pairs & with some fly swats to practice their words!


Contextualise:

I know I'm always harping on about it but there is literally no point in teaching letters, sounds or words in isolation! You need to put things into context for your little learners. It's no different for any other type of learning, things need to be contextualised.

  • When teaching my Junior's a new Sight Word. I use a 'Sight Word Story'. It's literally a few short sentences (with that particular sight word hidden throughout) that the pupils should be able relate to and try to read or decode. And of course, our trusty fly swats are used to swat any sight words they see while reading.
  • Hunting for our target sight word in a story or picture book is something we do a lot. It's something I tell them to look / listen out for during story time and we keep our Tricky Word wall nearby for reminders! 

Fun

Make acquisition of sight words fun by having a good supply of sight word related games on hand. Some of my go-to's include:

  • Jenga - if you can get your hands on an old game of Jenga, you can easily adapt it to suit your  CVC Words, Sight Words or Tricky Word work with a few sticky labels!
  • Lollipop Dolch Lists - This is a handy, easily made activity for pair work! Set the timer, turn them all upside down, take turns turning one over, read it & keep. Then see how many you have at the end. 

  • Laminated games are so handy for word reinforcement but also for your early finishers. I have lots of games like Sight Word Snakes & Ladders, matching games and little dice games, laminated and ready to go.

  • Sight Word Hop-scotch - take things outdoors and try some hop-scotch with a side of sight words! 
Image result for sight word hopscotch
Image source: http://www.sightwordsgame.com/sightwordgames/hopscotch/


  • Sight Word Twister - Get your hands on an old game of Twister and give it a sight word make over. Take it to the hall or an open space in the classroom - your pupils will love it!

Image result for sight word twister
Image source: http://notjustchildsplay.blogspot.com/2016/12/using-board-games-in-classroom.html

Tactile:

Bringing tactile learning into literacy is so important and beneficial for young learners. There are so many ways to easily incorporate tactile learning into your word work:
  • Writing in playdough / building words with playdough
  • Building words with lego
  • Writing words in sand, rice, salt
  • Build words with pipe-cleaners
  • Take the chalk outdoors and write words on the tarmac
  • Sandpaper letters & words - if it was good enough of Maria Montessori, it's good enough for me!
  • Get the magnetic letters out!
Writing

I shared a little breakdown of how I go about teaching sight words and writing sight words on my Instagram last week. Remember, in terms of writing, I've planned these activities for my own particular class, everyone's will be be different! 



If you think you might find such activities useful, you can find my Tricky Word Word Pack for Dolch List 1 on Mash!

I could keep going about sight word work but then I'd be in the running for the longest blog post known to mankind! Once you're keeping it fresh and lively and the children are excited about learning them, then you're on the right track.

If you've any activities or ideas you find useful, be sure to share and I'll post them up for you!

Have a good week everyone!










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