Sight Words

Sight words are words that cannot be "sounded out" phonetically, and are also words that occur most often in print (similar to high-frequency words).  Sight words are taught as a whole by sight, so students can automatically read and recognize the words in print.  When I introduce a new word as a whole group, I use the "read-spell-write" routine.  First we read the word together many times, then spell it.  As we spell the word, I tap under each letter for the students (if they had their own flash cards or words, I would have them do it on their own).  Finally, we "air write" the word together (holding our pointer fingers up and writing it in the air).  All of these activities can be easily done in small group or one-on-one.

There are many different lists of sight words out there.  Over the years, I have used Dolch lists (mostly pre-primer and primer), lists from my adopted curriculum, and lists from my district.  Currently, I use a combination of all of these lists when I teach sight words in my classroom.  I explicitly teach about 60 sight words throughout the year, and have extra lists and sets for students after they have mastered what I teach.

To stay organized with my sight word instruction, I created a filing system that is organized by word as opposed to activity.  This helps me greatly because I can easily find an activity for each word when I introduce them.  I keep the words in alphabetical order for easy access.  Of course I had to use neon hanging folders; I found some great ones at Office Depot.

Three of the resources I keep in my sight word bin are my Sight Word Practice Pages, my Sight Word Bracelets, and my Sight Word Mini Books.  I use all of these activities on consecutive days, and may not use all three given the difficulty of the word.  These resources all have different purposes.  The Sight Word Practice Pages are great when first introducing the word.  They have students practice reading, spelling, tracing, and writing the word all on one page.  I also added a sight word bracelet at the bottom of the page as an option.  The Sight Word Bracelets are for going on sight word hunts in the classroom and at home.  Students trace and rainbow write the words, then wear them on their wrist for easy access and practice.  Finally, the Sight Word Mini books are intended to reinforce writing the words.

Happy reading!  :)

DIY Letter Wands

My students always LOVE using pointers in the classroom.  We use them for concepts of print practice (pointing to different parts of the books/words/letters), to track words when reading in big books (these pointers are too big to point to words in regular-sized books), to go on letter and sight word hunts around our classroom, to point to letters and words in pocket charts, and to use on our SmartBoard.  I also like to call them wands--I just find that word more fun--and my students agree!

I decided to make letter wands to use when teaching letter recognition, letter sounds, and beginning sounds.  Because I want to use these for letter sounds, I'm using lowercase letters (when I have time, I'll probably end up making uppercase wands as well, and only use them for letter recognition).  The best part of this project is that the final product only cost $16 total!

To begin, I needed wooden letters.  My search began with looking for small(ish) wooden letter blocks that I would end up spray painting in neon colors.  I quickly realized this would be quite expensive and time-consuming, so I rerouted my search to wooden letter puzzles.  I happened upon these amazing wooden letter puzzles from Amazon (duh!) for $11.99 (no tax + free shipping).  They are the perfect size for kindergarten pointers and they are already painted!
For the "wand" part, I bought 30 wood dowels (1/4" diameter 12" long) from Joann's for $1.49 a pack.  I can't find them online, so here is a picture of what I purchased:
Attaching the wood dowels to the wood letters was easy!  I simply drilled a small hole (with a 1/4" drill bit) into the bottom of each letter, added a dot of wood glue, inserted the dowel, and allowed them to dry for a few hours.  That's it!  I definitely recommend using a drill bit that is exactly 1/4" wide; there is really no room for error.  Too small and the dowel won't fit, too large and the dowel will fall out.  The

I'm so excited to have these letter wands ready for the first day of kindergarten.  I have 24 students this year, so having 26 letter wands will allow for each friend to have their own wand (and a couple extra for Miss Morgan).  For the Letter Wands label, click here (I also included a "Letter Pointers" version).  The jar I put them in is from Target, and can be found here.  Enjoy!  :)