Last week I wrote about some beginner phonic activities that I have been playing with our 5 year old. As I mentioned there, the school that Possum attends uses a combination of phonic and whole of language approach to approach to literacy. (If you are not familiar with these terms Succeed To Read gives a succinct explanation of both.)
A key part of the whole of language approach is the use of sight words a list of the most frequently used words in the English language. This is not a new concept and similar lists are known as Dolch Word List. K – 3 Teacher Resources has two PDFs for free down load:
- Fry’s list of 300 ‘instant sight words’
- Dolch Sight Word List – 220 words – there are 5 levels ranging from approximately kindergarten to Grade 3.
The idea is that children learn these words by sight which helps them to maintain speed and fluency, so as to have greater comprehension of what they read.
Learning Sight Words
I have never been a massive fan of rote learning and with these style of sheets it is very easy for the kids to memorise the words as they are located on the sheets. The problem then being that they have no relevance beyond that A4 piece of paper.
To make this exercise more meaningful I have stuck the words onto cardboard and cut out individual cards for each word. I actually made these up a number of these for each colour word sheet when my 10 year old needed to learn them. They are now being used by our third child – hope they make through the next two as well 🙂 .
We use these cards in a variety of ways to help Possum learn the words by sight:
- Bingo – Select a word from the bag, say it and then match it up to the sheet, until all the words are covered.
- Memory – Have two of each word, turn them face down on the floor and each player has to find a matching pair of words.
- Writing Practice – Select a card, say it and write her own list.
- Sentences – As illustrated above, use the word cards, combined with toys and household objects to make sentences to read.
If you have used these types of word lists before, I would be interested to hear what activities you also did with your children.
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