Sight words, often also called high frequency words, are commonly used words that young children are encouraged to memorize as a whole by sight, so that they can automatically recognize these words in print without having to use any strategies to decode. Sight words account for a large percentage (up to 75%) of the words used in beginning children's print materials. The advantage for children being able to recognize sight words automatically is that a beginning reader will be able to identify the majority of words in a beginning text before they even attempt to read it; therefore allowing the child to concentrate on meaning as they read without having to stop and decode (sound out) every single word. Recognizing sight words automatically is advantageous for beginning readers because many of these words have unusual spelling patterns, cannot be sounded out using basic phonics knowledge and cannot be represented using pictures.
At the beginning of every month Team Awesome is introduced to anywhere between 6 and 10 new sight words and we practice them every day for that month before putting them up on our Word Wall and getting new ones. That means the children have been directly exposed to the words at least 20 times in the month but often more than that as we use them in our writing and point them out when reading. Sometimes the words are theme related, like 'love' in February, or sometimes a word is chosen because a child has been using and/or spelling it incorrectly in their own writing repeatedly but more often sight words are chosen because they are the most frequently used words in beginning texts and it is important that Team Awesome is familiar with them.
If you would like to practice these words at home, please do so but keep in mind that it should be kept fun and light and not drill and kill as we want to keep the children interested. There are many sight word games to be found and printed off the internet, many of which allow you to insert your own words, or sites such as starfall.com have online games. These are perfect for practice as Team Awesome loves games.
Well, we made it to March Break and some of us were just holding on by our fingernails (some of you might be experiencing similar feelings by April 2). My husband and I are off to visit our oldest son in Victoria for a few days as we hardly see him enough, before also visiting my in-laws. I am going to try and get everything posted before we leave early tomorrow morning (shouldn't the first day of a holiday be a 'sleep in' day??) but if that doesn't happen I know it will all be waiting for me when I get back. So if The Week In Photos etc. doesn't make it onto the blog today or tomorrow, know it will be in a week or so. Enjoy the next two weeks with Team Awesome!
Well, that sneaky little leprechaun foiled us again despite our cleverly hidden(?) traps. And not only that, but he also felt the need to have a campfire, complete with marshmallows, play with the farm and toy animals, leave a potato in our traps and green and gold clovers all over our room. If I didn't know better I would say our resident compact green guy invited his friends and they had a big party and forgot to clean up afterwards. We were excited to find he left us a nifty poem stating that he won't be returning (Boo!) and part of his pot of gold (Yay!). Team Awesome was glad he came to visit us but sad to learn he won't be sticking around. We talked about building traps at home in the hopes that we might catch a leprechaun there. If you do happen to catch one, don't forget they disappear in the blink of an eye- and please don't give him directions to our classroom. One leprechaun party a year is quite enough.
I have taught many grades, including high school, but LOVE teaching primary.