Hi again! It's Jennie from JD's Rockin' Readers. First off, I'm glad to be here again and I have some exciting news- I have been teaching First GradeTitle Reading and Math for the past 9 years and I am now going to be going back into the regular classroom teaching First Grade. I'm pretty excited and nervous all wrapped into one! I will be teaming with a great First Grade teacher who will be my "neighbor". We have a wall between our rooms that opens and we plan on doing a lot of our Literacy Centers and Guided Reading together. I will definitely be blogging about it in the future on my blog so you may want to stop by:)
Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about Sight Words. It's hard sometimes to know which sight words to teach, how many to teach, and how much emphasis should be put on sight words in comparison to learning how to decode words using phonics. I am going to share with you today my own personal views on sight words. Many people have different perspectives and this is just one- I am in no way saying that I am right- I will just share what has worked for me in the past:)
I have used both Dolch and Fry words in the past, but I have used Lucy Calkins list from The Teachers College of Reading and Writing Project for the past four years and feel that it is more appropriate for beginning readers. Here is a link to the complete list (which is actually an assessment) that I use.
I personally feel that sight words a very important concept for beginning readers to learn. They need to have a good core of words that they can read instantly without having to use any other strategies. Many of the most common words in text cannot be "sounded out" anyway and need to be learned. Most students will learn these words quickly and easily but some will not. Those students that have difficulty with learning them need to have specific practice that allows them to learn what the words look like. As I said, I have been working with struggling readers for the past 9 years and sight words have become an important "anchor" in my teaching. If they can learn many words quickly it will in the end help with their overall reading fluency and comprehension. With that said, there needs to be a good balance between sight words and phonetically correct spelling of words (ex. word families -at, -an, -it etc.) I really don't like all of the phonics readers that are SO phonetic. I feel they are very difficult to read because usually the story line is pretty bad because the author has tried to tie in a bunch of the same phonics pattern. Books that have a good balance of sight words and words that can be "sounded out" are my favorite:)
I wrote a blog post last year about some more specifics of why I like the Lucy Calkins list better than Dolch or Fry (even though MANY words are the same). I don't want to repeat myself on here so if you want to check it out- here is the LINK.
Since we are talking about sight words, I have a sight word FREEBIE for you today. This is one of my sight word readers. I specifically made this book so that it isn't a patterned text. I think patterned text is very important for beginning readers but I also think it is equally important for students to learn how to self-monitor their reading right from the start. Knowing some sight words and having them in the text in various ways is a great way to do this!
Thanks for stopping by! I would love to see you hop over to my blog for some fun and freebies too! I have a summer linky party that started last week that you may be interested in. I will posting ideas and gathering ideas from other teachers about some topics such as center time, classroom management, assessments and many more!