Like most elementary teachers I am familiar with sight words. I am also familiar with the frustration of teaching them to a student who struggles with memorization. It can be hard to make memorization fun. Today, I want to share some ideas to help. Please get a drink and get comfy. This is a long post.
The two main lists of sight words are the Dolch List and the Fry List. My school uses the Dolch List. If a child has mastered all of the Dolch words, I go to the Fry list next. The Dolch list needs to be memorized by third grade, but if a student is able to progress faster they should. This post will focus on the Dolch list.
Mrs. Perkins has a great set of resource which includes flashcards and word lists for assessment. The Dolch Kit is another website that contains resources on the Dolch Words.
I like to assess my students on the Dolch Words early on during the year and frequently after that. One method I have used to keep up with my students' knoweldge of Dolch Words is to create an Excel spreadsheet. I list the students at the bottom on the x-axis and the words on the y-axis. I make one spread sheet for each level of Dolch Words. As a student masters the word I type the date where their name and the word intersect and highlight the cell. Then, I look at my students and create an indivudual list of 5-10 words to work on. I can also tell at a glance what words should be included in my whole group instructional time.
Spelling City, flash cards, spelling hopscotch, etc.
The most important thing to remember is that students need direct instruction and repetion to learn these words. Find a way that works for your students and include them in your day. I would LOVE to hear how you make sight word instruction fun. Please leave a comment with your ideas.