Teaching Sight Words in Kindergarten

7/29/2016 / Leave a Comment
Our Kindergarten students are required to learn 50 sight words. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted to incorporate them in my routine. I knew I wanted a sight word of the day. However, my first year I went overboard!

Rather than focusing on ensuring they knew the 50 words well, I did a new word practically every day. This was alright for the 20% that came in with a solid literacy foundation, but not beneficial to my students were starting from the bottom.

When I reflected on the overall scores of my class at the end of my first year, I knew I would need to change things up a bit.
This year, I decided to still call it the Sight Word of the Day. However we would be spending 2-3 days on each word, depending on its difficulty.

Each poster has the word, a sentence using the sight word and picture cues to help early readers decode.
I display the already taught words above the windows in my room. So each day, after we practiced our new word, we would go back and reread the old ones. I made sure to mix up the order to see how well they really knew them.
To keep their families informed of where we were at, I would include the newest sight words we learned in our newsletter each month. My student parents told me that it was very helpful!
             
By January, more than 65% of my class mastered the words that we had learned in this new format. But, a problem was arising! We had so many words displayed that it was taking too long to walk across the room and review them every morning.
Anyone who has taught Kindergarten knows that the further you walk away, the more their attention can wander!
       
I decided to try using a PowerPoint slideshow instead. I made 2 different versions to work with. Every morning after we learned the sight word of the day, I would play a slideshow. The class would be gathered at the rug, and I would sit at the table behind them, just to ensure that they were all looking in the right direction! ;)

By the end of this year, more than 85% of students had mastered all 50 of these words. I am very happy with how sight words went this year and this is definitely a strategy I will use again next year!
We actually ended up running out of space above the windows, so we started hanging them above our bulletin boards too.
These posters help a lot during reading and writing, my students refer to the often when they are working on writing these words. The picture cues are a great way to encourage even your most reluctant reader to take risks when they are reading them!
If you are interested in any of these resources, click the links below!

How do you introduce sight words in your classroom? Let me know in the comments!

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