Thursday, August 28, 2014

Setting up a Sight Word Station

Last year I had a lot of success with sight words in boosting students from non-readers to beginning readers.  This might seem really basic, but I had third graders coming in who didn't even know all their pre-primer and primer words. Decoding words was a long and difficult process for them, so in the meantime we really hammered those sight words.  I love sight words because all of my students can experience a sense of accomplishment with them.  My process developed throughout the year, and changed even more as I researched over the summer.  My approach this year is a mix of what I did last year, aspects of Word Work from the Daily 5, and this blog post from Teaching Special Thinkers. 

This post contains affiliate links.



First, I assess every student on what Dolch words they already know.  For students who are really struggling, I stop assessing after the primer list-- we have enough to work on by that time! I write the first ten words they missed on index cards, color coded in Orton-Gillingham style (as per this blog post-- I'm not O-G trained, though I wish I was!), and put them on rings.  The rings go on the side of a bookshelf that holds our sight word building materials.  Sight Word Work is a choice for my students when they're not directly working with me (I follow a structure similar to Daily 5, but heavily modified to suit my students as well as teaching in a resource setting), and they can choose to practice their words in any way they want (well, within the choices offered). Here are their options:



Magnetic Letters: Students can make each card on their ring with magnetic letters on a magnetic easel.



Chalkboard: Students write their words with chalk on the child-sized chalkboard ($15 from IKEA!)



Gel Boards: I got these special gel boards through a Donors Choose project, and they're great when you can supervise, but kids can't seem to resist just drawing on them when left alone!



Dry Erase Boards: Students bring down the whole tub and choose a board and a marker to write with. 


Stamps: It took me a while to find a storage solution for these stamps! Kids would spend so much time sorting through the stamps looking for the right letters that they would only get a word or two done during a station rotation.  I bought this 24-section container and labeled the bottom of each section with the given letter.  This way just putting the stamps back helps increase letter recognition! For those of you keeping count, x and z were banished to their own plastic bag so kids wouldn't try to squeeze two stamps per section. 



Every time I work with a student one-on-one, I run through their cards.  When they get a word correct, I add a tally to the back of the card.  I add a dot if they get it incorrect.  When they get five tallies, the card will move off the ring to their learned word box.  Then I put on another word they missed during the initial assessment, always keeping the number of cards on the ring at 10.  Last year everyone just had 5 words per week (though still words specifically for that student) and after practicing all week, I quizzed them on Friday.  If they missed any, those words would roll over to the next week.  I like my new system better because a student has to get the word right 5 times before it gets taken off the ring, but he still gets validation every time he gets a tally mark.  

After students complete any of the sight word lists, they earn a Sight Word Star Brag Tag, which really motivates them to learn their words. You can read more about how I use brag tags in my resource room here.

No comments:

Post a Comment