Are you looking for a method to Improve sight Word Fluency while using differentiated sight word lists?
I know what is holding you back…it’s work. I won’t lie and say that it was easy coming up with this system. It took me a few years. So, to save you the trouble, I have compiled all of the resources I have created to help my students grow as readers and build their sight word fluency all in one resource….
…with an adorable theme:
As you know, the Fry/Dolch sight word lists are composed of words that are frequently seen in emergent reader texts. They often do no follow the standard spelling rules of the English language. Knowing these words by sight will improve reading fluency.
Keep in mind, the word lists do contain high frequency words that contain “word chunks” that are decodable. Each meeting with a child is a personalized/differentiated mini lesson of the “word chunks” and spelling rules you cover in class. It also is an opportunity to introduce spelling rules you have yet to cover in class. It gives them a preview and a front-loading of the difficult words they will encounter in their reading. For example, /-tion/.
Preparation & Organization
- Depending on your school district’s preference, decide upon using the Dolch or the Fry Sight Word List. Once you decide, Print a set for each student in your class.
- Purchase a binder (binder cover included in this product) and sticky note tab dividers. I find it easier to label each tab by number so I can use the tabs year after year.
- Use the Data Tracking Sheet as a cover sheet for your binder (included in this resource) to record student names, numbers, and progress throughout the year. The data sheet is editable, so if you do not record grades by trimester, you can edit the fields by quarter. I record the total number of words they know by the end of each grading period.
- Before each grading period, guide the students to set a goal for how many sight words they need/want to learn. Be sure to record this on the data tracking sheet included. If they meet their goal by the end of the grading term; celebrate using the awards included in this product. The awards are either in black and white or in color depending on your preference.
Getting Started: Initial Assessment
Have your students read through the word list (Fry or Dolch). Highlight each word they cannot read “at sight”. Once you identify FIVE words they cannot QUICKLY read by sight, stop. Take note, if they must take the time to sound them out, they are not “sight words”. The words they do not know readily are the words that are added to their “Cookie Ring”. I always start at 5 words to begin with. Later in the year, I increase their number of sight words to learn each week.
- Invite your student to meet with the teacher.
- Starting with their “Cookie Ring”, quiz them. For each word they read correctly, highlight that word and reward them with a cookie (Cookie Crisp cereal). The words that are read correctly get moved to their “Brain Chain” because they are now in their brain. If there are words they do not know, they stay on their “Cookie Ring” until they know them by sight.
- Remind the students that they must review their “Brain Chain” once weekly to retain them in their brain. Hence the term “Brain Chain”.
- Now it is time to assign new words for the week. Return to their personalized word list in your binder. Have them read words from where they left off the last time you met. You will know where they left off the week before because you use a different colored highlighter each week.
- If your student only knew 4 of the sight words you assessed, you only assign 4 new sight words.
- Send them off to learn their new words for the week until you meet again the following week.
Side note: For struggling readers, I find it helpful to use the sight word list from the anthology, before referring to the Fry/Dolch word lists. I quiz the children on the words that are going to appear in the next week’s anthology story first. Especially since those words are going to appear in the leveled readers and anchor text. Front-load! My lower readers need this boost. Then I refer to the Fry/Dolch sight word lists.
Each scheduled meeting with a child will take about 3-4 minutes (but I must warn you, until you get into the routine, it may take 6-7 minutes per child). I schedule this time to occur as a 5th center rotation during our Daily 5. I have also conducted these individualized meetings during Reader’s Workshop or even during indoor recess. They don’t mind, because they love their “smart cookies”.
Use the Schedule rotation I included in the parent letter. I have found it useful to reserve Fridays as a “Make Up” day for those children who forget to bring their sight word rings to school on their assigned day. The kids will be confused at first thinking they will be putting on makeup. Adorbs! Use the half sheet parent communicators (included) to let parents know their child did not bring their sight word rings to school on their scheduled day and will be tested on Friday.
Take a closer look of this sight word fluency system in action: