It's TBT Time!

This is my first time participating in Throw Back Thursday - but I truly love the idea of pulling out some old gem from these amazing teacher blogs and giving them new life.  This is TBT link-up is sponsored by Primary Possibilities the first Thursday of every month.  Mark your calendars - because this will be one one link-up you won't want to miss each month.

This month I have decided to kick-off TBT with one of my most popular blog posts ever.  Here it is:

  Sensational Sight Words
Originally posted on January 16, 2013

If you've read much of my blog, you probably know that in my 5 year teaching career I have taught in 3 different grades/content areas.  I taught 1 year in middle school as a dyslexia intervention teacher, 3 years in 3rd grade and now I am in my first year of kindergarten.  Through the last 5 years I have seen the importance of sight words to a student's reading success.  I don't think it matters your grade, if you struggle with sight words your reading will be hindered. 
I have always loved a multi-sensory approach to learning and sight words are no exception.  A quick side note on multi-sensory learning: not every student learns in the same way.  There are those students that will never "get it" if it is only told to them.  There are those students who will instantly "get it" when its told to them.  The more sensory channels you can use to send information to your students' brains, the more likely they will retain the information. 
In my classroom we are working with sight words on a daily basis.  Some days we are spelling them and adding body motions as we spell (Auditory, Verbal and Kinesthetic Learning).  Some days we are building them out of play dough or word tiles (Visual and Kinesthetic Learning).  When I plan an activity I try make sure that at least 2 different learning styles are used.  We do sight word practice whole group, in our guided reading groups and as word work.  I am always looking for fun new ways to add sight word practice to word work.  Here's just a few of my favorites that I found on Pinterest!
Recycle letters from boxes to make a
Letter Basket for building words.

Use legos with sight words
to build towers.  Make it
a game and the tallest
tower wins!  Or put only
letters on the blocks
for some word
FREE scrabble tiles to print out and use
for building words or playing word
games.  Just click the picture for
your free scrabble tiles to print
and use in your classroom.
I also like my students to have some 1-on-1 time with their words.  This year I created this sheet that my students completely independently during word work.  We started by doing 2 together whole class so I could model my expectation.  Now they are pros and do it on their own.

What I love about this sheet is the many ways it gets my kids working with the word.  They start by touching the word, saying it and spelling it orally.  Then they trace the word and write it on the lines.  Next up the class favorite, Rainbow Writing.  There is something about using different colors that really helps those visual learners.  Then its time for a little word search and finally building the word.  I created this little freebie of 5 sight word pages for you to try in your classroom.  Just click the picture below to take you to them.

There's just one last resource I want to share with you that has been hugely successful this year.  I really wanted my students practicing their sight words everyday at home as well as at school.  In their reading bag, each student has a Sight Word Sticker Book.  Earning stickers has been a huge motivator for my kids and they love practicing their words!  This is a booklet on a ring that stays in their reading bag.  Every night the students read through their sight words at home.  About once a week the students see me or my parent volunteer to be "quizzed" on their sight words.  I quiz them on flash cards not the ring because I don't want rote memorization.  I also suggest to parents that they practice the words in random order too! 

When I quiz a student I give a count to 3 in my head for each word.  They either know it or they don't and since these are words they should know by sight I'm pretty tough when it comes to reading them fluently.  If they get it right, they add a sticker to their sticker book.  If they don't get it they keep working on it.  I LOVE how this helps me differentiate my sight word instruction for my students.  I add new pages to the ring as they are ready.  This helps my lower kids from getting overwhelmed and my higher kids keep moving right along at their pace.  Here's a sample of my Sight Word Sticker Book. 

I'd love to know how you teach sight words in your classroom.

THANKS for jumping back in time with me.  I can't wait to go and read all the other posts that are linked up to see what gems the teachers want to share.  Make sure to head over to Primary Possibilities and check-it out too!