Sight words, sight words, sight words! A term we can safely say everyone has heard of! It doesn’t matter if you are an educator or a parent, you are probably familiar with what a sight word is, and I’m sure you’ve practiced them many times too! Sight word practice is an important building block for beginning readers, so the more they have practice reading them in context, the better they’ll become at reading them in books!
Importance of Learning Sight Words
Sight word practice is a building block of learning to read. Sight words help to promote reading comprehension and fluency, and allow our young readers to feel like they are reading. As students learn to read and recognize sight words they start to see them everywhere! And when this happens their confidence as readers sky rockets!
Some sight words do not follow normal phonetic patterns, but we can help teach our students to remember the *tricky* part of the word. We usually introduce the word in isolation, decode the parts that we can, and remind ourselves the part that we need to remember. As the year goes on, we add more and more sight words to our sight word bank and begin to build up our reading skills. This helps to equip our students with the necessary skills to learn to read. As students add more and more sight words to their memory, they are able to focus their efforts on comprehending the text they are reading.
Sight Word Practice With Sentences
While learning sight words starts with the word in isolation, we do not stop there. It is so important for our students to see sight words in sentences and other texts. One of my favorite ways to do this is with simple sentences that use sight words *along side* CVC words. Not only do students get opportunities to practice sight words within a sentence, but they also get to work on the important blending skill which is foundational to their overall reading skills.
Don’t Forget Writing
Have you ever thought about the fact that reading and writing are opposite activities just like addition and subtraction. With opposite activities working on one helps to strengthen the other. That’s why it is important to give students opportunities to work on writing and spelling sight words, too.
As students learn to recognize these words by sight, they can use this visual memory to help with their spelling. One technique that I teach my students in spelling is to ask themselves “do all the sounds match?” when they are unsure of the proper spelling. This is where the reading helps the spelling.
The more students write the word, the deeper they are able to connect that word in their long term memory. Those repetitions lead students to not only spell the word but also be able to recognize the spelling pattern when they are reading.
Practice with Centers
Center time is one the places that my students have a ton of practice with reading and writing sight words. While the beginning of the year starts with single words, we quickly move into simple sentences.
My students love these simple sentence center activities and so do I. While my students think it’s fun to read and write these sentences, I know they are doing so much more! Here’s just some of the skills the students work on with this center activity:
- reading sight words
- blending sounds to read CVC words
- letter formation and writing
- spelling sight words
- segmenting sounds to spell CVC words
- reading fluency
- proper sentence structure
I don’t know about you but with so many skills to teach in a year, activities that work on so many skills are like gold!
Setting Up the Center
To set up this center, I begin by printing and laminating the sentence strips. I like to punch a hole in the corner and put them on a ring so that they all stay together. It makes it super easy for the students to grab what they need and put them away when they are done. There are 12 sentence for each short vowel sound. When we focus on a specific short vowel sound, I will use the sentences to review those words. But as we learn more short vowel words, I love to mix them all up so that students get practice for all the short vowel sounds.
When I first introduce this as a new center in our classroom we practice together. This gives me the opportunity to model what the activity should look like. By teaching them the procedure I want them to use, I can make sure that they are getting all the skills practice possible out of these simple sentences.
Here’s the procedure I teach my students:
- Read the sentence out loud and point at each word while reading.
- Use a dry erase marker to write the sentence.
- Use magnetic letters to spell the sight words and CVC words.
By following this procedure I’m making sure that this activity is meeting my visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners! While this works for me, you can easily modify the procedures for your classroom and the skills you are working on.
Sight Word Sentence Reading + Writing Strips
If you’re looking to add some more fun and engaging sight word center into your classroom, you can find my Sight Word Centers and Activities in my shop. They are all easy to prep and use because I know how crazy busy #teacherlife can be.
Need Even More Sight Word Practice?
Sight words are a big deal! That’s why I’ve pulled together all of my sight word practice activities into one Sight Words Mega Bundle! With the activities in this bundle you can fill your lesson plans all.year.long with fun and engaging sight word practice activities your students will love.
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