This school year I had a fifth grade student who had sight word recognition as one of her goals. Specifically she was to identify fourth grade sight words.
So where did I find a list of sight words that she could use? I used this website. The website has the Fry list which is my favorite one to use when I’m teaching students sight words and the Dolch sight word list.
I first had her read the words from the 300-301 Fry sight word list which is approximately the third grade list. I started with the words she missed on that list and then worked towards the fourth grade list. By the end of her IEP year, she was on the fourth grade list and typically recalling the words with at least 90% accuracy.
So why did I begin with the third grade list? The young lady had just gotten on an IEP at the end of her fourth grade year. She was a struggling beginning reader when I got her. Her confidence with reading basic sight words was shaky. I needed to get her confidence up before we tackled words that were one grade level below her grade level.
Remember IEP’s are Individualized Educational Plans. The intervention that works for one student does not always work for other students. This intervention did work for her.
So how did we tackle the sight words during the school year?
After I finished assessing her with those third grade sight words, I made flash cards with the words she missed. I picked 10 of those words for us to focus on. At least three to four days a week, I would present her with those words. On the back of the card, I would put the date and then a plus sign if she got it correct, a minus sign if she got it incorrect, and or a minus sign circled if she self corrected. Words that were read correct were worth 1 point, self corrected words were worth 0.5 points, and incorrect words were worth 0 points.
Once she had gotten a word correct five times, we considered it retired. Every once in a while, we would go back and reread those words to see if she could still recall them.
The words were kept in a plastic index box that I had gotten at Walmart at the beginning of the school year. The bottom of the box held the retired words. The words we were going to be working on were in the middle of the box. I placed those words in a plastic sandwich bag. The words we were working on were on the top held together with a paperclip.
After she mastered her sight word goal, I allowed her to take all the words home with her.
Next time I’ll discuss a way to use the sight words so you can also address a writing goal.
Have a magical day,