Friday, August 26, 2016

Sight Words and Phonics: Both Have Their Place!

You have seen my posts that shower love all over the "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" DISTAR reading program for homeschooling reading needs.  Most of you know that we created supplementary reading worksheets that go along with this program and you probably even know about the link to the bundle in our store which bundles all these activities together.
 It's right here:

But today I want to talk to you about sight words.  Which...(ahem),...are not included in the "Teach Your Child to Read..." book at all.  So, I'm giving fair warning:  I'm going against the grain on this one because I think teaching sight words does offer tremendous value, and I will share why.

My son finished TYCTR roughly around lesson 75 or so.  He had the skills he needed by then to move into reading the books that are marked at levels and are generally referred to in the library system as "Easy Readers".  I prefer reading actual books because it allows kids to experience their skills first hand in books.  After about two weeks of reading an Easy Reader to me each day, my son stopped saying, "I can't really read yet" and began going through his bookshelves in order to find the day's book that he would read out loud.

But even with a stellar phonics program there are some words that phonics will not help us sound out.  And this is why we choose to do work with sight words.

There are some delightful games involving sight words that you can find online.  These kinds of games are excellent for introducing your youngster to the new words or for playing around with the words after they have been introduced to offer repetition.  Here are a few fun games:

Here's an online independent Bingo game with sight words:

Here's another online game called Sun Attack that features more than one set of words:

And Pinterest offers a wealth of ideas for helping your child to remember words:[]=sight%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=words%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=games%7Ctyped

But here's what we do: 

Each day, I give my son a sheet that is made up of either two or three of Fry's sight words.  These are the top 100 words that are most commonly used in our language.  Many of them are words that are not phonetic at all.

 We go over the words together.  I don't expect my son to know how to sound out "what" or "have" properly since those words don't follow our language rules well.  So I have explained to him that possibly, long ago, some of these words were able to be sounded out phonetically but language changes.  So we memorize many words so that we know at a glance what they are.  This will help our reading fluency. Then, my son goes through his word sheet.

First, he colors in the letters.  Next, he practices decoding the words.  After that he writes the words out, and then completes the cut and paste activity.  

It's a helpful way to go over new words with repetition in a way that isn't too painful (hopefully).  Lastly, we write each day's new words down in his word journal, and each day, after completing our Word Work, we read over every one of the words again.

Many of the Early Reader books that your child will find at his or her reading level are chock full of these very sight words.  So, just a little time spent each day on these words will find your child's reading fluency improving.

I love our phonics program and... our Word Work bundle.  You can purchase the first 25 words to try it out here:

Or purchase our Word Work Bundle, the first 100, for a dollar discount, right here:

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