Friday, June 8, 2012

Sight Word Instruction in the Intermediate Grades

Confession.  For the longest time, when I thought about sight words, my mind immediately went started thinking about the Fry words and Dolch words.  By third grade, the vast majority of kiddos came to me knowing most, if not all, of the words.  So, I'd do my quick sight word assessments, check it off my list, and go about my business.  I'd continue sight word instruction for a FEW of my students, but I am seriously cringing as I reflect on this!  I was totally robbing my students of the opportunity to go beyond those first 300 words I checked off of a list.  Please forgive me, friends.  It's a tough pill to swallow.

Fortunately, I have had a fabulous professor for several courses, and she has repeatedly brought up the list of 1,200 high frequency words by Rebecca Sitton.  Now, listen.  I don't use Sitton Spelling, but this list doesn't have to be paired up with the program.  It is a comprehensive list of words that show up frequently in writing, and it goes way beyond the basic words that I used to check off absentmindedly.  I also bring this up, because I don't subscribe to the thought that kids in 3rd grades only need to know an X amount of words on a certain list.  I don't mean to sound like a renegade, because I am sure there's sound research behind the suggestions, but I also know that my kids aren't carbon copies of one another.  They don't show up at my door at the same "place" with the same abilities, and they don't progress down a conveyor belt at the same rate.  I always have kids who need a review of words from 1st or 2nd grade lists... and I always have kids reading more sophisticated texts like "The Lord of the Rings" {no exaggeration} who need way more than the 3rd grade list provides.  So, for that reason, I sat down this week and started creating a set of flashcards that I can put into my Word Work center or use for a game of Sight Word Vocabulary Star!  I plan on laminating each color-coded set, putting them on a ring, and putting them in the Word Work center for kiddos to read and work with partners.  I may assign certain kiddos to certain kiddos, but mostly, I want them to be exposed to words that they will encounter time after time in their reading experiences.  I tend to think a little more holistically.  I don't like "boxes".  I also like having all of the options available so that I can pull resources and differentiate on the spot.  I want to have a wide range of words available to stretch ALL of my students, so I guess that's how this project got started at its inception.

I've created flashcards for the first 600 high frequency words.  I plan on making cards for the second half, but this project has been time-consuming, so I will have to add that to my list next week.  :)  I broke the words up into groups of 100... again... because I am a non-conformist... and I just want my kiddos to learn words.  I don't care much about the technical "ranges" for my word work center or my game.  I just want them to have that exposure!  So, I've broken them into groups of 100, and I have color-coded them to help with grouping if you choose to assign kiddos to certain colors.  I created this for my own classroom, but if you think you could use something like this, I've added them to my TpT store.  The original file was nearly 150 pages long, so I've broken it into chunks too.  I didn't know how many people would want it bundled, so I didn't bundle it.  If you are interested in getting your hands on the bundle, just let me know, and I'll add that as an option!  If you have any questions, let me know!  If you're interested in checking out the 35 page files, you can check them out by clicking on each product below!  :)  Have a great weekend!



  1. Very helpful

  2. This looks fabulous! I will definitely be sharing with the 3rd gr teachers at my school!

  3. What a great idea. Students will benefit greatly from an activity like this!

  4. How is her list different from the Dolche or Fry list, I wonder? I know that the Fry list is a more updated one than the dolche list...
    I use the fry words in flashcards all the time...and even in 2nd grade, I still start at the bottom, you just never
    ♥ Jen
    The Teacher's Cauldron

  5. I would like to purchase the whole bundle when you are finished. Thank you so much for the great idea.

  6. Amanda, you have such great ideas & are so generous in your sharing with others.

    I've pinned you here:

    Thanks so much!

  7. I am also interested in the whole bundle. Also curious as to what your method of record keeping is for these. Would love to have you share that also.

  8. I'm your newest follower and brand new blogger! Come check out my blog!

    Teaching Maddeness

  9. Hi Amanda,
    I am also interested in purchasing the whole bundle if it becomes available.
    Thanks so much!!!

  10. Third graders? How about the three first graders I have this year who have already assessed out of the first 600!