Sight Word Assessments Can Be Fun!?

08 August 2016 / 1 comment
Getting ready for the new school year has taken over my life! Every year I think about how it should be getting easier to set up my classroom and get ready to start a new year!  Nope!  It just never seems to be “easy”!  I always want to “tweak” something a little bit or try something just a little differently!  I guess I want to keep it fresh for me and for the new bunch of sweeties coming to my classroom!  

One thing that has NOT changed is my beginning of the year sight word assessments and overall sight word program!  These assessments drive my sight word program for the year. 

Assessing six year olds at the beginning of the year breaks my heart! Honestly, all I want to do is get to know each other and have fun while we kick off our year together!  I have a word wall in the classroom that is empty except for the most important words my kiddos need to know right away...NAMES!  These will be some of the first words we work with during our first days and weeks together.  

However, we all know the reality is we have to assess our students!  In order to keep it simple, fun and useful, I created a year long sight word system, including assessments, that works for me. Now I don't know about you, but I know that I won’t follow through with anything that is too overwhelming, so this is not!  

I try to present it to students like a game.  I show students my box of color coded sight word cards and tell them, "I just need to see where you are going to start, so just read the words you know."   It seems a little less intimidating, I think.  They read the words they can and then I simply hand them a card to keep in their book box.  They don't need to know that I recorded their mistakes and kept a record!  Eventually they may know this, but to get started I keep it low key!  Once I know a child's level, it is super easy to give them appropriate practice tools in the form of GAMES!

This system allows students to work on the words that they need to, while reviewing all words throughout the year! I’ve been using this system for years and I love how easy it is to keep track of my students' progress and provide levelized practice!  

Once I know a little more about my students, I'm ready to differentiate and get my students involved in play!  That's right, we play hard and learn lots!   Here are some samples of the fun we have while we practice our high frequency words!

We build our words with letter tiles!

We search for sight words in text.  We work with poetry, books, big books, posters, you name it!

We play card games like Go Fish, Uno, and Memory! The game above is practicing silent e words.

My grade level team uses the Dolch list.  We divided the first 200 words into 10 lists of 20.  Each week we focus instruction and word work around 5 of words.  Each week we assess students on those 5 words.  However, this system also allows us to individualize instruction.  After assessing students at the beginning of the year, we assign students to the appropriate list.  Individual assessments are given each week on Friday.   

I like to fit in sight word practice and review any chance I get!  Morning meetings, transitions, sponge activities, "I have, who has?", you name it!  

Singing sight words is one of my favorite ways to practice throughout the day!  Long ago, I attend the Northern California Kindergarten conference and learned this little trick for singing any sight word using familiar tunes!  I've used it ever since!  Feel free to download this "cheat sheet" and use it in your class!

If this sounds like something that could help you in your classroom, take a look! This is it!  Everything you will need to run your own classroom sight word program!  Word cards, word mats, weekly assessments, progress monitoring assessment sheet, and word work practice games!

Weekly assessment sheets for all words!

I print each list on a specific color and laminate.  These word mats are perfect for small group games and independent or partner practice. 

This is always a favorite game in my class!  I created enough word mats to include all of the first 200 Dolch words!

I hope this offered some ideas for you in your own classroom!  Here's to a great new year!!

1 comment:

  1. What a great blog post. Thanks for sharing how you use your great products in your classroom. It was great to see the products in action too.


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