Is the Sight Word Mastery Method already simplifying your reading instruction? This is a resource that will guarantee that your students will master their sight words and that brings a lot of peace of mind! What’s incredible is that this is a method that I have created and simplified so that any teacher will know that no time spent teaching sight words will ever be wasted!
A Quick Recap of Steps 1 & 2
In Step 1, you need to pinpoint which words you will teach using either the Fry or the Dolch sight word list. You will also need to determine which words you will expect students to master by the end of the year. There is a big distinction between introducing and mastering when it comes to these words. Our focus is always mastery.
In Step 2, you need to make a plan. Using a calendar to map out your year, you will plug in which words you will introduce each week. Then you will go back and build in time for students to review words as they have the chance to read them in text.
Diving into Step 3: Teach!
Once these steps are completed, you are ready to tackle Step 3, which is teach! You need to begin teaching sight words when students can read CVC words within 3 seconds.
If this step is done before students are confident with letter names and letter sounds, the process of reading can become very confusing. Students don’t need to be fluent, but they need to have the basic understanding that sounds should be blended to form words.
It is also critical to provide direct, explicit instruction. This means that you have decided which words kids need to know. You have also systematically laid out when you are going to introduce those words. Now you are going to provide direct, explicit instruction.
You will say to the students, “Boys and girls, today we are learning a new word: was. What’s the word? Let’s spell was: w-a-s. What’s the word?”.
This is very different from writing the word on the board and asking “Who can tell me what this word is?” This is not an effective way to teach sight words. When we do this, some students may know the word, but other students are going to guess the word.
Other students who have never encountered the word before may also become confused between correct and incorrect input. We never want to create confusion for students in this way. Instead, we are showing them the word, telling them what it is, and practicing spelling it.
Forget the Drill and Kill When Teaching Sight Words
It’s also very important to make sure you are teaching sight words in conjunction with phonics instruction-not in isolation. We will pull out the irregular sight words for students so we can teach them explicitly. Then we can teach students to decode the regular sight words.
For example, students can learn the word “had” when you are teaching short a in phonics instruction.
To be clear, drill and kill is not an effective method for approaching sight word instruction.
Teaching Sight Words: Practice Makes Mastery
Lastly, when teaching sight words, make sure you are providing ample opportunity for kids to practice their sight words in context. There are so many effective ways for students to practice their sight words that include things like air writing, coloring the sight word, or writing the word in sand.
More importantly, students need the opportunity to practice reading their sight words in decodable books that contain words they have already mastered. These types of books will be limited to text that contains words and phonics patterns that have already been taught.
Are you ready to put these elements in play in your classroom? I can’t wait to hear about your results! The next step of the Sight Word Mastery Method is so critical! Don’t miss step #4!
And if you haven’t already, make sure to grab you FREE Sight Word Intervention Quick Start Guide!