Sight Words: A Key Benchmark for Kindergarten Curriculums
Last night, our school held a kindergarten curriculum information session. The session provided parents with great ideas for supporting reading at home. They provided us with the tools to both determine and improve a child’s reading level.
Pre readers (Level 1 – 3) These children are learning their sight words and enjoy reading books. If your child is a pre reader, they recommend performing the following activities at home:
- Read every day (a recurring theme in this post)
- Read with expressions and make it fun
- Practice sight words
The ability to instantly recognize sight words greatly assists a child in getting to the next reading level as well as reading comprehension. Our teachers recommended creating a wall word at home. Print the 25 sight words noted below and put it on a wall. Look for sight words in books and environmental print. In addition, a child needs to make a connection between sight words and sentences. Some children know all these words but do not recognize them when reading.
Personally, I have found a balanced approach that combines both obtaining a sight word vocabulary via wall word, fun games (hint: Erudition) and reading to your child every day for at least 20 minutes provides the desired results.
Beginner Readers (level 4-6) These children can read simple sentences and books that contain many sight words and picture support. They know all of the above 25 kindergarten sight words and possess the ability to apply some reading strategies.
If your child is a beginner reader, they recommend doing the following activities at home:
- Read every day
- Discuss elements of books -beginning, middle, ending, setting, characters, problem and solution
- Point out the endings to sight words – look, looks, looked
- Practice spelling and writing sight words
- Work with the sight words on List A & B noted below
List A going down not yes went with one for day little he they big got have where are from run of his out she will was List B her get after eat why away who home then night first saw did mother because father again has want what make came could do there
Readers (level 7-9) These children can read many of the words in a picture book independently. They possess the ability to apply strategies to figure out new words; they read fluently with expression.
If your child is a reader, they recommend doing the following activities at home:
- Implementing a “you read to me I read to you” strategy; a child reads one page and another person reads the other page. Some children tire easily; so alternating between pages is a great strategy. Mary Ann Hoberman and Michael Emberley wrote a series of excellent books that promote this concept.
- Reread books to practice fluency. A great book to reread is Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do you See? My daughter could recite this entire book without turning a page; it is filled with repetition and rhymes. Each sentence is eight words or less and incorporates many sight words (I, see, a, you, do, what).
- Model reading with fluency – read books to your child that is above his/her reading level
- Ask comprehension questions – ask the “wh” questions (who, what, where, when & why)
Fluent readers (level 10 & up) These children read independently with confidence. They possess the ability to reflect on what they read. In addition, they use text features to aid in comprehension.
If your child is a fluent reader, they recommend doing the following activities at home:
- Keep reading (they mentioned this several times)
- Be a good listener when your child is reading
- Allow them to make mistakes
They provided fabulous advice. They told us to listen to our children read and allow them to make mistakes so they can self correct. When reading with my children, I instinctively correct them when they misspeak rather than providing the opportunity to correct themselves. Allowing children to self correct ultimately creates a more positive reading environment. If you listen while they read and are not quick in pointing out their mistakes they may correct themselves as they read on – great advice!