Spelling and Sight Words Ideas

Math Connection ~ An activity we do sometimes is to write each spelling word in grid paper, color the spaces lightly and figure the area and perimeter of each word. Helps you see the shape of the word and practices area and perimeter, too.
~ From Sandy Simonis - Diamond Lake School
Individualized Spelling ~ Have students keep a 3 x 5 card in their writing portfolio to which words can be added for individualized spelling lists. The words can be high-frequency words that are especially tricky for individual students, or words taken from their own writing. Another way to individualize spelling in a more manageable way is to target specific word parts and have students brainstorm words that use those combinations of letters or sounds, then choose their own words from these lists. Use individualized lists as supplements or by themselves. Have students give each other spelling tests from the individualized lists. ~ Renee Goularte
Sight Word Flashcards ~  I have a set of sight word flashcards that I made. On one side is the sight word and on the other side is a short sentence using the sight word. If a child is having difficulty naming the word, I always turn the flashcard over and show the child the sentence with the sight word in it. Most kids can usually identify the word when it is used in a sentence. Context...Context...Context... I note on the child's list of sight words if they could identify the word within context. I only use this list at the beginning of the year with my beginner readers just to get an idea where they are in the reading process. ~ from Mary Bencini

Sight Words Flash Cards in Disguise ~ I have been doing lots of reflection on how to increase reading rate, and we are just getting started as a district in taking this on. When it comes to automaticity, I think it is a bit like math facts. Whether it is truly fact recall or speedy derivation, it does not matter as long as it is efficient. We are really putting an emphasis on word study in our lower grades--not the learning of words, but the learning of spelling patterns. I still believe that is more important than memorizing lists. That said, there has to be a bank of commonly known words for a child to use to anchor reading and that bank has to grow.

One flashcard game that I sent home with primary kids was simple beyond belief and although I laughingly called it 'flashcards in disguise', the kids did not tire of it. Imagine a 9x12 inch sheet of construction paper divided into six equal spaces (2x3 grid), each space labeled with a number from one to six. In a baggie, what are truly flashcards--called game cards-- which were the sight words under study (in duplication, so each word appeared more than once). Cards are shuffled and distributed face down to the six spaces. A die is tossed and a card is drawn from the corresponding stack. If you read it, you keep it. If others read it, fine and dandy, but it goes back in the stack. Winner has the most cards. Can be extended with word sorts. ~ Lori Jackson

High Frequency Word Reference Cards ~  I have used a "high frequency" word list (from Rebecca Sitton) to create "reference cards" that are on the tables in the classroom. I used some of her "first 100 words" and added some words that, in my experience, are commonly used and misspelled (girl, bird, people). I use a word processor to type the words in three columns, with a fairly large font and with spaces in between, so that half of them will fit on approximately a half sheet of paper. The top half has the most-used ones (said, the, of, and, they, etc.) and the bottom half has slightly harder ones (another, people, use, used, using, where, etc). I cut the lists in half, then mount the top half on red poster board, and the bottom half on blue poster board. I trim the lists so that there is colored border all around. Then I glue the backs of the red and blue together, so that you can flip the chart over to get the "easy" list or the "harder" list. Then I had them laminated. I several of these cards sitting on the classroom tables. Students use them all the time to help them spell those words that are "troublesome." ~ Renee Goularte

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