No one ever said learning English was easy.
In fact, it is quite the opposite.
English is a language that has changed and evolved with every new language that is has encountered.
That means that there are rules to the English language that contradict each other. To the adult learning English, it is confusing enough.
To the younger learner, it is torture.
Over the years, many have tried to teach tips and tricks to overcome these hurdles.
I for one remember the old, "i before e, except after c," and a host of others that unfortunately had exception after exception.
The plain simple fact of it all is that there are no easy rules out there to help with mastery of basic rules and pronunciations of the English language.
Believe it or not, 50% of all reading texts are made up of the same 100 words! The most frequently used and repeated words in the English language are known as sight words. This list of words includes the, a, is, of, to, in, and, I, you, and that.
And there are scientific approaches to learning the language
Sight words are words, like come, does, or who, that dont follow the rules of spelling or the six syllable types. These words have to be memorized because decoding them is really difficult. Students are taught to memorize sight words as a whole, by sight, so that they can recognize them immediately (within three seconds) and read them without having to use decoding skills.
Put simply, sight words are words that we teach our young readers to know by heart. That way, they dont have to spend valuable time decoding them.
Oftentimes the terms sight words and high-frequency words are used interchangeably. Although many high-frequency words are also sight words, there is a difference.
Sight words are words that do not fit standard phonetic patterns and must be memorized. High-frequency words are words that are most commonly found in written language. Although some fit standard phonetic patterns, some do not.
When a reader masters sight words her memory automatically brings the sound and meaning of the word into the persons consciousness. The action is so unconscious that they dont even realize it is happening. In fact, researchers found that when they presented readers with illustrations of some sight words along with the written words, the readers could not avoid looking at the words. They used the written words rather than the illustrations to determine the meaning because their brains were trained to read these words.
Two of the most popular sources are the Dolch Sight Words list and the Fry Sight Words list.
During the 1930s and 1940s, Dr. Edward Dolch developed his word list, used for preK through third grade, by studying the most frequently occurring words in the childrens books of that era. The list has 200 service words and also 95 high-frequency nouns. The Dolch word list comprises 80 percent of the words you would find in a typical childrens book and 50 percent of the words found in writing for adults.
Dr. Edward Fry developed an expanded word list for grades 110 in the 1950s (updated in 1980), based on the most common words that appear in reading materials used in grades 39. The Fry Sight Words list contains the most common 1,000 words in the English language. The Fry words include 90 percent of the words found in a typical book, newspaper, or website.
|Dolch Sight Words||Fry Sight Words||Top 150 Sight Words||Strategies||Flash Cards|
Do not fret too much if your child takes a while to master thse words. This is a foundation that a child can build a lifetime of learning on.
Children will learn at different paces, and master some words with ease and stumble over others.
Teach for mastery, not speed. And above all, have fun.
The Dolch Sight Words list is the most commonly used set of sight words. Educator Dr. Edward William Dolch developed the list in the 1930s-40s by studying the most frequently occurring words in childrens books of that era. The list contains 220 service words plus 95 high-frequency nouns. These words comprise 80% of the words you would find in a typical childrens book and 50% of the words found in writing for adults. Once a child knows this list of words, it makes reading much easier, because the child can then focus his or her attention on the remaining words.
The Dolch words are commonly divided into groups by grade level, ranging from pre-kindergarten to third grade, with a separate list of nouns. There are a total of 315 Dolch Sight Words.
Bellow is the Dolch Sight Words broken up by grade with a printable PDF included for each level
Fry Sight Words
The Fry Sight Words list is a more modern list of words than the Dolch list, and was extended to capture the most common 1,000 words. Dr. Edward Fry developed this expanded list in the 1950s (and updated it in 1980), based on the most common words to appear in reading materials used in Grades 3-9. Learning all 1,000 words in the Fry list would equip a child to read about 90% of the words in a typical book, newspaper, or website.
The Fry words are listed by the frequency with which they occur and are often broken down into groups of 100. So the first 100 Fry words are the 100 most frequently occurring words in the English language.
150 Top Words
The Top 150 Written Words is the newest of the word lists, commonly used by native speakers of other languages who are learning to read English. They are the 150 words that occur most frequently in printed English, according to the Word Frequency Book.
This list is recommended by Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D., Professor of Learning Development at Yale University.
The words are listed in order of their frequency. For your convenience, they are divided into three groups of 50 words each.
Teaching Strategies for Sight Words
Now that you have the words, there is probably one question on your mind.
What do I do with these?
How do I teach them?
There are probably as many different teaching strategies out there as there are people. There will be strategies that you use that work for you, but I will share with you some of the strategies that have worked for me in the past.
One of the biggest problems that people have is what I call "beating a dead horse." You can overwork yourself and your child or student. By making the lesson too long
You run the risk of frustrating both the student and you. When that happens, no one is learning.
So try and keep the lesson to about thirty minutes. I would divide the lesson into a ten-minute session to reinforce old words from the previous lesson and introduce new words; and a twenty-minute application process for the new words in the form of activities and games.
When first beginning sight words, work on no more than three unfamiliar words at a time to make it manageable for your child. Introduce one word at a time, using the five teaching techniques.
Hold up the flash card for the first word, and go through what I call the "three finger punch", in order. Then introduce the second word, and go through all three teaching techniques, and so on.
The Three-Fingered Punch of Learning1. See and Say, the child is introduced to the new word (flash cards are great), and says the new word.
2. Spell and Say. the child spells the word, then says the word.
3. Write and Say. The child writes the word, then says the word again.
Begin each subsequent lesson by reviewing words from the previous lesson. Words often need to be covered a few times for the child to fully internalize them.
Remember: solid knowledge of a few words is better than weak knowledge of a lot of words!
Go through the See and Say exercise for each of the review words. If your child struggles to recognize a word, cover that word again in the main lesson, going through all five teaching techniques. If he has trouble with more than two of the review words, then set aside the new words you were planning to introduce and devote that days lesson to review.
Note: The child should have a good grasp of but does not need to have completely mastered a word before it gets replaced in your lesson plan. Use your game time to provide lots of repetition for these words until the child has thoroughly mastered them.
Learning sight words take lots of repetition. Games are the perfect platform for that
Spell Quiz has the perfect online games for spelling reinforcement
In my experience, the games do not need to be complicated. I have used hangman, versions of "go fish," as well as memory to help my pupils. Be original. Have fun.
Of course, every child will make mistakes in the process of learning sight words. They might get confused between similar-looking words or struggle to remember phonetically irregular words.
Do not scold the child for making a mistake or even repeat the incorrect word. Just reinforce the correct word and then move on.
Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay
Since Dolch is the only one that separates words by grade level, it was the only one with separate flashcard files. For better use, it is recommended that you print on card stock, or print on paper and glue/tape to traditional flash cards.
Dolch Sight Words
|First Grade||Second Grade|
|Third Grade||Dolch Nouns|