Another strategy I teach in second grade is to practice common sight words. This strategy fits under Fluency on the CAFÉ menu. Our reading, even as adults, is primarily made upon high-frequency words. They are words we see everyday and we must be able to read and write in a snap. I notice that most of my students that struggle with fluency are also very behind on their knowledge of sight words. Since most texts, especially for the primary grades, are made up of sight words, it is very important that we explicitly teach these words and students recognize the importance of knowing these words in a snap. As readers, we cannot usually decode sight words, so we need to remember these words, read them quickly, and understand what they mean.
Explaining the Strategy:
“You see some words many times when you read.”
“Words you see a lot are important because they help you read and write.”
“Do you see any sight words you recognize in this sentence?”
“Do you know any of the words in a snap?”
Ideas for Teaching:
· Introduce five words each week to the whole class. Review these words throughout the week by making connections to the words, playing word games, finding them in reading, and using them in writing.
· Practice words during Word Work (discusses in The Daily Five). Practice words with white boards, letter tiles, magnetic letters, or special markers.
· While reading big books, call the children’s attention to some of the sight words.
· Have students play games such as BINGO, Lotto, Go Fish, or Memory using sight words they have learned.
Here is a website that gives more ideas for integrating sight word instruction into your day. It also gives tips for parents to use at home.
Here is a discussion thread with many ideas other teachers use to teach high frequency words in their classroom.
Here is a list for both teachers and parents. It gives more ideas on how to help a child learn high frequency words.
Supporting Picture Books:
Carle, E. (1987). Have you seen my cat? New York, NY: First Aladdin Paperbacks.
Seuss, D. (1957). Cat in the hat. New York, NY: Random House Books for Young Readers.
Wood, A. (2005). The deep blue sea. New York, NY: The Blue Sky Press.
Pinnell, G., & Fountas, I. (2003). Phonics lessons grade 2. Portsmouth, NH: FirstHand.
Boushey, G., & Moser, J. (2009). The cafe book. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.
Reutzel, D., & Cooter, Jr., R. (1999). Strategies for reading assessment and instruction. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.