Sight word fluency is important with young readers because of the frequency that they show up in text. When looking at a list of approximately 300 sight words, did you know that about 75% of them show up in children’s books? Sight word recognition is an essential component in the mastery of reading (Compton, 1997; Freebody & Byrne, 1988; Strickland & Morrow, 1991; Szeszulski & Szeszulski, 1987). This post is going to explain how sight word fluency sticks can be used in the classroom to help your students master their sight word fluency.
When deciding upon a sight word practice and tracking system, it’s important to think about the following components:
- Developmentally appropriate
- Research based
- Easy feedback for families
- Work for interventions and child study data
- Easily tracks student-driven data
- Low stress
- Low maintenance
- Includes spiral review for long-term retention
- Highly targeted for each student’s needs
With all of these components in mind, I created these sight word fluency sticks and am happy to tell you that all of these important components are included in this system.
WHERE TO START
The first thing that needs to be decided upon is which sight word list you want to use. The two main lists are Dolch and Fry. Some school district have their own sight word list so you will want to check on this. If your district uses their own list, there are editable sight word cards available in this resource.
Once the sight word list has been decided, it’s time to do a sight word check on the students. Use a checklist or progress tracker and have the students go through the words, reading the words that he/she knows. The child can color in the words that they know how to read.
Once the words have been assessed, cut apart the sight words cards and put them into three piles as seen below. Each pile goes on the appropriate ring which then gets placed on the ruler.
The appropriate labels, as seen above, go right onto the ruler. Placing a green line for achieved, yellow for progressing, and red for not yet are a nice optional visual for your little learners.
WHO NEEDS THIS
If you teach 1st grade I would suggest using these with all of your students. If you teach 2nd grade I would suggest using these with your students who are below grade level with their reading abilities.
HOW TO SET UP
Once the students’ sight words are printed, cut, and attached to their fluency stick, all that is left is their fluency folder. Inside the folder will be the fluency stick, letter home, extra sight word cards, and a tracking sheet.
HOW TO TRACK AND ASSESS
Students will practice their sight words both in class and at home. These make for great homework, reading warm-ups, or even early finishers. STUDENTS DO NOT MOVE THE FLASHCARDS THEMSELVES. The reason for this is because a teacher must assess them to make sure they can read the sight words within 3 seconds. I suggest checkin in with your students about once a week. At that time, the cards that need to be moved can be moved up to the achieved level and the student can color in the sight word on the progress tracker. I suggest having them color before moving the word onto the achieved ring.
WHY DO SIGHT WORD FLUENCY STICKS WORK?
I strongly believe in this system because it is developmentally appropriate and meets the needs and ability levels of all the students in your classroom in a low stress and low maintenance way. When students focus on 10 words at a time, this sets the child up for success. They are no longer overwhelmed with a pile of flashcards to practice. The weekly spiral practice of the mastered sight words allow for long term mastery. I also love that the program involves the families and shows them their progress as well as the benchmarks that they should strive for throughout the year. Having students track their own progress not only frees up the teacher’s time but also puts students in control of their own learning. When they track and see their progress, it’s a powerful thing!
WHAT DO I NEED
- Folder with pockets
- Ruler with 3 holes
- 2 inch rings that easily open and close
MATERIALS INCLUDED IN THIS RESOURCE
- Sight Word Flashcards (Dolch Pre-primer-3rd grade, Fry 0-500, and Editable)
- Folder Covers
- Parent Letters
- Program Overview for Implementation
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