Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sight Word Folders

I have been planning this post for a long time now, but preparing a blog post takes a lot of work! I finally have the time to sit down and type this out. I am so excited to share my Sight Word Folders with you! This sight word learning strategy has served me well now for almost two years. I used it in my Kindergarten classroom and am currently using it with my first grade class. The concept was presented to me in a college course, but was not specifically designed for learning sight words. I modified some of the ideas, but some of the printouts and concepts I will still be using from my course. In this post, I will give you step-by-step instructions on how to set up the folders for instant use!

Step #1: Get Your Materials 

In order to make these sight word folders, you are going to need a few things:

First, obviously you will need a folder. Just any basic two-pocket folder will do. You will then need to write the words 'Go' and 'Stop' on notecards and tape/glue them to the pockets.

You will need this page (included as a FREEBIE at the end of this post.)

It will need to be taped/glued to the front of the folder like this:

You will then need some type of blank game board. The one that I have is not available for downloading online, but you can find one by The Sophisticated Teacher here. The more spaces it has, the better it will be.

And you will need to tape/glue this game board to the back of the folder like this:

Then, you will need a sight word list. It does not matter what list you want to use. You can use the Dolch list, the Fry list, or a list provided by your reading program. In the past, I combined my list from the Journeys reading series and the Dolch Sight Word Assessment and Progress Monitoring Materials by Make Take Teach, which you can download for FREE here. Now, this is the only list I use.

Dolch Sight Word Assessment and Progress Monitoring Materials

You will also need some blank notecards (these were blank before I wrote the words on :)

Here is what the folder looks like once it is all set up: a folder with 'Go' and 'Stop,' notecards, a sight word list, a small plastic baggie. And don't forget the pictures on the front and back of the folder mentioned above!

Step #2: Assess Your Students

The next step in setting up your sight word folder is to figure out what words you want to put in each student's folder. First, in the beginning of the year, I give the students the sight word assessment mentioned above. For Kindergarten students, I would wait to use this folder until at least 10 sight words have been taught. After giving the sight word assessment, I look at the results. I then choose 10 words that the student did not know and write them on notecards.

These words are then placed in the student's 'Go' pocket in their folder. Now you're ready to use the folders!

Step #3: Using the Sight Word Folders

I use these sight word folders during my guided reading block. When the students come to my desk, they immediately grab their folders. And this is what they do. It has become so routine that they don't even have to think about it anymore!

1. Students take out their folder and remove their 10 words from their 'Go' pocket.
2. They practice reading the words once or twice, until they think they are ready to be 'tested.' During this practice time, they may ask the teacher or another student in the group what the word is.
3. The teacher will then assess the students on these words, and only these.
4. If the student gets the words right, they are placed on the smiley face on the front of their folder. If they get the words wrong, they are placed on the X.
5. Then, the teacher will mark on the back of each card what the student did for the day. For example, the cards that were placed on the X will then have an X placed on the back of the card. The same goes for those on the smiley, but a smiley face will be placed on the back of the card.
6. These words are practiced daily, or whenever their guided reading group is called. Once the student receives 3 smiley faces in a row (important!!) those cards will be moved to the 'Stop' pocket in the baggie.
7. Last step!!!! Every time a student gets three consecutive smiley faces on a sight word card and moves it to the 'Stop' pocket, they get to color a piece of the game board on the back of their folder.

And that's it!! Whew!!

I have seen tremendous growth in my students' sight word knowledge and retention by using this strategy. The best part is that it is differentiated for every student. No two students are studying the same words. I have had students complete the Dolch list that I included in this post and so I had to move them onto harder words/nouns. It never ends!

Once students have put a good amount of the words into their 'Stop' pockets, the teacher can then look back at the list and choose more words that they can write on notecards. I would be sure not to have more than 10 words at a time. If a student has 10 completely new words that they have never seen before, it is a little overwhelming and may take them a little bit longer to learn.

Thank you for reading all the way down to the end of this post! Here is your freebie! It is the smiley/X page that you will need for the front of your folder!

What sight word strategies do you use in your classroom?


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