Name of Assignment: How I will develop sight word knowledge in my instructional programme. Introduction Sight words are words which are recognized on sight and do not require any analysis. Sight word knowledge refers to the ability to recognize the pronunciation of words automatically without conscious application of other decoding strategies (Leu and Kinzer, 1999). One of the benchmarks of a good reader is fluency. LaBerg and Samuels, 1976 define fluency as the process of automatically, accurately and rapidly recognizing words. It is my desire as a teacher to produce excellent readers.
The sad reality for me is that, not all students can achieve this. As a teacher I see my task as one in which I must equip my pupils with the skills needed to decode words as they strive to become fluent independent readers. One way this can be achieved is through the teaching of sight words. As children read, they encounter new words along with familiar words. They utilize the skills they were taught to decode new words for example phonics, syllabication, onset – rime, to name a few. Therefore the greater their sight word knowledge the easier their reading.
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It is important to note that sight word recognition is not automatic; the words must be previously taught and practiced by children. This paper would focus on methods I would use in to develop sight word knowledge into my instructional programme. I would like to highlight however, the reasons I believe why sight words should be taught. •Firstly, our children would build fluency in their reading and writing. Students are greatly able to increase their reading efficiency when we teach them to read most words they encounter. Secondly, I believe their vocabulary would increase, where for example in their speaking and writing, they can draw from a large storehouse of words. • Not all words can be ‘sounded out’ or are spelt phonetically for example ‘said, who’. These words must be taught as a whole, as sight words. •As teachers, we must be ever mindful that the end result of reading is comprehension. Adams, 1990, states that if a reader must focus his/her attention on identifying (recognizing, decoding) the individual words in a text, then there will be less attention available for comprehending the text.
If our pupils spend too much time dwelling on too many words, fluency is lost and comprehension is affected. •Finally, teaching of sight words also allows for the use of phonics. As I stated earlier, not all words are spelt phonetically, however, for those that require the use of phonics, the teacher can use the opportunity to incorporate these phonics skills while teaching sight words. Integration can also occur in the areas pf spelling and vocabulary, where pupils will not only recognize the word on sight but can also spell and define it as well.
Methods and Activities I will use to develop sight word knowledge in my Instructional Programme. 1) An important decision a teacher must make in teaching sight words is to determine which words are to be taught as sight words. Studies suggest that the most common words in our language, called ‘high frequency words’, would be the best place to start. High frequency words are words repeated frequently in early reading texts. Therefore one method I would use is a word list.
Mangieri and Khan, 1977, state that lists of basic sight words may give teachers an indication of the words that are most frequently used in reading materials and therefore are needed most frequently by students. The Dolch list of the two hundred and twenty(220) most common words in reading materials(excluding nouns), though first published in the 1930’s, has repeatedly been found to be relevant and useful in more recent materials. Please permit me to share my first experience with the Dolch Sight Word list, which occurred in my first term as a teacher, when I began teaching at the Standard One level.
I liked how the list not only contained words pupils should know, but the age at which they should know the words also. I decided to copy a sheet for each child and have them come to me and call the words and tick as they went along. Using the words they omitted, I recorded them and made a chart in the classroom and drilled them daily until they memorized the words. As I reflect now on that method, I realized that being an untrained teacher, I did not see the importance of allowing my pupils to experience these words in a reading context.
Now that I have been trained, I realize that along with teaching and drilling words in isolation, these words must be taught in context and pupils given the opportunity to use the words in writing activities. The use of flashcards with the words written on it is also a good tool to use along with word lists. Nicholson (1998) suggests using flashcards to foster automaticity in word recognition and teaching children to read words faster can improve reading comprehension dramatically. 2) The Language Experience Approach is another method I would use to teach sight words in my instructional programme.
According to Roe, Smith and Burns, (2005), page 81, the Language Experience Approach, in which students’ own language is written down and used as the basis for their reading material, is good for developing sight vocabulary. This approach provides a meaningful context for learning sight words, and it can be used productively with individuals or groups. What I particularly like about this method is that pupils will play an active word in the lesson in that it comes from them. As teachers we must remember, that children come to us with not only a store of sight word knowledge, but also previous knowledge and experiences.
Children would see that what they say can be written and well as well. I believe this approach would greatly motivate pupils to read more. I recall using this method while at Teachers’ College with a group of Second Year Infants. The pupils created beautiful sentences on “a star”, drawing from their previous knowledge and were able to read sentences easily because it comprised words they knew as part of their sight vocabulary. I would therefore, as much as possible, incorporate this method into my instructional programme. ) Since sight words are words that are previously taught, one method I would use it to preteach selected sight vocabulary. Arya, Kutno & Kibby 1995; Wylie, 1926, state that preteaching selected sight vocabulary does have a long tradition in reading instruction…and that such preteaching does facilitate reading fluency. Before reading a text, I would look for unfamiliar words in the passage. These words would be presented to students in the same context as it is in the passage but in a sentence with the target word highlighted.
Pupils would read the sentence and I would allow them to sound out the word as accurately as possible and offer my assistance where necessary. We would then proceed to spell and derive the meaning of the word. These words would be placed on a chart for pupils to see. While reading, either using the Read Aloud procedure or whole class reading, I would give my pupils stop lollipop signs, and, as they see or hear the new word previously taught, they would raise their sign. This would be an exciting way to test their knowledge of these words.
I particularly like how this method not only develops their sight word knowledge but their vocabulary as well. As a teacher, I use this method a lot with my class, especially with the basal reader. According to Roe, Smith and Burns, (2005), page 83, much teaching of sight word recognition takes place as a part of basal reader lessons. 4) I would encourage more Independent Reading as part of my instructional programme. At present, I teach at the highest level of primary school, which is Standard Five.
By the time the students get to this level, they would have a large sight word vocabulary. I would ensure that my pupils engage in independent reading of ‘real’ books as much as possible. While reading, pupils will encounter new words. They would be encouraged to record new words. By doing this pupils would create their own word list over a period of time. At intervals, each pupil would share one word from their list and a class word list would be compiled forming a class word bank (a collection of words learnt or words one would like to learn, Cooper, 2006, pg. 529).
I would then teach vocabulary and spelling lessons from these words and look for texts containing these words so that pupils would be able to identify words in a different text. 5) While researching, I came across some activities/ games to reinforce and teach sight words by Sharon Hall, who is teacher at South Lebanon Elementary, South Lebanon, OH. I liked three of her activities, even thought they are for the Grade one level, I am sure can be adjusted for my level. These activities provide a means of teaching sight words in isolation while pupils are having fun.
The activities are: (I) Around the World -All the students sit in a circle. (Or the students can remain at their desks. ) One student stands behind one student who is sitting. The teacher flashes them a sight word. Whoever says it first moves on to the next student. The student that makes it back to their own desk or starting point is the winner. (II) Erase Relay -Write on the chalkboard two columns of words that are approximately equal in difficulty. Write as many words on the board as there are children in the relay.
Children are divided into 2 teams, and stand in two lines at right angles to the chalkboard. At the signal, the first child in each line points at the first word in his respective column of words and pronounces that word. If his pronounces it correctly, he is allowed to erase that word. The game is won by the side that erases all the words first. (III) Tic Tac Toe – Divide the class into X’s and O’s teams. Write words in the tic tac toe spaces. Take turns having a member of the team come up and selecting a space to read. If he is correct, they may put an X or O for their team.
If they are incorrect, the other team gets to send a player to the board to try the same word. You can keep score if you want. You can already have these boards made up on overhead transparencies to save time and keep the game moving if you are using a variety of words, like the sight word list. You can also give everyone a blank copy of the tic tac toe board, and put the list of words on the board. Have them place the words where they want in their board. As you call the words out, you will have to say if it is an X word or an O. The first one to tic tac toe is the winner.
Dickerson (1982), from his studies on the use of games to teach sight words with remedial children, found that physically active games are most effective in increasing sight vocabularies especially in remedial children. How my belief system, how children learn to read and what they learn to read influenced my decisions. I believe that children progress as readers and writers, as stated by the IRA and NAEYC that, reading and writing acquisition is best conceptualized as a developmental continuum than as an all-or-nothing phenomenon.
It is not automatic. As children read, they learn words as they see them over and over again and recognition of these words become automatic. Therefore according to IRA and NAEYC, children need regular and active interactions with print. I believe that as teachers we must equip our pupils with the skills necessary to decode words they encounter while reading and to expose them to as many words as possible. We must engage our pupils in lessons which incorporate their knowledge so that they are able to make connections.
Children bring with them to the learning situation a vast amount of previous knowledge and experiences. This is why I chose the Language Experience Approach to facilitate this. Pupils must not only be taught the words in isolation but they must experience them in context too. Ceprano, 1981, states that “most learners need directed experience with written context while learning words in order to perceive that reading is a language process and a meaning getting process. ” Our classroom environment must also enhance pupils’ learning by being print rich.
Hence, word walls and ‘real’ books in our libraries would highlight sight words and expose pupils to many more. The area of language consists of reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing/visually representing. I wanted to incorporate as many of these areas with the methods I chose. I also wanted to integrate the areas of spelling and vocabulary. Finally I believe that a good method that I have used and one which has worked overtime is drill and practice. According to Roe, Smith and Burns, (2005), pg. 82, generally, a number of repetitions are necessary before a word actually becomes a sight word.
The more opportunities pupils have to practice and drill sight words, whether in isolation or in context or reading situations, the more fluent readers they become and comprehension improves. Conclusion Sight words are important and they should be taught in our instructional programme. They are in almost everything we read. In fact Fry, Kress and Fountoukidis, 2004, state that one hundred (100) most common words actually make up fifty percent (50%) of the material we read. The twenty five (25) most common words make up about one third of our written material.
We must build our pupils’ sight word knowledge so that as they progress as readers and writers, their fluency and comprehension would improve. As Frank B. May in Reading as Comprehension states, sight words enhance pupils’ chances of getting to the end of a sentence in time to remember how it began. Bibliography ?Adams, Marilyn J. 1990. Beginning to read: Thinking and learning about print. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. In Kibby, Michael W. The Distinctive Features Method of Teaching Sight Vocabulary to Children Who Have Difficulty Learning to Read Words. www. readingcenter. buffalo/edu/center/research/distinct ?
Arya, Poonman, Kutno, Stephen, & Kibby, Michael W. 1995. Creating fluent readers: A comparison of two teaching strategies for dysfluent readers. Paper presented to the 45th Annual Meeting of the National Reading Conference, New Orleans. In Kibby, Michael W. The Distinctive Features Method of Teaching Sight Vocabulary to Children Who Have Difficulty Learning to Read Words. www. readingcenter. buffalo/edu/center/research/distinct ? Ceprano, Maria, A. 1981. “A Review of Selected Research on Methods of Teaching Sight Words. ” The Reading teacher 35, 314-322. In Roe, D. , Smith, S. , Burns, P. 005Teaching Reading in Today’s Elementary Schools. 9th Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston New York. ?Cooper, D with Kiger, N. 2006. Literacy Helping Children Construct Meaning. Houghton Mifflin. USA. ?Dickerson, Delores, Pawley. (1982). “A Study of use of Games to Reinforce Sight Vocabulary. ” The Reading Teacher, 36, 46-49 In Roe, D. , Smith, S. , Burns, P. 2005Teaching Reading in Today’s Elementary Schools. 9th Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston New York. ?Fry, E. , Kress, J. , and Fountoukidis, D. 2004. The Reading Teacher’s Book of Lists. Paramus, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Hall, Sharon. 1999. 485. Activities to reinforce and teach Sight Words (Several). South Lebanon Elementary, South Lebanon, OH ? Leu and Kinzer, 1999) ?LaBerg, D. , & Samuels, S. J. 1976. Toward a theory of automatic information processing in reading. In H. Singer and R. Ruddel (Eds. ). Theoretical models and processes of reading (pp. 548-579). Newark, DE: International Reading Association. In Cooper, D with Kiger, N. 2006. Literacy Helping Children Construct Meaning. Houghton Mifflin. USA. ?Mangieri, John N. and Michael S. Khan. 1977. “Is the Dolch List of 220 Basic Sight Words Irrelevant? The Reading Teacher, 30. 649, 651. In Roe, D. , Smith, S. , Burns, P. 2005. Teaching Reading in Today’s Elementary Schools. 9th Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston New York. ?Module 4 in Virtual Text ?NAEYC and IRA adopted 1998. Learning to Read and Write: Developmentally Appropriate Practices for Young Children. A joint position statement of the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Young Children. ?Nicholson, Tom. 1998. “The Flashcard Strikes Back. ” The reading Teacher, 52, 188-192.
In Roe, D. , Smith, S. , Burns, P. 2005. Teaching Reading in Today’s Elementary Schools. 9th Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston New York. ?Roe, D. , Smith, S. , Burns, P. 2005. Teaching Reading in Today’s Elementary Schools. 9th Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston New York. ?Wylie, Will E. 1926. Difficult Words and the beginner. Journal of Educational Research, 17,278-289. In Kibby, Michael W. The Distinctive Features Method of Teaching Sight Vocabulary to Children Who Have Difficulty Learning to Read Words. www. readingcenter. buffalo/edu/center/research/distinct