Recognizing Core Sight Words

I’m working with a couple of kindergarteners right now. They’re having difficulty gaining a foothold in text because they lack core sight words (and they’re not sure what to do with the few that they do have!)
One of these handsome little guys actually bragged to me that he could read “backwards”! He then proceeded to demonstrate. He turned around in his chair, back to the table and the book, and began to recite the text. It was one of those beautiful “only in kindergarten” moments.
Right now, the only sight words that are really “rock solid” for this little group are “a”, and “I”. “The” is starting to come along, but isn’t quite solid yet. I’m not ready to enter into a full Orton Gillingham kind of multi-sensory intervention to get the sight words nailed down (although, I may revise my teaching strategy soon). Right now, they seem to lack attention and clear modeling with opportunities for short, sharp practice.
Here’s my lesson outline for our next session:
1. Introduce “the” and trace it several times.

2. Introduce the chant for the word “the” (you can find the chant here).  I like to do this with snaps at the end of each line and on each letter t-h-e.

3.  Read the Puppy Book.  This is a book that I’ve made especially for this group of children.  The text alternates between “A puppy.” and “The puppy.”  fairly randomly.  The children need to watch the text carefully to read the correct sight word.  The rest of the book is deliberately super-easy.  I want all of their attention to be focused on attending to that sight word.    You can download a copy of the book KindergartenAPuppyBook here if you want it.

That’s it — that’s about the maximum attention span that I’m going to get from these little guys.   We’ll put the Puppy Book in their browsing bags for use during Independent Reading time for them.

Trading Spaces: Classroom Edition Part I — Just Kindergarten

Wow, oh wow!! Did you all ever do an amazing job on the classroom spaces this year!! I am impressed beyond words. We arrived with only a couple of days before the children were arriving to find the building all topsy-turvy — desks were turned on end, materials were piled everywhere, boxes and crates abounded. And within hours (okay, days) magic had happened and the classrooms looked and felt like the most magical learning places in the world.

I took a few pictures — and I’m taking some more — and wow, oh, wow are they ever terrific. Here’s a look at just our kindergarten spaces (the post won’t let me fit mo -re in one post) I’ll post the other grade levels later.

Check out Janet’s word wall. Her room has this terrific orange theme going on. It is bright, citrusy and fun . What a great space for kindergarteners. You have to see her birthday board too — it looks absolutely yummy!

I can’t wait to see this when it has everyone’s celebrations on it. She’s put it right near the block corner too — so that it can be a part of everyday life in the classroom play area.

Next door, Liz’s room looks like heaven itself! I love the cloud bulletin boards!! They’re all over the room.

The clouds make this absolutely float.

Can you believe this is that huge gray cabinet that has always dominated that room?? Liz has turned it into a terrific and functional wordwall.
Can you believe this is that huge gray cabinet that has always dominated that room?? Liz has turned it into a terrific and functional wordwall.

Jackie’s Kindergarten room looks great too! Check out the cozy reading nook and the waiting listener!

Doesn't he look like he's just waiting for the KD children to arrive and read him a story?

Doesn't he look like he's just patiently waiting for someone to come and read him a story?

Daily Five -- here we come!!  We have listening to books, read to self, browsing boxes all at the ready.  First day of school, here we come!

Daily Five -- here we come!! We have listening to books, read to self, browsing boxes all at the ready. First day of school, here we come!

Louise has done some super stuff too. She has a cozy nook that just begs readers to come inside and a special listener for stories too. But you won’t believe who’s listening to the K readers in her room! See for yourself.

I love these chairs.  All I'd need is a great book and a glass of iced tea.

I love these chairs. All I'd need is a great book and a glass of iced tea.

Did you ever think??  I would never have guessed!!  What a great listener for the readers in KW.  Its like escaping to the North Country for a mini vacation.

Did you ever think?? I would never have guessed!! What a great listener for the readers in KW. Its like escaping to the North Country for a mini vacation.