As a certified special education teacher and mother of a 1st grader, I know first hand the difficulty it takes to motivate a child to learn boring sight and spelling words. Especially, learning them at home where all fun distractions exist. Below are some tools and learning strategies I use to help my child master her site and spelling word goals.
Disclaimer: This post contains amazon affiliate links below to learning tools I use and recommend as a teacher. I receive a small commission if you make a purchase. Thank you!
- 1 Competing For Your Child’s Attention
- 2 Visuals are Very Important
- 3 How to Make Word-Picture Cards
- 4 Visual Recollection
- 5 Writing is Still Important
- 6 Fun Ways to Write
- 7 Putting it All Together
- 8 4 Day Spelling and Sight Word Learning Plan
- 8.1 Day 1: Start off with Sight Word Introduction accompanied with Visual Cards.
- 8.2 Day 2: Next day begin with See and Say. Have the student state a sentence with the word.
- 8.3 Day 3: Begin with Test – Go thru the cards only showing the pictures. Student names and spells words. Have student write a simple sentence with each word.
- 8.4 Day 4: Written Test : Give student created sheet with pictures of each word. Have them write the word down besides the picture. Words not known will need to be reviewed again and written.
- 8.5 Day 5 – Test at School
Competing For Your Child’s Attention
In our current times, it’s even more difficult to learn at home because of the technology competitive environment of your child’s attention. They want to be on their tablets, parent’s cell phones, television,playstation, ps3 or xbox. Those electronics are engaging and entertaining to kids.
When we were growing up, we learned by repetitive writing over and over again. Their were no electronics for us. The competition was outdoor play. Yes, repetitive writing is boring and times now are different. We need to compete for our children’s attention to learn.
Visuals are Very Important
Most of us process information by what we see, which makes us Visual Learners. According to Social Science Network, 65% of Americans are Visual Learners. This is especially true for children.
When working with your child on sight or spelling words, I recommend to use visuals to help your child’s mind capture the image and associate that image with the word. This learning strategy is called Word-Picture Association. Many special education teachers use this tactic when teaching their students but it is a highly effective strategy for students who are struggling learning their sight and spelling words.
My daughter, who is a good reader and really doesn’t need visuals, will ask for picture cards Why?
- It’s Engaging – Pictures draw the student’s attention.
- Real World Association – They can look at a word all day, but a picture lets the student correlate the word to a real life object or action.
- Stimulates both left and right sides of the brain when and word and picture are combined. Creativity and Logic!
- Exercises Memory -Recall the word by simply looking at the picture.
How to Make Word-Picture Cards
For sight words, you may be able to find free sight word picture cards on Teachers Pay Teachers.
However, you can make your own sight word and spelling cards with Lesson Pix. I use Lesson Pix to make sight and spelling word cards. The site also has many other resources from token economies, create your own beginning reader book, first and then charts, visual schedules and other tools you may need.
You can also use standard note cards and find images on google that are associated with the word.
What I love about Lesson Pix is that I can create a “test” for my daughter by just giving her a worksheet of the pictures. She sees the pictures and writes down the sight or spelling word. The retrieval of the sight word information is easier with a mental picture the student can access from memory.
Writing is Still Important
As a teacher, I can tell you that writing trumps reading! Why? Because you are doing both at the same time. Plus using both sides of your brain as you write and read what you write. Processing what you are writing by using your motor skills (creatively) is left brained and thinking logically by writing is the right brain.
So, the old school way of repeatedly writing sight words was right! You can still have your child write sight and spelling words using the tools below. The tools are fun and engaging ways to write sight and spelling words. I recommend at least 2 of the items to rotate them throughout the week.
Fun Ways to Write
This is a must when working with your student on their sight and spelling words. Children always love writing with markers and using a dry erasers. I usually have my daughter work with the Visual Index Cards first, then the words she misses, I have her write them three times on her white board. We then go through the cards again.
My daughter received this gift from her grandma for Christmas and loves writing on it. We use it when I introduce new sight words to her. She loves how the colors glow when she turns on the light. The most amazing thing is she doesn’t complain when she has to write her words.
This Crayola Neon FX Light Board is similar to the Discovery Kids version. But smaller and less expensive than the discovery version.
This chalkboard decal can be placed anywhere in your home. Your student will have fun writing sight or spelling words on the wall.
You can also add Chalk Markers have more writing fun!
Game Idea: I like to draw a picture of the word on the chalkboard and then my daughter writes the word. It’s really fun because she laughs at my drawings. We also reverse roles or she writes sentences with her sight or spelling word.
Every child enjoys stamping and when learning sight and spelling words, stamping makes it super fun. What’s great about the Melissa & Doug Alphabet Stamp is that it comes in both lower and upper case words. Plus, it includes different color ink, which is a must!
Putting it All Together
4 Day Spelling and Sight Word Learning Plan
Day 1: Start off with Sight Word Introduction accompanied with Visual Cards.
Learning Strategy: See and Say – See the word, spell it out loud and say the word again. Point to each letter as your child states it. I also state a sentence with the word for context.
Have student write the word three times on fun writing tool.
Review Visual Cards with student to see if they remember the word. Repeat See and Say
Day 2: Next day begin with See and Say. Have the student state a sentence with the word.
Test – Go thru the cards and only show the picture to the student and have them name and spell the word.
Write words 3 times on a fun writing tool. Place extra emphasis on words the student missed.
Day 3: Begin with Test – Go thru the cards only showing the pictures. Student names and spells words. Have student write a simple sentence with each word.
Game with Parent: Turn cards face down and have student pick a card to quiz YOU! You do the same with your student. Words missed must be written three times or stamped.
Day 4: Written Test : Give student created sheet with pictures of each word. Have them write the word down besides the picture. Words not known will need to be reviewed again and written.
Day 5 – Test at School
The most important thing to helping your child to learn sight and spelling words is YOU! The effort you put into helping your child by making learning fun and simply engaging with them in their learning process makes all the difference. A supportive parent who encourages, supports and loves their child makes all the difference in the world.