Thursday, November 22

Easy Sight Words Game

As most of you know, I'm a teacher. And I'm well aware that when it comes to early learning, flashcards are taboo. But you know what? I still think they have their time and place within a balanced approach to literacy (or numeracy, or whatever the case may be).

When it comes to sight words, we've used cards to help our girls learn, and it hasn't hurt them yet. But this time we tweaked the flashcard idea and saw a great improvement in our younger daughter's motivation.

Maggie (who's 4 and in her first year of Ontario's Early Learning Kindergarten Program, which is all-day, every day) wasn't originally very enthused about practising her words. So I used a bunch of my old business cards from when I had a central teaching position (they put "Kathleen" on them instead of "Kate" which really deterred me from using them) and made them into a matching game with Maggie's Year 1 (JK) words. If you find a match, you have to be able to read the words in order to keep them.   Maggie plays this game with her older sister, and she loves it. I'm not kidding: she actually begs to play, and has even cried on nights when we didn't have time. Plus, it's very low-organization and low-supervision for the parent (I realize I must come across as lazy sometimes, but I also try to put myself in the shoes of busy parents - which isn't hard - and I know that if an activity is too lengthy or complicated it just won't happen).



(I also saw Maggie's competitive nature emerge when she came home one night all excited to tell me "My teacher says that when I know the Year 1 words, I get to have the Year 2 words!")

In case you're looking for word suggestions, here's what our Kindergarten parents were given:

Year 1 Words (JK - 4 years old)

a
and
he
I
in
is
it
of
that
the
to
was

Year 2 Words (SK - 5 years old)

at
big
can
come
for
here
little
look
not
on
said
see
too

(P.S. If "sight words flashcards" is the most taboo topic I've covered here at This Mom Loves, I think I have to resign myself to a "vanilla" designation. For the blog, at least.)

4 comments:

lifetakesover said...

What a great idea! I'm always looking for stuff like this to do with my daughter (who was in full day JK last year but changed schools for French Immersion and is now 1/2 day). I use flash cards with her each day when we have "homework" time. She enjoys the feeling of accomplishment when she can read the word on the card. Then we pick the words that she has read that day and we make up a story and draw pictures to go along with it. But I've noticed that her attention is waning, so this new game from your post will help us put the fun back into learning! Thanks!

Play Me Mama said...

Really wish I had not just dropped a box of old business cards in the recycle bin! I'll have to get my thinking hat on to find some recycled paper to use, I am glad you entered the taboo area of flashcards. I've been trying to decide whether to make my SK one some cards or not and I think I will now.

Mary said...

Thanks for the great idea Kate!
I can't wait to try it this weekend with my boys!

Sally said...

I didn't know flash cards were taboo! You can tell I'm not into reading parenting/teaching strategies.
I have done flash card games with my kids. A different version of this is memory with the words (you know, place the cards face down, the child has to turn them over and try to match the words). You would think that was engaging...unfortunately my little boys think it is more fun to toss the cards into the sky. I have also tried hopscotch with sight words, race to the word (place three or four different words out, spaced far apart, then call out a word and the chidren race to get there first). No one can accuse me of not trying creative ideas. My daughter of course, loves all of these games.I wasn't a believer in girls vs boys being different and always thought it was a result of environmental influence...that was until I had some boys.
Whatever works for your child, right? You'll never know if you don't try it.