Sight Word Entry Codes. Ever heard of them? I learned of this idea back in October of 2016 at the Illinois Reading Conference, but figured it's better late than never when sharing an idea, especially when I'm seeing my students' instant sight word recognition sky-rocket and hearing visitors to my school positively comment on it. I've already shared the idea on my microblogging accounts back in October (Twitter and Instagram), but am now just sharing it with my blogging PLN. #whoops
If you already follow me, you are aware I'm a Reading Specialist working with struggling readers, mostly in the younger grades. Many times, the lack of a solid sight word bank is what prevents my students from reading fluently. Of course, there are other factors, but practicing sight words is tremendously helpful.
The gist of this idea is that students are assessed on their sight words, then given daily practice of three to six words they struggle with by using *entry codes*. Students must tap and accurately read the words in any order on their entry codes before they are allowed to enter the room. (Support is allowed, when needed!) Once the students master the sight words on the entry codes and in their reading, the codes are updated to a new list. I've even had students master all of their sight words, so their entry "requirement" is to give me a fist bump for a job well done. It's a simple way to strengthen their sight word foundation.
I realize this idea may be a tad overwhelming for a classroom teacher of 28 students, since I mostly pull groups of 3-5 students at a time. Yes, having so few students reading their words before entry to the classroom is definitely more manageable. However, if you are a classroom teacher, an idea is to switch up the name of these codes (Starter Codes?) and place them on a table top flip chart. When pulling small groups of students, have them read the words before starting their rereading of familiar texts. If you are a Kindergarten teacher, entry codes of letter naming and sounds are also an option. Just some thoughts. :)
Since I began implementing this idea back in October, I've altered the format of the codes. At first, I had a full sheet of paper with 6 sight words on a themed-image for each month. For example, I've used clipart images of pumpkins, turkeys, pine trees, snowballs, hearts, shamrocks and now bunnies. I have since downsized the codes to a half sheet of paper, as well as added the students' faces using fun FREE apps that go along with either the holiday or season. You'll see the progression of the entry codes in the images below.
Some of my *fist bump* kiddos!
So, there you have it...another simple idea to help support your students with sight words.
I am fortunate enough to be in a school district that has purchased Foutnas' and Pinnell's Leveled Literacy Intervention Kits for Reading Specialists to use with RtI students. Are you familiar with these literacy resources? The kits are amazing and certainly engage my readers. I have access to all of the kits ranging from Orange (Kindergarten) through Purple (5th grade), but mostly work with the Green and Blue kits geared toward 1st and 2nd graders. These kits have some lovable characters we get to revisit over and over again through new adventures, since the books are part of a series. The students enjoy reading about Moosling, The Fun Club, and, of course, our favorite, Meli the West Highland Terrier. Anyway, if you are on Twitter, there is a new hashtag-#FPAskMeli- moderated by Fountas' and Pinnell's Twitter account where students can brainstorm questions for Irene Fountas' dog, Meli. Meli is actually her dog and, from what I've heard, Meli's owner "Ron" is Irene's hubby! Fun trivia facts, eh? Well, after learning about this hashtag, I had a group of 2nd grade girls brainstorm questions they wanted to ask Meli. These girls "Awwww!" every time I pull out another book with Meli as the headliner, so I figured they'd be the perfect group to test out the hashtag. After pulling out the familiar Meli books, the students revisited the texts thinking about questions they have for Meli. The questions were recorded on TodaysMeet, which allowed me access to their questions as they were typing them. While they were brainstorming, I was writing them on chart paper.
Once the questions were added to the chart, we tweeted out the image below. Every...single...day the girls asked if Meli responded. It took a bit of waiting, but when Meli responded, the girls' faces were priceless! Well worth the wait, for sure.
The chart paper of questions, a picture of the girls and the tweeted responses from Meli hang on my classroom door for now. The girls pat Meli each time they enter my room. ;)
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