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Friday, March 31, 2017

Sight Word Entry Codes for Practicing Sight Words

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.

Happy Reading!

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