The 220 Dolch sight words make up between 50 and 75 percent of our language. These are the words that fluent readers will know by sight, not only from looking at the letters, but also knowing the configuration of the whole word. An excellent way to teach these words to students is through games and activities. Following are some great activities to make learning fun, plus some online sites that can also be helpful.
If the student reads the word and writes it, they increase their ability to learn the word. Try this group activity for word copying:
- Use a dry erase board to write the word several times in big, bright letters.
- Give the students sheets of paper and colored pencils or crayons. Have the students fold their paper four times (twice lengthwise and twice widthwise).
- Each time you write the word on the dry erase board, encourage the students to write it on one part of their paper.
- Each time you erase the word from the dry erase board, encourage the students to turn to another section of their folded paper.
- Each time you re-write the word on the dry erase board, your students should write the word as well.
You can use small magnetic letters and have the students form the words that you write on the chalk board or dry erase board with the magnetic letters that you give them. This encourages repetition and stimulates learning of the sight words.
Consider using flash cards - on the flash cards you can underline the high frequency word and write each word out in a color that is memorable and stands out from the rest. Consider using the word wall - every class has a word wall, and the word wall in your class room should have the grade specific high frequency words on it. Have the class look at the wall carefully for a few minutes and then tell them that you are thinking of a word that begins with the letter "t." Each student should have a pencil and piece of paper where they will record which word they believe you are thinking of. You can give them at the very least four clues. The second clue could go into how many syllables the word has or what word or words it may rhyme with and when you use the word normally. These clues should better help the student in figuring out what word you are trying to get the students to remember.
There are some great sites that have activities using Dolch words. They provide a variety of activities as well as games, worksheets and flash cards to help students learn the sight words.
- Sight Words provides free flash cards, activities using Dolch words, games, and lesson plans
- Kid Zone provides flash cards, games and activities from Preschool to Grade 3
- MRCPL is one of the best websites for sight word activities. It includes activities with Dolch words that the children can play on the computer. There is also a very large games section.
In addition to classroom activites, playing games is an excellent teaching technique. There are many types of games that work well from adapting common games to use for sight word instruction to online interactive games that work for very young children.