Monday, March 21, 2016

The POWER of Sight Word Drills


We all know the benefits of getting our 1st graders proficient with their sight words. For years, our team used flash cards, games, sentence strips and everything we could think of to get those words to memory. A variety of strategies is best because students do not all learn in the same way. And all of those strategies helped, but we still had struggling readers. 

We knew we had to find a simple, but effective way to get our students fluent with their sight words so they could read text more fluently and confidently.  

We wanted to create a resource that:

1.  was easy for students and parents to use
2. would be used each week in centers, small group, and at home  
3. would be a routine resource that parents would welcome each week for daily practice at home 
4. could break down the lengthy list of sight words into a manageable amount of 8-10 words per week
5. could provide the necessary repetition of those words

And finally, one that...
6. would be our most effective go to sight word resource!

So we worked closely with our Special Education teacher and created a template for a sight word drill that would randomly repeat a weekly list of 8-10 sight words. (You may have seen similar drills out there since ours were made, but these are the original drills we created as a team more than 10 years ago. They have just been updated a bit.)


As you can see, the 10 Fry sight words for the week are highlighted in the first row. Each row after contains the same 10 words but are scattered randomly so students can practice reading them over and over by sight.

It is important that students practice these words regularly at school in centers, at small group, and at home in order to be most effective. In addition, students must have another reader checking for accuracy as they practice the drill. If inserted into a sleeve, a dry erase marker can be used to check those words that are missed. We encourage the 3 second rule. Students should be able to read the sight words without sounding out within 3 seconds for mastery.

Once we started implementing this resource and trained our students and parents on how to use the drills daily at school and at home, our sight word fluency problems decreased dramatically! 

(We print our drills on the same color each week {blue} so parents know what to look for each week.)

Parents started to understand the benefits of their children being fluent with their sight words. Parents began to see improvements in their children's overall reading fluency and confidence as readers. We noticed parents began to ask for the drills if they didn't see them in their child's folder for the week. Some even started asking for the drills in advance to get a jump start on the next week!

We all know that when parents become partners with us and believe in the resources we use, there is no stopping our students' growth!

We still use a variety of resources to get our 1st graders to mastery with their sight words. One strategy is not as effective as using several: games, flashcards, phrase strips, etc.  Most students benefit greatly from being exposed to sight words in different forms. 

But we have found that our most effective tool for getting our 1st graders to mastery with their sight words is by using our sight word drills.

Download a sample of one of our drills from the list of 1st 100 Fry words HERE.

If you like the sample, check out more drills in the links below each picture!
600 Fry Words Drills

1,000 Fry Words Drills

220 Dolch Word Drills

Houghton Mifflin Journeys 1st Grade Sight Word Drills

Houghton Mifflin Journeys 2nd Grade Sight Word Drills

Blends, Digraphs and Word Family Speed Drills

Letter ID and Sounds Speed Drills

Long and Short Vowels Speed Drills


Get a FREE sample of a 1st Grade Fry Sight Word Drill HERE.

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