Friday, May 30, 2014

Reading Rainbows

YAY, it's FRIDAY!!!  This means that I only have 10 student days left!!!  Starting the Countdown to Summer on Monday, SO EXCITED!!!

Today I wanted to share with you something I've been doing this year with sight words.  A few years ago I came across a sight word tracking system that another teacher had created.  I can't find the original link or teacher, so if you're out there somewhere I give you serious credit, because I love doing sight words this way!!  (if you are the creative mind behind this, please leave a comment so I can give credit where credit is due!!)  The sight words are taken from the pre-primer and primer Dolch lists.  They are split up into different color groups, one color for each part of the rainbow (except indigo).  The students study the words in their color group, and when they are able to read all of those words they can color in the matching bar on the rainbow and move up to the next color group.

Everyone starts with a blank rainbow page that they keep for the entire year.  It's nothing that I created, just something I found one day a few years ago when I was surfing around.  I honestly don't even remember where I found it.  I think I did a sear for 'rainbow templates' and this one popped up.  Since it perfectly fit my needs, I have been using it for a few years.

I really like how the color words are printed right inside the bars of the rainbow.  My littles color in each bar as they master that group's words.  I start from the bottom of the rainbow, so the words in the purple group are the easiest and the red words are the hardest.  Every time I test them, I send home a letter to let their grown-ups know which words they know and which they still need to work on. 

The super-creative teacher who thought up the rainbow words activity typed up all these letters in Word and offered them up as a freebie that way, so I am able to edit them to fit my needs (again, I'm SO SORRY I never kept the original link!!) 

While I am working with individual students, the rest of their Guided Reading group will be practicing their words.  My kinders' favorite way to practice is to use their 'Sight Word Laptops' (I can't take credit for that idea, either.  Found it on Pinterest a few years ago and I made my own).  Each student gets a copy of their words as well as a sight word laptop and a dry erase marker and eraser.

Here are my Sight Word Laptops.  They are nothing more complicated than a file folder with a laptop graphic I found and added text to for the outside, and a piece of handwriting paper and a keyboard graphic on the inside.  Once I assembled them, I laminated them.  The students write their words on the handwriting lines and then type them on the keyboard.  They get sight word practice AND keyboarding practice. SCORE!!

I give each student a list of their words that they can refer to while they're using their sight word laptops.  Once I have assessed them, I keep track of their progress on a sheet I whipped up. 

I write the date I tested them on the side and highlight the date, and use that same color to highlight the words they know.  Once they have mastered a group they get to color that bar on their rainbow and I put it back up on the Reading Rainbow Wall.

This is a picture of my 'Reading Rainbow Wall'.  For some reason, I didn't take one in the very beginning of the year (D'oh), so this picture is from early January.  At the beginning of the year, everyone starts out in the purple group and has a blank rainbow on the wall.  They work at their own pace to learn their words, and every time they are able to read them all they move on to the next group.  You can see that, as of this January picture, most of my kinders were only in the first or second group of the rainbow.  Some of them still have not managed to move out of the purple group. 

Every Thursday (or at least ALMOST every Thursday) I assess each student on their words.  I highlight the ones they know and send home the letter to let their grown-ups know their progress.  I assessed them again yesterday, and I was AMAZED at how far they have come with their sight word recognition.  I LOVE to see the excitement in their faces when they conquer a color group, it never ceases to make me smile. 

Look at all those colors!!!  I even have a friend who has mastered all of the color groups and I had to scramble to come up with some more words for her.  She has passed the 'Sun Words' and is now working on the 'Grass Words'.  If she keeps up, she'll be working on 'Cloud Words', 'Flower Words', and 'Pot o' Gold Words'.  I am SO PROUD of how far they have come this year with their sight word recognition, and I just HAD to share it with the blogging world!!

I would LOVE to hear how you tackle sight word recognition in your room!!  I hope you all have an AMAZING weekend, and if I don't get a chance to post again this weekend, know that I will on Monday!!  :-)


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