Using Word Cards to Learn to Read

I think that Sight reading is a great way to help our kids learn to read.   We probably mix sight words with phonics, mixed with several longs days of play outside where we never touch our “school stuff” – I love Spring.   But if you live in one of those parts of the country where the weather is constantly changing, you’ll still have several inside days before spring is here in full force!   It is pretty cold out this morning, time to get those word cards out.   Thanks Erudition for inspiring this post!

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How we used word cards to start learning words?

We take the word cards and work in small batches of say 4-5 cards.   The kids hold the words up and I’ll read the word to them, then we switch and I get to hold the words and they read them.   Then we mix the cards up and practice again.   We add another 4-5 cards and add them to our mix of words.

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After we had about 15 cards in our stack we began laying the cards on the table face up.   I would say the word and the kids would race to see if they could find it.   Or I would ask one of my preschoolers if they could find the word and if they couldn’t the other kiddo would get a chance.   They loved helping each other.   If they guessed the wrong word I told them what it was and they got another chance (or 3) to find the right word.

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If you have more than one set of cards you can play memory with the words.   Can they find the matching words?   This might be a good way for early readers to work on more complicated words as they aren’t being asked to “read” the word, just to match identical words.   Most sight words are not ones that correlate easily to pictures.   Words that are good for kids to learn to read by sight and not phonetically are words like: the, and, is are, they, etc.   However, if you want to branch out into more complicated words.   You can play the matching game where you have an image (say a scrap of yellow paper) and the word “yellow” and have your kids “match” them.

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Practice creating sentences.   Pick up a word and ask your child to say something using that word.   Give them a few ideas if they get stuck.   Once you have learned a couple dozen words, try arranging the cards into sentences and having your child read the cards.

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Letter clothespins.   I can’t remember where I first saw this but you can have your children learn to sort the words by the letter they begin with or by a letter/sound inside the word.   Ex: Let’s find all the words that begin with “B”, or let’s find all the words that have a “Z” in them.   My son especially enjoyed the hands on interaction of clipping the words into his “letter clothespin”.

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Here is a list of over 100 of the most commonly used words.   You can make the cards yourself using three by five cards, or you can do what we did and use the cards that are included in the sight word game Erudition.   The game comes with nearly 300 words and will keep us busy learning and playing for quite some time!

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List of 100 Most Common Site Words:

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The First Hundred

  1. the
  2. of
  3. and
  4. a
  5. to
  6. in
  7. is
  8. you
  9. that
  10. it
  11. he
  12. was
  13. for
  14. on
  15. are
  16. as
  17. with
  18. his
  19. they
  20. I
  1. at
  2. be
  3. this
  4. have
  5. from
  6. or
  7. one
  8. had
  9. by
  10. word
  11. but
  12. not
  13. what
  14. all
  15. were
  16. we
  17. when
  18. your
  19. can
  20. said
  1. there
  2. use
  3. an
  4. each
  5. which
  6. she
  7. do
  8. how
  9. their
  10. if
  11. will
  12. up
  13. other
  14. about
  15. out
  16. many
  17. then
  18. them
  19. these
  20. so
  1. some
  2. her
  3. would
  4. make
  5. like
  6. him
  7. into
  8. time
  9. has
  10. look
  11. two
  12. more
  13. write
  14. go
  15. see
  16. number
  17. no
  18. way
  19. could
  20. people
  1. my
  2. than
  3. first
  4. water
  5. been
  6. call
  7. who
  8. oil
  9. its
  10. now
  11. find
  12. long
  13. down
  14. day
  15. did
  16. get
  17. come
  18. made
  19. may
  20. part

**List was taken From: The Reading Teachers Book of Lists, Third Edition; by Edward Bernard Fry, Ph.D, Jacqueline E. Kress, Ed.D & Dona Lee Fountoukidis, Ed.D. Found on site: Education Watch

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9 Comments

  1. My oldest daughter has been learning to read in kindergarten. But she would love to add more sight words to her repertoire. Her younger siblings would benefit too. We’ll have to try these soon–probably this week!
    .-= Julia´s last blog ..Creative Ways to Have Fun with Toilet Paper =-.

  2. Great ideas! I have heard about this game before and I really should purchase it for my daughter!
    .-= Jenny´s last blog ..stART: I’m A Manatee =-.

  3. These activities are great. I like the sorting idea you shared with the clothespins. It would be fun to sort according to some phonic rules. I can imagine teaching some simple rules and patterns with sight words. Only a few at a time and then doing some sorting.

    Example: we, be, go, and no follow the pattern: CV – in a consonant vowel pattern the vowel is usually long. (The word “do” does not follow this pattern.)

    Check out this post and look for links to some free phonic rule resources at the end of the post. http://beginningreadinghelp.blogspot.com/2009/11/teach-phonics-before-sight-words.html
    .-= Michelle Breum´s last blog ..What I Learned From A Second Grader =-.

  4. Many great ideas here! Thanks for sharing; I am compiling some summer activities for my son as we await kindergarten.

    🙂

  5. Hi there, i run a childcare from my home, I’m in the UK so these would be brilliant as we tend to spend a lot of days in the house cos we get such horrid weather.
    How old are your kiddies as my daughter is about to turn 3 and have thought about doing these with her as well as the other children I look after and just adjust it to their ages

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