short changing?

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So, Since I came back online (and to blogging) I’ve been reading all the blogs I follow to get updates.  By the time I got through reading, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was short-changing my kids!  Apparently, some pre-k children are reading by the time the year is over!  Reading!  I never thought this was possible!  But apparently it is.  And so I started wondering if I wasn’t holding my kids back by not offering them more.  It’s not mandated where I live to expect pre-k children to read or do anything more then know their letters.  But, if I have children who already know their letters in the beginning of the year should I be introducing more complex things like sight words or blends?

I went to a conference this spring about literacy and the presenter said she introduces sight words to her pre-k students at the start of the year and continues to introduce a new word every 2 or 3 weeks.  She said that some of her students will pick up on sight words before letters because to read a sight word does not mandate that you need to know every letter within the word.  She also introduces blends later in the year.  I’ve read on other blogs that teachers don’t introduce them until after Christmas to ensure that the children are ready.

So, I’m thinking it wouldn’t hurt to introduce sight words to my class next year.  See how it goes.  Problem is, I don’t know how to introduce a sight word!  Do I just make a flashcard of the sight word I want to introduce and show it to the kids? Do I make a big production of it?  Keep it simple?  What kind of follow-up activities do I need to do?  What words do I start with?  So many questions!  It’s getting a bit overwhelming to think of – but I’d like to give it a try!  If anyone has any thoughts, please share them with me!  I want to be as informed as possible – thanks!  🙂

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About deepbluetide

I am a pre-kindergarten teacher at a private christian school. I work mornings with 4 year olds (most of whom enter my class in July still being 3 - they're babies!) and then in the afternoon work "daycare" - which is basically my own class combined with 5 year old children. One things for sure - it's never dull! I had no idea growing up I would be teaching pre-k today! It took me totally off guard - but in the end I wouldn't change a thing! I have worked with children whose age range is 6 weeks through 12 years. In the end I have decided that my current age group is my favorite! And in case you were wondering - all names mentioned are changed to protect the identities of those involved. Enjoy!

8 responses »

  1. I teach preschool also and have wondered how to introduce sight words as well. We did some “reading” this year but it wasn’t very successful and I’m wondering how to do this better… I’m interested to hear what others have done.

  2. I use a wide variety of methods to introduce sight words to my students, but I think the most important thing is to keep it FUN by using a multi-sensory approach and incorporating all the different modalities of learning. Young children will naturally pick up on some sight words if you use a morning message and word(name) wall consistently. Although we don’t formally introduce sight words until January most of our students know at least 4 words by December from the daily morning message, words such as “the”, “is”, “to”, “a”, and “I”. At Camp Literacy I will be presenting two sessions on these topics, one is called Little Kids CAN Read and the other is Sight Word Tips and Tricks. http://www.pre-kpages.com/registration/

    • I totally wished I lived in Texas right now because I would go to Camp Literacy! That sounds like exactly what I need! Too bad there won’t be a webcast of your sessions! Have fun presenting! 🙂

  3. We introduce sight words by having a teacher draw a story at least twice a week labeling the pictures (me, mom, dad, dog, cat) and adding simple sentences at the bottom. I invite students up to “read” the picture. Of course they read the pictures, not the sentence, and of course they are only retelling what they remember of my story tell. I support the oral language not the “reading.” But by the end of the year, they have begun to label their own pictures, pick out some words from the sentence and are more accurately matching letters and sounds in their own picture writing. It is amazingly successful and more productive than flash cards.

  4. Don’t worry! Your preschoolers don’t need to know how to read! When preschoolers learn how to read in my class, it’s because they’re ready, and their parents and I have given them the tools they need to put it all together. But I never expect my class to be able to read.

    We talk about all the things we do (letter names, letter sounds, rhyming, reading terrific books, etc.) and we talk about how our job in preschool is to be ready to read in kindergarten.

    I haven’t done sight words in preschool. I do point out a few words (the, is, etc.) that they see often in my morning message and in big books. I also put our big letter cards together to sound out words like cat, mat, hat, etc. The kids think that is pretty cool when they use their knowledge of letter sounds to read a word — we start doing it as soon as we’ve got enough letters to make a word — and they then understand the purpose of learning the letters.

    • like you, i don’t expect my children to learn to read either! but, like you mentioned, each year i feel i have children who are ready for that step – i just don’t know exactly how to get them there! if i did introduce sight word to my class, i would NEVER expect ALL the children to pick up on them and read them! i only want to give it as an option to those who are ready – that’s all! 🙂 but you have given me some great ideas – thank you!

  5. This is why I love Kiri! I agree completely…it’s not developmentally appropriate for us to expect four year olds to read. Just because they can doesn’t mean it’s developmentally appropriate, or that it’s the best use of the Pre-K teachers time. I focus more on literacy within the context of loving books; letter knowledge that is contextual, not isolated (ie, tied to things they know, their own names, their parent’s names, etc); and focusing on phonological awareness (rhyming, knowledge of letter sounds). Those are research-supported keys to early literacy, not drilling sight words with flashcards!

    • i don’t use flashcards in my class – i agree with you that drilling using flashcards is a waste of time in pre-k! 🙂 but i have never really taken the time to single them out during our morning message or big book time. also, i don’t expect any of my kids to read, nor do i intend to teach reading to them. It’s just that i have children who know all their letters and sounds very early on in the school year and they always get bored and start acting out because, although they enjoy the games and projects, they seem to want more – and i was wondering what i could do to give it to them – to challenge them with something…that’s all! 🙂

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