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  1. #1
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    Default Experiences with Sight Words at prep?

    Just wanted to hear some experiences on how different schools handle teaching the Sight Words in Prep. How are the 100 most frequent words taught at your school, i.e. are they periodically tested? Do the kids automatically get new word lists when they're "done" with the easier ones?

    The background is that the school our preppie goes to in theory teaches the sight words, but in practise they never seem to test them and you almost have to beg for a new list when the child already knows them well and wants to progress.

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    DD1 was in prep last year and a few weeks into term 1 we had a parents night where the teacher gave us all a poster. It had gold, red, blue, indigo and orange words. In her communication book the teacher would send home the words for the day/week which we were to teach our DD. She would also be tested them in class and the teacher would move on to more when they were ready.

    If you are having problems knowing which sight words then google 'Oxford word list' it's a list of over 300 words that your child will need to learn and spell half of them by end of year 1.

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    The words are broken up into levels and are color coded

    As a child memorises the set of words and is 'tested', a new set is given

    I despise this method of teaching

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    My DD is in kindy NSW. She gets sight words sent home on a Tuesday which I do with her each night. She takes them back the following Tuesday and her teacher tests her on them. If she gets them all right then she brings home a new colour the same day. She also gets an award!

    I'm very proud. She came running out of her class this week yelling that she got her green words

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    Quote Originally Posted by WorkingClassMum View Post
    The words are broken up into levels and are color coded

    As a child memorises the set of words and is 'tested', a new set is given

    I despise this method of teaching
    Just wondering why you dislike it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by thepouts View Post
    Just wondering why you dislike it?
    I hate whole word learning - I prefer sounding out.

    A child can learn for example 'bird' and 'throw' by memory but lacks the skill to work out how to pronounce 'third'.

    Schools start with the whole word learning, but then switch to spelling rules around about Grade 5ish - which clashes with whole word learning.

    I have watched both my son struggle with switching from whole word learning to spelling rules and we then spent a year going back to 1970's basics - sounding words out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WorkingClassMum View Post
    I hate whole word learning - I prefer sounding out.

    A child can learn for example 'bird' and 'throw' by memory but lacks the skill to work out how to pronounce 'third'.

    Schools start with the whole word learning, but then switch to spelling rules around about Grade 5ish - which clashes with whole word learning.

    I have watched both my son struggle with switching from whole word learning to spelling rules and we then spent a year going back to 1970's basics - sounding words out.
    It's funny you mention that...my DD cannot sound a word out if she does not know it which I am finding difficult at times when going through her sight words with her.

    She can say the sound the word starts with but that's it.

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    Ds1 repeated prep and is now in year one, in QLD.

    Sight words in prep were color coded, 10 to a page, and each page glued in a book. They would practice a page (so 10 words) for a week and then moved on to the next list. His teacher would go back regularly though to go over words previously learnt.

    At our school more emphasis is put on sounding out and learning to recognise the letter and sound it makes than actually just committing a whole word to memory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WorkingClassMum View Post
    I hate whole word learning - I prefer sounding out.

    A child can learn for example 'bird' and 'throw' by memory but lacks the skill to work out how to pronounce 'third'.

    Schools start with the whole word learning, but then switch to spelling rules around about Grade 5ish - which clashes with whole word learning.

    I have watched both my son struggle with switching from whole word learning to spelling rules and we then spent a year going back to 1970's basics - sounding words out.
    Yes! I totally agree! I had been teaching DD to read at home. Reading good old Dr Seuss - full of nonsense words that require sounding out! And she was doing brilliantly! But since starting prep she stops whenever she gets to an unfamiliar word and doesnt attempt sounding out anymore because her teacher tells her not to! She says look at the picture and guess what the word might be!! Grrrr!!!!

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    I am a trainee teacher and have just finished a 2 week placement in Prep.

    We have been using a combination of ways to teach the kids.

    They do have the sight words in their reading folder but these do not operate just by themselves. The kids have readers that are level based and by reading these with their parents they are also seeing the sight words again (and in context).

    In class...we introduce new words (from the sight words list) through out the term. We use different methods but in the group we use a lot of sounding out. Sounding out is a really important thing...but having the sight words helps with this too. ie their sight word is "an" and then we look at the word "stand"...by covering the letters as we go and revealing in parts...their sight word helps them see the sound "an" in the bigger word.

    Just because they are called sight words...does not mean you should not be helping them sound them out. Just like when they are doing their readers...helping them sound out and decode the text is part of helping them. We also use a reading system of 4 steps:

    look at the picture
    does it make sense (guess the word)
    get your mouth ready (just look at the first letter)
    sound it out

    A good prep/kindy program will approach reading from lots of different angles and be using lots of different strategies to help the kids get to where they need to be. It's not just remembering the words...if they can do that...then help them use the words in sentences and in different tenses etc and make sure their knowledge is comprehensive. It is not a race to see who knows the most words first...a broad knowledge of word usage and reading tools will serve them better.

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