Grade 1
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What Are Sight Words?
rw1Sight words are the most commonly used words in the English language, ranked in order of frequency. The first 25 words make up about one-third of all printed material in English! The first 100 words make up about one-half of all written material, and the first 300 words make up about sixty-five percent of all written material in English. The best way to learn high frequency words is directly through reading, so please encourage your child to read, read, read!

Playing games with sight words is a good way to offer your child more exposure to these words. Some children remember a word after only a few exposures to it, while others might need dozens of exposures. There are children who need to see a word hundreds of times in order to remember it. All learners are different--no one is the same!

Learning sight words should be fun, not tedious work. Engage your child by turning sight word practice into a game. Some kids love seeing  how many words they can accurately read in a minute--for those children, use a timer to create an extra challenge. For others, playing a game with their words is more fun. Exposure to high frequency words doesn't have to mean boring drill work--be creative!  

Please check out the Spelling City website which is listed under the "favorite links" and you will see they have added a vocabulary category and the students can now test their knowledge and play games with the dolch sight word lists.  There are 2 for the first grade level.  Try it, you'll like it.

rw2A Great Article for Parents
If daily reading begins in infancy, by the time the child is five years old, he or she has been roughly fed 900 hours of brain food!

Reduce that experience to just 30 minutes a week and the child's hungry mind loses 770 hours of nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and stories.

A kindergarten student who has not been read aloud to could enter school with less than 60 hours of literacy nutrition. No teacher, no matter how talented, can make up for those lost hours of mental nourishment.

30 minutes daily: 900 hours
30 minutes weekly: 130 hours
Less than 30 minutes weekly: 60 hours

[Source: U.S. Dept. of Education, America Reads Challenge. (1999) "Start Early, Finish Strong:  How to Help Every Child Become a Reader." Washington, D.C. ]

When A Child Comes To An Unknown Word
Often adults tell a child to “sound out” an unknown word.  Frequently, that prompt is successful and the word is decoded. When sounding out doesn’t work, adults usually tell the word and reading continues.

However, our goal is to help children become independent readers. Here are some alternative suggestions for parents or “homework helpers” to use when your child confronts an unknown word:
· Wait 5-10 seconds to see what attempts are made by the child.  Ask:  “What makes sense there?”
· Use the picture to help figure out the word.
· Skip the word and continue reading to the end of line or sentence.
· Go back and read sentence again.
· If the word was on a previous page, go back and try to find it.
· Look for a smaller word in a big one (and in sand).
· Cover the ending (-ed, -ing) with your finger and try the word.
· Look how the word begins.  Let the sound “pop” right out.
· Help with blending (sounding it out).
· Tell the word and keep on reading.

It is important that children learn to use these strategies independently. When your child “figures out” a word, you might ask how he/she did it. Telling about their reading helps to reinforce learning.

rw3Just Right Books
A book that is “just right” is one that your child can read independently. It is not too hard and it is not too easy.  It’s a good fit – it’s “just right.”

One way to help your child choose such a book is to use:
· The Five Finger Rule:  while reading the first page of a book, count the unknown words (using fingers to keep track is fine).  If there are five or more, the book is too hard for now. Read that book together!
The Academy of
St. James of the Marches
400 Totowa Road
Totowa, NJ, 07512




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The Academy of St. James
400 Totowa Road, Totowa, New Jersey 07512
Phone: 973.956.8824
Fax: 973.956.9430