My students need to know sight words. They are a key step in the reading process. They aren’t the end all be all, but they do play an important role in learning how to read in kindergarten. Here is one mini lesson I do – I call it a warm up activity – with my guided reading groups.
Well, during my guided reading group lessons, I like to focus on all of these skills since they all matter! One easy way is to do a warm-up (or mini lesson) before we get into the main content of our lesson.
The focus of this warm up is to assess and encourage my kinders to learn how to write sight words – not just read them. Some students will naturally be better at this based on their strengths but it is good to practice since we expect them to spell these words correctly in their writing amidst lots of phonetically spelled words at this age.
We use a sight word chant as our basis. What is that? Well, its pretty much our key 24 sight words set to the tune of a march. We use it, practice it and learn it just like we do the alphabet chart everyday.
You can totally get my sight word chart and chant as an instant download and use it tomorrow if you don’t already have one in place.
Since my students can practically recite it by heart, just like they can when singing the alphabet – we now really focus in on building up our fluency of writing these words.
Write Sight Words Fluently Activity
I set the timer app on my phone for 2 minutes. I give them a dry erase mat with pre-made lines (and a plastic page protector cover so they can easily erase with their eraser baby sock). Each horizontal row has the same number of lines that the chant has words. The lines match the color of the words in our chant too.
This blank sight word workmat is for them to write the chant in order and see how far they can get in two minutes.
I want them to write the words in order so that way they can spend time focusing on how to spell the words rather than spend time thinking up words if we just did a “write the words you know how to spell” kind of deal.
We celebrate how many words they each got correct (and how far they got).
We don’t compare their numbers to each others – but I reinforced that they should keep working hard during their reading and writing time because we’ll repeat this activity in a few days.
When we repeat the warm up – we celebrate how many more they get (and they do get more!) since I jot down their numbers in my guided reading binder and remind them of how far they got the time before.
This type of activity was very motivating to my students who were getting this whole ‘reading thing’. I would normally start this activity with a group when they could read roughly 18+ of the words or had them all down.
It was a natural next step from reading the words to learning to write sight words and be proficient at it.
It was also very telling for me which of my students were more or less grapheme inclined. If they seemed to struggle, I knew there was more I could do to help them focus on the way words look and build up their grapheme skills.
If they blew it out of the water or were higher readers to begin with, we could tweak this same activity with the next set of 24 words so that way everyone was always being challenged.
This warm up activity became a thing I’d pull out every couple of weeks, so I stored in a place for easy access. Our guided reading workmats were the perfect place to stash the colored lines template.
Easy to hand out, easy to clean up!
Ready to work on sight words with your kindergartners? I’ve got your back with my Sing to Learn Sight Word Songs – they are easy peasy little songs you already know with lyrics changed to teach your kiddos how to spell and read each word. You’ll get 31 sight word songs, the two charts I mentioned plus more.
I hope that you can use this type of warm up mini-lesson with your kinders who are learning how to read in kindergarten and working to write sight words.
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Want to know what else to keep nearby for warm up lessons? Here is what else you should have for your growing readers.
More Guided Reading
- Spelling Kindergarten Sight Words: A Kinesthetic Way to Learn
- 12 Must-Have Guided Reading Tools to Use in Kindergarten
- Handy Guided Reading Mats for Kindergarten Groups
- Nonsense Words Race Car Reading Activity
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