Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"Wintery Mix" Sight Words Practice

One of the thrills of being the parent of a kindergartner is watching him begin to take off in reading. I love hearing him work at sounding out words and being excited when he recognizes a word. His classroom teachers take both a phonics and whole word approach to teaching reading, which means each week they sound home both the letters/sounds they are working on and a few sight words for the week.

Sight words are primarily common words that are also tricky to sound out. You can find some examples of common kindergarten sight words here, although there are many different lists out there.

As a parent I can support his learning by giving him chances to read and write his school words at home. Over the break we came up with this fun alternative to writing with pencil and paper: using epsom salts on the light table. 
Light Table
3 to 4 cups Epsom Salts
Sight word cards (either homemade or store bought) 
Tray or shallow container for holding the Epsom Salts

I love finding more ways for us to use our Light Table, especially during this darker time of year, and this activity matched the dark weather of a wintery afternoon last week: sleet, snow, and even a little rain. 

I used a clear, shallow tupperware container that usually holds our scissors and hole punches. Into it I added several cups of Epsom salts. I placed the container onto the light table. Big Brother was instantly intrigued and started drawing pictures in the salt. 

I then added in the sight word cards and encouraged him to try writing some words. Our sight word pack came from the dollar store, and has many of the words his teachers have been using with him. 

If we didn't have a card for a word on his list, I read it aloud and we talked about the word. I then helped him spell it out if he didn't remember. 

Big Brother really enjoyed practicing his words in this tactile, visual, and fun way. We will definitely return to it more this winter as he comes home with new words to tackle. 

*Please note, as with all of our activities, you should only do what you feel your children are able to developmentally take on. Because this is a salt, I did make sure Big Brother and I talked about not eating it and not touching eyes, etc. while using it. However I could trust he would follow through with that. As with all of our activities, I recommend some level of supervision with this project. 

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