The “sight” in Sightword refers to the ability of the child to recognize the word instantly on sight, without the need to sound it out. The child who reaches this level can already sound out each word and, in fact, must do so to learn the word. The Sightword Worksheets are not surrogate flash cards whose purpose is to cause the child to memorize words for instant parroting on demand. Rather, they have as their purpose allowing the child to internalize a basic vocabulary of words that he or she can read and write quickly and with ease.
Knowledge of—as opposed to memorization of—a basic set of words gives the child an extensive writing vocabulary for use in his or her creative writing activities. A child who can already spell words like “the”, “is”, “and”, “we”, “they”, “with”, “on”, “can”, “down”, “all”, “from”, and so on, without having to stop and think about spellings, finds it much easier to write out what he or she wants to say. Conversely, a child who must ask for assistance with even the most basic words spends so much time thinking about how to write and spell the words in the story that he or she can quickly lose track of what it was he or she wanted to say.
The Sightword Worksheets present one-hundred sixty-one different words over four different levels of activity. The four levels are given letter designations from A to D. The A level worksheets contain words that make use of only the first or white spellings for the sounds on the Decoding Chart. The B level uses all of the spellings including the double-star spellings. The C level adds silent letters and their spelling codes. The C level also introduces “outlaw” words – words for which the Chart cannot produce a spelling.
For an explanation of outlaw words and how the child learns to spell them, click on the Outlaw Words button in the menu bar above.
The D level combines the A, B and C levels, mixing words made up of just first spellings with words using any spellings and words containing silent letters.
Each time a child completes two levels (for example, A-1 level part one, A-1 level part two, A-2 level part one, A-2 level part two), the child is tested on the ten words just learned. To take the test, the child selects the test that matches the completed worksheet levels (for example, the child selects A level tests and then chooses the A level 1 and 2 test).
The test page contains ten buttons numbered appropriately 1 through 10. Pressing each button plays one of the ten words presented in the two just completed levels of the Sightword Worksheets. The child presses each numbered button in turn and, using his or her Decoding Chart for the spellings, writes the spellings for each word beneath its numbered button.
When the test is complete, the child shows the ten written words to his or her parent or teacher to be checked. A score of one-hundred percent means that child may begin the next two levels of the worksheets. Anything less than one-hundred percent, even if the child misses only one word, means the child must repeat the worksheets just finished and try the test again on another day.
The parent or teacher can check the child’s test either by listening along with the child during the test or by using the answers provided on the downloadable test pages.
The words in red on the answer pages are ones that are spelled more than one way: to and two, no and know, their and there, here and hear and so on. The child must know which word is which for the test being taken. In addition, “don’t” is in red, so the parent knows to teach the child that an apostrophe is to be added to this special word. The Sightword Worksheets are not set up to teach apostrophes.
A child who does not pass a test the first time learns quickly that there is more to completing the worksheets than simply writing out the spellings for the sounds. The child must also use the sounds to read the word that he or she is writing, to know what the words are for the test.
There are two new instructions to be given. First, the numbers beneath the sound images indicate how far down to count on the Decoding Chart to see which spelling to use. Second, counting starts at the white spelling. Some children initially think the yellow spelling is number one because it's the first color that they notice.
The C level also adds in Outlaw Words. Before a child can write the spelling of an Outlaw Word, the child's parent will have to download the Outlaw Words beginning list.Click here to download a beginning list of Outlaw Words
Because there are only three C levels, the 10 buttons on C level 3 test play that level's words two times each.