Now, onto the main reason for this blog post. Almost a month ago, my son took his end of the year kindergarten testing. While he excelled in the math portion and letter recognition, my son had a considerably difficult time with reading...mainly his sight words. The words "held back" were tossed around and it scared the crap out of me! First, I blamed the teacher. Most of my son's homework throughout the year was math homework, she sent home take-home books, but often times didn't change out the books for a week or more. My older daughter's kindergarten teacher was amazing, as a mother, I didn't have to do anything to further her education other than make sure she did her homework, and by the end of kindergarten she could read on her own and knew all of her sight words. I've since learned that I need to stop comparing my kids, obviously my daughter is more right brained (like me) and my son is more left brained (like his father). I also learned that it is not his teacher's fault that he can't read, it's mine. I wasn't near as faithful with reading with my son as I was with my daughter. When my daughter brought home take home books, I would sit down with her and read it to her, and then I would have her read it. Taking time to help and teach her to sound it out.
My life since my daughter was in kindergarten has become considerably busier. I wasn't setting aside time to read WITH my son, rather I was just reading TO him. While I'm sure he enjoyed the time with me listening to books, as did I, he wasn't learning how to read. He wasn't learning the words that I was reading to him. So to help correct my error in teaching my son, to build my son's confidence, and to not hear the words "held back" come out of my son's first grade teacher's mouth, I created "Sight Word City."
After enlisting help on my facebook from friends on how to teach my strong-willed son, a friend suggest a visual aid to help my son see the progress he is making. Well my son is really into super heroes right now. So rather than create an apple tree with sight word apples, I wanted to do something that would appeal to my son to help gain his excitement to learn. So this is what I came up with:
Sorry about the poor picture quality, I took the pictures with my phone since I'm currently unable to find my camera, lol.
The idea behind this city, is to light it on fire! (Not literally, lol, although I'm sure my son would think that pretty cool too, lol)
Once I lit the city on fire, I created the citizens of Sight Word City, and made Sight Word City People for my son, Super Alex, to save!
I had so much fun doing this, and spent so much time on it, that I couldn't imagine NOT sharing it with all of you! We are starting the process of saving the people of Sight Word City today, and this is what I will be doing:
Each day we will choose 4 sight words to work on. I chose the names of the 144 people of Sight Word City by using 2 sets of flash cards given to me by my son's kindergarten teachers. I'm pretty sure you can purchase any sets of sight word flash cards and they will all be the same. The brand of flashcards that we received were A+ brand, we got both 1 & 2 sets of cards. I tried to find them online to purchase, but was only able to find set 2, if you want the link to those, go here.
The four words we choose each day are based off a sight word learning packet that I bought from the Teachers pay Teachers website, there are so many amazing activities offered on that website and I HIGHLY recommend it! Here is the link to the activity packet I chose, but you can choose any other on this incredible website!
So once we have picked our worksheet for the day with our four sight words on it, we will find those four sight words in our flashcards and display them on our Sight Word City board (by the way, I used a trifold post board that I bought at Wal*Mart for a couple of bucks) and then, after the words are on display, I will have my son work on his sight word worksheet for the day, along with a couple of other worksheets that his kindergarten teacher sent home for summer review, and then we will end with reading an easy reader book from the library. I'm still trying to come up with fun ways to really focus on those 4 sight words each day to help him really memorize and recognize the words. I want my son to be excited to tell his dad when he walks in the door from work, the 4 sight words he learned that day, and I want him to be able to remember those 4 sight words even after he learns 4 more the next day.
As he learns the sight words, he gets to save the people of sight word city by moving the people (whom are named by the sight word he learned) and placing them in the safety of the grass fields behind the city. There is also a reward system attached to this as an added motivation for my son to learn. He LOVES to earn money, so I found these punch cards. I printed them off on to colorful card stock, and explained to my son that every time he fills the 24 punch card, he will receive $1.00. He can earn a punch by doing a worksheet, learning a sight word, reading 1 page out of his book, or for doing an activity on his abcmouse.com account (I also highly recommend this website, my son has loved learning on it, and right now they are offering a 30-day FREE trial!)
I hope he enjoys this. I hope I enjoy this! Actually, I just hope that I have the patience to teach my own son, he and I tend to butt heads, so we will see how this goes, I might end up having to beg my patient husband to teach our son! LOL.
Oh, and you might want the links to everything else I got to create this city, huh?
Here is the link to the little super hero boy, but you can always "google images" for superhero boy/girl coloring pages to find one that you like.
Here is the link to city the buildings.
Here is the link to the flames I put on the buildings.
Here is the link to the stick figure people that I turned into the people of Sight Word City. I took each individual person and copy and pasted them into a word program on my computer and sized each one down to about an inch in height so I could fit them in the windows of the buildings in the city.
As for the sight words that I created and taped onto each individual stick figure person, I simply created a 10 column x 14 row table in my word program, used Times New Roman font size 14, and typed in each individual word, printed and cut them out, then taped them to the people.
I hope you enjoy this and I hope you can create your own using the links and info that I provided for you! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!