Today I would like to tell you a story – it’s about a young teacher, moving to a country school, 2 hours away from anywhere she had been before. She was teaching Grade 5, then the next year Grade 4 – both years were a great start to a teaching career, she and the children had fun, but the classroom lacked routine – and lots of solid assessment that lead to better teacher. Then this teacher taught Prep (kindergarten) and things changed…. assessment of letters, sounds, words all became important! This teacher is of course me! Following my country school experience I spent two years in the US then back to Australia to teach Grade 1. My big concentration since those first 2 years have been doing meaningful assessment that guides my teaching and provides evidence I need to know!
The school I teach at uses Oxford Words to measure the growth children make in their early years reading and spelling sight words. Oxford Words are basically just sight words, but have been put in the order of the words children most commonly use. So “I” is obviously the first word, followed by “the, and, to, a, was, my, went” etc.
When I was teaching Grade 1, I put together sets of bingo (6 cards per group of 20 words – perfect for small literacy groups), flashcards and an assessment record. My school was, at the time, very conscious with using Victorian Cursive as font. I have altered these documents and uploaded them to my TpT and TM stores for instant download for teachers who need more stability in teaching Sight Words.
Even if you don’t use “Oxford Words” at your school, you would easily be able to use these – they are simply words, but in a specific order!
I have also uploaded flashcards of each word from 1-200. There are 20 words per page. I used these as whole sheets for in class identification, testing and sending home for practise. I also laminated and cut up sets and used them for games. The children loved playing “Oh No” and “Crash” – everything you need to play these games, including instructions, are included in the pack.
The very last thing I uploaded was my assessment checklist. This includes words 1-200 with space for children’s names below. Each month or so (depending on children need) I would test children on their sight words at their appropriate level. I would colour in the corresponding box on the checklist when they confidently read the word. Each time I tested, I used a different colour to show the progress children made across the year. Then it was easy to group children together who knew similar words and needed to know others. It also looked impressive when I was asked how I assess sight words!