Letter Name Recognition
Some readers have a tough time identifying letter names. Others have a tough time remembering specific letters. The more readers practice stating the name of letters, the better they become. It’s important to offer frequent opportunities to practice naming letters. If students don’t master the names of letters, they will have a tough time reading and writing. The quicker they can recognize all letters, the sooner they will become confident readers and writers.
I got this tape from Target over the summer. It is perfect for a quick set up of a literacy center. Lay down the tape and then put out some letters for students. They will then pick a letter and lay it under the matching letter on the tape. Each time a reader picks a letter, she should say the letter name (or sound, if that’s what she needs help with). That’s it! This can be done over and over until all letters are known.
It may also help to use different letter tiles for vowels. Since vowels can be extra tricky for some readers, making them stand out is helpful. Place the vowel letters down in a different section for readers to choose from. This may help them be more successful in naming the letters!
Sight Word Recognition
It is just as important for readers to recognize sight words. The more words they know, the more likely they will feel confident as they read. They will also have less of a struggle getting through their texts. Practicing sight words out of context is important. (It’s also critical to practice sight words in context, of course.) One way to practice out of context is to have readers make their own word wall reference page. Even if readers are copying words down from the classroom word wall, they’re still getting good practice with each word.
Creating Personal Word Walls
Using the same tape from Target and some bright card stock, have readers create their own word walls. By having their own word wall kept at the Guided Reading table or within their own folders, they take ownership of those words. When students take ownership, they’re proud of themselves and do better.
Put the tape on the color paper of each student’s choice. Then have them start writing words they know under each letter. Using your classroom word wall as a reference, encourage readers to read the words aloud as they write them. Once complete, readers can swap their pages and try to read their partner’s words. Every week, you can take a few minutes for readers to add new words they know to their personal word walls.
Allow readers to use fun pencils/markers to write the words. Let them use fun pointers when practicing reading the words. This will increase engagement which leads to more words learned.
Personal Word Wall Extension Activities
As a follow up, have readers find their sight words in their texts. This is one way to extend their ‘out of context’ knowledge to ‘in context’ recognition. Simply ask readers to show you three words that they found in their text that day.
One more step is to have readers then write these words on a post it note. They can then share those three words with another reader to show what they know. This again, makes them proud of their work as they take ownership of their words.