Sight Words

Sight Words

Sight words also known as high frequency words have become the new math fact drill cards. It is TIME FOR CHANGE. The kill and drill word cards children see on the word wall, in a container to read through, and a teacher showing those words the same way she might show math facts, need a relook. Yes, all that has its place. However, more relevant, fun, and being intentional about who really needs the work on sight words, will give you more time and simplicity in your lesson delivery.

I see many activities on Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers which require A LOT more work for teachers. I’m all about simple and applicable for learning outcomes.

Imagine leaving at the end of the school day without worrying that when you return in the morning you’ll be cutting out 80, thousand word cards, finding a way to store them, display them, and keep them intact for the remainder of the school year!

Imagine students who are your least engaged, least active, least interested reversed!

3 simple ways to teach sight words without extra time, stress, or cursing:

  1. Keep the learning relevant and within context: Within the book preview/picture walk have students locate, point, and say up to 5 sight words you want them to have in their knowledge base. Say, “Find the word would, point to it and say it! Find it fast! These are words you need to know and read fast!” Continue the cycle through the sight words you have included for the lesson. Have students find any sight words from the book in multiple places in the book, wherever they show up. This is woven through the lesson. After reading, have a quick writing activity where the students write those very same sight words, say, “Write would, fast, as fast as you can!” (also provides a dose of fun, let them refer to the book or the list you may have written for additional support as they are learning them because you want to support that easy learning)
  2. Make it fun: Bring in the magnifying glasses from the science room, bring out the froo froo pointers, have the tongue depressors from the nurses office or your craft supplies with and arrow drawn on them for finding those words. Pens, erasers, pencils, straws, spoons, twigs, thin paint brushes or anything really that is slim could be used as a pointer, all while adding a bit of fun to it. And, very little fuss or prep on your part. Simple.
  3. Do not sight words teach unless necessary: There will only be certain students who need sight words woven into their reading lessons. Your top readers, your fluent readers, your strategic readers, your successful readers won’t need this as part of their lesson. Don’t waste your time and energy doing this for them. Focus on the ones who truly need it for more strategic reading!


Have you heard this urban legend about the vowels who go walking?

Have you heard this urban legend about the vowels who go walking?

Phonics rules are the stuff that may drive early literacy teachers to crave carbs, refreshing beverages in quantities like vats, and linguistic experts a pulpit on which to profess.

My personal philosophy on phonics is one that includes threading the work through reading (text and books) and writing (personal and purpose assigned).  However, there are times when teaching skills in isolation, like priming an athlete to increase their speed as a sprinter or to smooth out their strokes as a swimmer.  Marie’s teachings and videos will offer options galore for your literacy tool kit.

The video below explains why you’re wrong when you teach the rule when two vowels go walking – spread the word – it is an urban legend!

When Two Vowels Go Walking

Marie Rippel is my new crush for all things literacy related. I can’t even tell you how I tripped upon her gem offerings! I’m on her email list. I receive regular videos that are to the point and pack a wallop of information to apply immediately in my practice. I love finding an expert who ups my game. Marie does just this through her fun, light, and informative videos.  Her about page which includes a video shares her reasons for her All About Learning Press Business.

Her Facebook business page is an ocean of information that could be applied to your homeschool or classroom.

The video link on the left side All About Learning Press will have you drinking in education like you are in the front row of university level classes to shoot your literacy practice into mastery level gear. Videos include phonics, sounding out words, syllables, books, reading with expression, and a library full more!

As a reading specialist for more than seventeen years, I’m not only getting refreshed but getting my brain infused with even better knowledge!

Marie is of course in business (we are not affiliated) she sells curriculum, currently, on my wish list, I just have to pick out which one!

Even if you’re a linguistic expert from birth you’ll want Marie’s gifts for practical application with your child/ren or students.

Reading Recovery: How your first grader will learn to read and write

Reading Recovery: How your first grader will learn to read and write

Reading Recovery is a diamond in the rough of literacy instruction. Nearly all best literacy practices in schools, when peeled opened, will find Marie Clay’s Reading Recovery intervention at their core.

Reading Recovery is a letters and sounds to reading and writing excellence action full practice that will have your little one reading in a short time, with joy and confidence.

Marie Clay like any bold and brilliant woman created a legacy for this earth. She observed how children learned to read FOR HOURS! Imagine her bill for prescriptions to relieve her headaches! With that work she created Reading Recovery.

Reading Recovery is an ocean deep intervention for first-grade readers. It teaches children how to read and write. It gives children the confidence to read and write. It gives children the tools to actively participate in reading.

Trained Reading Recovery teachers are the most skillful reading teachers on the planet.

With anything practice that is truly phenomenal and worth your while, you’ve got to dig a bit to find this beauty. You don’t land on the best heart surgeon, best price for jewelry, or best mate without some work.  Now that you have landed on this gem set up a call with me and we will figure out how to create a tutoring schedule for your first grader.

[Freebie Inside] How to Teach Reading: Using Books and Baseball

[Freebie Inside] How to Teach Reading: Using Books and Baseball

I love visiting the library to refresh my library!

I love enlisting the help of my families to make the visit to the library (one less thing for my to-do list)!  Plus when families go to the library 3 things happen: 1) they usually bring their child/ren (which means your student, Michael) to explore the library and help select the books 2) Michael then gets invested in reading organically through this action step 3) it leads to organic show and tell happening in the classroom when Michael gets to bring those books to class!

Refresh your library with sports books for the spring! Sports are happening all over around anyhow – embrace the interest and activity that is going on outside of school and bring that joy and fun in!

Click here >>> BASEBALL for your free baseball template! After indulging in books about baseball – Students could write HFW (High-Frequency Words or Sight Words), or content/vocabulary words. Then, play memory, go fish, or create their own original games!

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How to Teach Children to Read: Early Literacy: Building Background

How to Teach Children to Read: Early Literacy: Building Background

For 17 years I grew in my expertise as a literacy specialist.

I remember a distinct planning session with a colleague about building background, (BB is how we labeled it on our lesson plans)

I spent a lot of that year figuring out and identifying just what was BB.

I was working in an urban school, deep in an urban school, if you know what I mean.  There was plenty of poverty, free school lunches, a transient community, struggle, second-language learners, and students who required background knowledge.

Background knowledge is information that is needed in order to access text. It is information teachers must incorporate into lessons, when necessary.

Here are 3 big takeaways for BB.


You must provide an entry to text or books for students who may have little to no idea about the content or ideas in the book you’re about to read.  You’ve got your class or group book selected, it is called, “The Amazing Ocean: Sea Animals that Rule the Deep”  You live in the middle of the United States or in the center of the United Kingdom. You get where I’m going with this…

You’ll want to build entry points to the text through:

1) A video of the ocean with sea life in action (you might even keep this video running) I’ve vetted this one – it is mesmerizing and could give students a real sense of being in the ocean witnessing sea life. Sure to spark conversation.

2) Pictures

3) Book selection with plenty of pictures to spark questions and curiosity; this will offer plenty of discussions to organically BB

4) Your shared experiences of the ocean

5) Families shared experiences of the ocean


Which directly piggybacks on ONE: BB is always on the move, as the literacy teacher to your students, you must continually look down the road to the next read, have your month mapped out, know what kinds of books, conversations, videos, pictures, and home connections you want to have in motion to integrate BB.


If possible, string BB through the content areas.

1) Math: insert ocean vocabulary; orca, squid, whale shark, plankton for example: Instead of Sally has… say or write in, Orca has… (do it, your students will love it!)

2) Science: draw the ocean and or sea life and label the parts or make a life cycle

3) Art or Music: include art or musical activities around sea life, act like sea life

4) Gym: incorporate some ocean language or movement into physical fitness for example: swim like a whale, move like a jellyfish

When you take the time to map out your month, you are better equipped to forward feed the information that will provide better access and successful reading to your students.

You won’t always need to BB.

Be mindful of when BB is needed and warranted to inform students for successful access to text, in a fun, active, and engaging way; across the student’s world – school, home, and social.

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