Tutor-to-Tutor: Making sight words interesting

The, of, and, a, to!

Those words don’t exactly stir the heart.  One of the first steps for a beginning reader on the path to coping better at work, reading their mail and supporting their kids in school is putting some time and effort into recognizing the most common words on sight.  Often time spent drilling these words can feel like a chore.

One of our tutors, Margaret Stuhr, was working on the Fry List of most common sight words with her beginning reading student and came up with a creative way to make practicing these words more interesting than just flipping through flashcards.  She created sentences and stories built mainly out of the Fry words. 

For example, the following sentence comes from the group of sentences about the first 50 words:

What is your name?

The first three words are bold because they are in the first 50 words of the Fry List.  “Name” is also on the Fry List, in the 2nd hundred words, so it’s a good word to be practicing.  It’s not bolded here, because this group of sentences is meant to focus on the first 50 words. 

Click here to try these materials out with your learners.  There are sets of sentences for the first 50 words and the first 100 words as well as two stories for the first 100 words, “To Write or not to Write” and “Water, Water, Water”.

This is the first post in what we hope will be an ongoing series where tutors share about their tutoring experiences, Tutor-to-Tutor. Thanks to Margaret for letting us share her experience with sight words today. You might want to share about successes or struggles you had tutoring, materials that you really like or tricks and techniques that work for you.

To share your tutoring experiences with other tutors, please E-mail a draft of what you’d like to share to Josh Anderson (janderson [at] waukeganpl [dot] info), Janet Wigodner (jwigodner [at] waukeganpl [dot] info) or Laura Sherwood (lsherwood [at] clcillinois [dot] edu). We want the blog to be a venue for sharing, feedback and collaboration amongst tutors.

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