Monday, November 7, 2011

Pick a Card, Any Card

Here are my memories from kindergarten: distinguishing myself by preferring white milk over chocolate, sitting on the rug and talking about the weather, going into the little classroom bathroom once and finding poop on the seat, being part of the group with the gold folders, hearing my teacher say she was "ready for my golden girls and boys," and calling my teacher at home to tell her that my new baby sister had just been born.
I don't remember learning any sight words in kindergarten and that may be the reason why one of my memories of first grade involves having one of the thickest stacks of sight word flashcards. It could be that kindergarteners in 1980 did not learn sight words.
Kindergarteners in 2011 do learn sight words, which I think is fantastic. Bub is so eager to learn to read, and watching him on this journey is one of the most rewarding and exciting parts of parenthood so far.
We were given a list of sight words for each quarter at the start of the year and some suggestions for helping our children learn them. One of the tips was to play games like Memory and Go Fish with the words. I bought a package of index cards at Walgreens and made two cards for each word. What I found was that the index cards were a bit too big for these games. When we played Memory, the cards took up too much room on the table. When we tried Go Fish, Bub couldn't manipulate all the cards in his hand.
One easy solution? Take the index cards left in the package, cut each in half, and make a new set of smaller, easier to handle cards.
Feel free to stop reading at this point.
* * *
I got it in my head that it would be so great to play Memory and Go Fish with the sight words if they were on actual playing cards. So, here goes.

Materials Needed: list of sight words appropriate to your child's grade level, computer/printer (though you could handwrite if you wish), full-sheet labels, playing cards, scissors, plastic container

1. Type the sight words (each word twice) in a large, easy-to-read font. I used three columns and typed eight words per page, but there may be more efficient ways to arrange your document if you did more measuring.
2. Print on full-sheet labels (these are labels the size of a piece of printer paper -- available at any office store). Cut each word out (tedious).
3. Pull the sticky back off each word off (more tedious) and stick that word on the face of a playing card. Since I did not measure precisely, some words did not fully cover the original face of the card but this does not seem to matter.
4. Shuffle and play Memory with your sight word cards.
Memory is my favorite even though Bub clobbers me every time. And, yes, he has a pencil attached to his shirt collar.
5. Play Go Fish with the sight word cards.
6. Store in a little plastic container (could use the cardboard boxes to sort by level).
Things to Consider:
* if your child's sight words are sorted by quarter or level, you may consider using different colors of ink for each level.
* these sight word cards would be a great way to re-use playing cards from an incomplete deck -- be aware that it might make sense to make sure words from the same quarter/level are adhered to the playing cards from the same deck
* you don't need to throw out the Jokers as they just get covered
* you can buy a two-pack of playing cards at the dollar store for ... a dollar!
* probably best to make playing these games totally optional and not a chore/obligation

Remember that I said you could stop at this (* * *) point? Just checking. There are tons of great ways to learn and review sight words that don't involve cutting and adhering full sheet labels. I'm just sharing something we've had fun with at our house in case the project appeals to you.
I do this kind of stuff because I enjoy this kind of stuff. I think Bub gets a kick out of having the words on actual playing cards, and I don't regret the extra time and effort it took to assemble them. Bub and I both genuinely enjoy playing cards with the sight words. When the second quarter began, Bub knew all the second quarter words (NTB) just from playing these games a couple times a week.
Fun and learning together? Win-Win. I'll play those cards. Deal me in. I'll bet on that. A winning combination however you shuffle the deck. Okay, I'm stopping now.
Any sight word tips or success stories in your house?


Heather said...

This a GREAT idea! I remember doing something like this with Elijah and Isabel when they were little. Now that Gabe is here, his siblings teach him more than me. He does his homework so much better with Isabel playing the "teacher", rather than when I am the one helping. I remember being the same way with my older sister, who taught me to read when I was four. I'll bet that Bub will be the teacher to his little sis someday, too!

E... said...

We've played Bingo with ours -- I finally found a free bingo generator online, and O. plays caller and helps N. with her card.
O. also enjoys typing his on my computer, spelling them with scrabble tiles and playing Go Fish with our index card ones. (You are all set up for this game with your Memory deck!)
Yours look great!!

Alison said...

Love it! L has to do site words in Pre-K. What ever happened to the Letter People? That is what we did in Kindergarden at Sycamore. To be honest I showed them to my kids on you-tube one day.

Anonymous said...

How creative! I also played memory with the sight words, though I just cut index cards to smaller sizes. I know my Little Man learned a lot by playing games.

I also let him play on, which used a lot of the same sight words.

I love doing stuff like this, too!

PITA said...

Great ideas! The aunt and the teacher in me, loves the look on Bub's face. I get to see it all the time, but it still amazes me when the pieces come together and kid starts to read! GO MEP and GO BUB!

Stacia said...

White milk over chocolate?? Oh, MEP, I'm not sure we can be friends anymore. But that is the cutest little boy with a pencil clipped to his collar ever. Okay, we can be friends.

And reading! Yay! Yay for reading!

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