Your Students can Learn 100 Sight Words!

Can your students really learn 100 sight words in a year in Kindergarten? YES, they can! Today, I am going to share the sight word program that I have used the past 5 years in Kindergarten. And 90% of my students every year have learned over 100 words! The best part- it only takes 5 minutes a day to do!

Even though my students are only required to learn 50 sight words, the first grade curriculum is a big jump. In order to help accommodate that jump, and make sure my students are ready for 1st Grade, I include over 100 sight words on the Kindergarten sight word list. I know that this seems like A LOT, but they don't HAVE to learn all 100something words. However, most DO learn 100something words! This Read the Rainbow Sight Word program motivates my students to learn their sight words.



The whole purpose of this program is to allow students the time they need to learn their sight words. Some students learn their sight words quickly, while others may need more time. And that’s OKAY! All students learn at different paces so this sight word program is perfect for all classrooms.

How to make your sight word list:
The first thing I do is create a sight word list using a mixture of curriculum words, Dolch, and Fry sight words. Most Kindergarten curriculums have between 20 and 40 words. I put one or two words in each list. That way, my students are learning the curriculum sight words as we come to each unit and week number.

Then, I look at the Dolch and Fry lists and add words throughout my sight word list. I use easy words like "see" and "am" in the beginning of the year, and add tougher words like "they" and "find" towards the end. I also add in a color word to each list. This sight word master list has 6 words per list and 3 lists per color, which totals 144 words. I know that is way over the 100 words in a year, however, I include 36 "challenge" words- the purple and pink lists. Some students fly through sight words and need more of a challenge, so these lists are for them. About half of my students end the year either working on the challenge words or finishing the whole list.

Here is what my sight word list looks like once I add all the words:
If you want to make things REALLY easy, you can find the Read the Rainbow Sight Words product at my TPT store here. You just type in your words and it autofills the flashcards for you! It took me 10 minutes to create a list and flashcards for the whole year. Of course, you could make your own list, but I did all the work for you!

Sight word rings
Now it's time to make sight word flashcards! There are 6 per list and they are held together with a binder ring. My students keep their current sight word flashcards set in their pencil box inside their desk. They do not take them home, although you may let your students take them home.

You will need:
•Read the Rainbow Sight Words file with your words inputed into the master sight word list
•Colored Astrobrights paper
•Small 1/2 inch binder rings (enough for each student to have one)
•Something to store them in
•Laminating sheets and laminator (or access to your school laminator)

How to prep:
1. Print flashcards on colored Astrobrights paper. This makes it easy to see what color each student is currently on.
2. Laminate the whole page. If you want these flashcards to last for a few years- LAMINATE! I used my personal laminator (because it's a little thicker than the standard school laminators) and my flashcards are still in great condition 3 years later. Yeah, this picture is 2 years old... so my flashcards, as seen below,  have lasted through 2 classes and can be used next school year.
3. Cut the flashcards out. Using a paper cutter makes things go MUCH faster!
4. Put a hole punch in the upper left corner of each flash card.
5. Use a binder ring to connect them together.

How to store sight words:
Clearly, your students will not all be on the same list. I make sure to print an entire class set of the Red flashcards, because your students will all probably start on Red. If you have some advanced students, you can start them on a different color if they already know some sight words. I prep about 5 sets of flashcards per list.

I separate each complete list with a paperclip, like this:
Then, I put the lists in a sandwich size baggie and label it with the color and list number. These get stored in a Sterlite bin, so I can just close the lid and store wherever.

Read the Rainbow Sight Word Program
Like I said above, this program is designed to have your students learn sight words at their own speed. In order to keep track of your students progress, you will need to have some form of data tracking.

Here is what I use:
Before I give out their first list, I pre assess all my students to see if they know any sight words. I usually have a few students that I may start on a later list because they already know some of the words. I use my master list and highlight the words they know. This list gets added to their data binder and I use it to test them on all the sight words after each quarter. I use a different color highlighter every time I test them, so that way I can see their progress.
My students get their first sight word list and I send home a white paper copy along with a parent letter explaining the program. I have my students keep their sight word ring in their desk, and they use the white paper copy to practice at home.

You can decide when/how often/how you will test your students sight word progress. I use this tracking sheet to keep track of where my students are at all times. This is a great tool if you need a quick data check- to see what students may be falling behind or struggling with their sight words.
Here's how it works in my classroom:
I preselect two days a week that we do sight word practice. I call it practice instead of testing because students are always open to practice but may be nervous when its a "test". We do sight words first thing in the morning, while my students are working in their Morning Work Binder. One of those days, I make sure to call every student to my desk and the other I just ask who is ready for their new sight words list and only test those students. All of my students get their one on one sight word practice with me at least once a week.

I call a student up to my table. They bring their own sight word ring to me. (I have them take it out when they get to their desk in the morning, that way they can come to my table quickly.) I flip through the words giving the student only 3 quick seconds to read the word. If they have to sound it out, I let them, but they do not pass unless they know every word by SIGHT. If they do not pass I encourage them with a high five and give them a sticker or stamp and send them back to their desk with their sight word ring. Since this is just "practice", the students don't feel like they are failing a test. They just think they are practicing with their teacher.

If a student knows all the words on the ring quickly and fluently- they pass that list! I color in the little square next to their name, and grab their next flashcard set. I unhook the binder ring, put it on the new set and then put away their old list. I take a paper copy of their new list, write their name at the top, then they put it in their cubby to take home. Their parents will know they passed their sight word list once they see a new one come home.

Sight Word Data with Rainbows
I have a wall with their sight word progress in the form of a rainbow. Once they passed all 3 lists with a color, they would get to put up that color band on their rainbow. This would work great if your school requires you to have a data wall.

Also, I have my students color in this rainbow after they pass a color. They keep this in their personal data binder. This is great if you are required to have a Student Data Binder.
Sight Word Practice
We practice sight words as a class in the morning, right after our Phonics lesson. We either do a quick run through of sight words, a sight word matching game, sight word song from YouTube, or a fun sight word activity.
My students also have a sight word of the day, where they have to say the sight word before they leave the classroom.
At Reading Centers, we do this cut and paste weekly sight word worksheet, along with other sight word games and activities.
My students are to practice their sight word rings if they finish their Reading Center early. They get to choose how they practice- with a whiteboard, with a partner, or in their Morning Work Binder on the Sight Word of the Day page.

My students have been so successful with this program and continue onto First Grade as Sight Word Superstars! You can find the editable Read the Rainbow Sight Word Program here. It has everything you need to implement this sight word program. I hope you find this program helpful too!



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