Teaching Ideas

Sight Words and Spelling Programs

Submitted by Donna (09-11-2012)

We had an email from Natalie this week asking about best sight words and spelling programs - your experienced thoughts on these topics are much appreciated....

I am in my final year of my teaching degree, I have come across so many sight words and spelling programs.

Could you please share which is the best to work with, I have noticed many similarities and also some major differences....

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What others are saying...

Ruth (11-02-2012)

Our school uses Jolly Phonics in our Prep/Year 1 classes and in my 30 years of teaching this is the best programme I have come across for children learning the sounds that letters make. Our Prep children are well ahead in their ability to hear and record sounds, the important components in learning to write and read. They can't wait to have the Jolly Phonics CD on and show us how clever they are - and then to see them using their new knowledge and learning in their beginning writing is reward in itself.

Loon (14-06-2011)

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar are THE best!!!!!!
We are started using it at our school this year and our Pre Primary children are about 12 months ahead of where they were last year and we are only up to term 2. Parents love it and children LLOOOOVVVEEEEE it!!! It is awesome and all set out ready to go. Not expensive either.

Jess (28-07-2010)

We use this program called Sound Waves. I'm a NSW teacher and love it. The kids get so excited when I tell them its time for Sound Waves!

My year 2's love the chant and actions, and there are picture icons for all the sound boxes. This is great for my kids as they receive a picture prompt to trigger their memory for my visual learners, and the chant and actions where we sing the sounds are best for my auditory and kinesthetic learners.

Great word lists and games for each unit (one sound per week). Best part is the Teacher book - it has great games and ideas, and explains your weekly teaching episodes. There is a also a CD with BLMs of word matchup games, word activities and extension and craft proformas.

I have only been teaching for a few years and was never trained about how to teach phonics and this program has made myself and my students so excited about phonics!

Sue (05-06-2010)

At my school we use THRASS as the basis for our spelling programme. We focus on a phoneme per week. Apart from the common spellings for phonemes, we teach the less common as well. First Steps has some great ideas for day to day teaching. Our students use spelling journals. With sight words, we use the THRASS hotwords. I also use the Oxford list.

Anonymous (02-06-2010)

In our school we use the Magic 100 words and we also use LetterLand. The kids seem to love this program.

Anonymous (31-05-2010)

I am in kindergarten in NSW and all four K classes in my school follow 'Ants in the Apple' for single sounds, and supplement this also to ensure chn are not just getting one letter, one sound understanding.

Our sight word list is a combination of lists, yet it is linked to the readers in the school. The order we follow to introduce sight words, follows the order in which the words are presented in the readers. So children are learning sight words they come across in their readers.

Of course this is flexible as we do differentiate the program to meet learning needs across the cohort. Each family is given a list to take home which outlines which sight words will be covered in class, week by week, for the whole year.

We give out the term's list at the beginning of each term (or again as required - some children already know first 100 on our list now). Every class also sends a small piece of paper (1/6 of an A4) to every child every week with their sight words for that week, to place on the fridge (we call them "Fridge Words").

Has worked well so far.

Bernie (31-05-2010)

We base our spelling program on the THRASS chart. This way students come to realise the same sound can have lots of different spelling. Basic sight words come from Mioow and Oxford word lists.

bernadette (31-05-2010)

Hi there
If you are not in a school the Magic 100 words and the More Magic Words (200 of the most used words in the english language) are excellent - not expensive and you can make up lots of activities prior to starting in the class.

Most important, as someone has also mentioned, is that children learn that letters can have different sounds - use lots of books to demonstrate this. Don't just focus on one program like Jolly Phonics as I have also heard some negative comments about this.

Good luck!

Nicola (30-05-2010)

The Oxford Word List is fantastic for sight words and commonly used words. The words are graded according to difficulty which is handy. Here is the link:

I have used Soundwaves in the past and it is OK, the new Nelson Phonics is good also.

Most commercial spelling programs are OK, just make sure that any spelling program you use teaches students that letters can make a number of different sounds depending on the word.

The best advice is to check with the school in which you become employed as they may have particular preferences for various lists and programs.

Good luck with the rest of your studies.

Kellie (30-05-2010)

I use Soundwaves, it is fantastic! I also use the M100 words :)

Leane (30-05-2010)

I use Jolly Phonics too but is difficult if the school doesn't have it because it is so expensive!!

I use Magic 100 Words. There are 2 books. They group the words into easy stages and is great to use with students with special needs.

Snugg (30-05-2010)

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar are FANTASTIC!!!!!!

Peak Hill Sight words are really good for Kindergarten (Peak Hill is a sight word program made by Peak Hill Public school,NSW)


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